Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Winnipeg synod windup

Sigh. Well, I guess I'd better write a little windup post regarding the ACC Synod (it is over, isn't it? I stopped paying attention after I saw the front page headline in the Citizen yesterday.) Few seem to be fooled by the last-second "reprieve", courtesy of one vote in the House of Bishops. The real damage was already done with resolution A186, deciding that SSB don't conflict with Anglican doctrine. The too-clever-by-half tactic of splitting the difference isn't working this time; everyone knows that SSB are a done deal, just not on paper yet.
"On the one hand, we said it is a matter of doctrine, on the other hand, the church is not prepared to proceed immediately with the blessing of these same-sex unions," said Bishop Hiltz, who also said he was not sure how he would lead a church that had taken such an ambiguous stand.
For once, the revisionists have logic on their side. It IS a stupid and incoherent attempt to give everyone something to shut them up. If SSB really is consistent with Anglican doctrine, then what possible excuse is good enough for standing in its path? The "justice" crowd will ask the question, and the bishops have no possible answer that won't sound shifty and cowardly. "Other people won't like us!" is not going to stand up to the pressure very long, once reference to Civil Rights marches start flying around.

It's the exact parallel to Chris Johnson's argument on MCJ:
Besides, if Robbie's pointy hat was indeed a "new revelation" and ECUSA really believed that it was, then we have three choices: (1) ECUSA ought to demand that the entire Anglican Communion accept its view and it ought to withdraw itself from the Communion at the first possible instance until such time as the Communion did so. (2) Anglicans worship a deity who considers something to be a sin here but not over there. (3) God can and does change His mind, in which case He's not perfect and needs human guidance from time to time.
But I did say that for once the revisionists were being logical - it's not a normal condition.

I wonder if we'll ever know how the particular bishops voted? The runner-up for Primate, Victoria Matthews, voted Yes for A186 (I told you she wasn't really conservative), and No for A187 - was she the swing vote? Or did other bishops change their votes between the two resolutions, so that the numbers just worked out the way they did? I'm glad she lost; it would have been gut-wrenching for conservatives to be disappointed less than 24 hours after her election. With Hiltz, nobody ever had any expectations or hopes at all.

My own prediction is that over the summer, the A187 vote will be discredited as an outrageous subversion of Holy Democracy. The press coverage has already started spinning it that way:

Gay blessings rejected (National Post) "After a weekend of emotional debate at the Church's national meeting in Winnipeg, a majority of the 300 Anglican delegates here agreed to approve same-sex blessing ceremonies. For the decision to stand, however, Church law requires not a simple majority, but separate majorities among priests and laity, and also among the Church's 40 Canadian bishops. And while the priests and laity approved the move, it was voted down by a narrow majority of two bishops."

Canada's bishops veto synod on gay blessings (The Guardian)

or as the NY Times put it: "WINNIPEG, Manitoba, June 24 (Reuters) — Bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada narrowly overruled clergy members and laypeople on Sunday to defeat a proposal to give churches the option of blessing same-sex unions."

And there will be more.

One final comment - I followed the progress of the debates and votes through Peter's fine blogging at Anglican Essentials, and he commented more than once that the prevailing atmosphere was one of confusion. That certainly came across. Clouds and clouds of confusion. At one point, I think he wrote that there was nothing but confusion about what was going on, and the chairman didn't seem to care. It all reminded me of M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie":
There is another reaction that the evil frequently engender in us: confusion. Describing an encounter with an evil person, one woman wrote, it was "as if I'd suddenly lost my ability to think." Once again, this reaction is quite appropriate. Lies confuse. The evil are "the people of the lie," deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception."
Not knowing any of the people present, I wouldn't say which of them was evil - probably none of them. But there was Evil present, and the proof of it is in the roiling atmosphere of confusion on Saturday and Sunday, which even came across in the written descriptions.


Anonymous ellie m said...

Actually, it's SSM that is the "done deal." SSB's are just a smokescreen.

1:37 pm  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

You're right. I use the terms almost interchangeably, because in the end there will be only one choice - marriage is the goal.

3:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the Weather Network on? I think one of the hosts just started gyrating to "Purple Rain."...

8:33 pm  
Anonymous Toral said...

Dr. M.:

Your usually logical mind has failed you in this instance, Dr. M. You said The real damage was already done with resolution A186, deciding that SSB don't conflict with Anglican doctrine. That is a false statement -- and also a stupid interpretation of what was resolved.. The resolution said that SSBs are not in conflict with ACC core doctrine in a creedal sense -- a statement that is indubitably true, especially if you consider the defintion of "cor doctrine" in the St. Michael report.

Core doctrine, in the Anglo-Catholic sense, consists (as you should know) of the statements in the creeds that relate to God's plan for the world. Nothing about homosexuality -- or any kind of sexuality -- is "core doctrine" of the ACC -- or any Christian Church. (Certainly not of the Papists). Core doctrine is about the nature of God, man's relation with God, the place of Jesus, the need for atonement, and the Trinity, and not much else. No statement about sexuality -- even "adultery is wrong" -- is part of core doctrine. Almost no moral teaching is part of "core doctrine". The only thing core doctrine has to say about sexual sin (or any kind of sin) is that, whatever it is, you must sincerely confess it and repent for it if you commit it and be justified by the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. The actual nature of sin is boring detail.


Vicky Mathews voted yes for 186 because she was asked to confirm a truism -- that SSBs are not a matter of core doctrine in the ACC. She (or her Commission) said exactly that in the St. Michael report. The liberals pulled a fast one with A186, confusing those orthodox brethren and sistren who are doctrinally uninformed, overemotional, intellectually challenged, or any combination of the above.

There was a really good chatroom set up off the Essentials blog that I know you would have enjoyed being in on the Sunday. Binky was there -- he is 100% lightness, even in the midst of despairing circumstances. Lots of humour -- lots of black, dark, Anglican humour. I am 100% sure you would have enjoyed it. I should have called you and notified you of it.

Enough for now. I'm really glad you have liked Chris Johnson though :) I think I gave you the right recommendation.


5:13 am  
Anonymous ellie m said...

"You said 'The real damage was already done with resolution A186, deciding that SSB don't conflict with Anglican doctrine.' That is a false statement"

That's exactly how the media, GLBTQI activists, and many revisionists are spinning it though. And John and Jane Doe sitting in the pew don't know from core doctrine. They perceive the resolution as saying that homosexuality's consistent with church doctrine, period.

"Gee, Jane, all those clergy with their theological training just said homosexuality's OK."

"Well then John, I guess it is."

10:19 am  
Blogger Dr. Mabuse said...

I *love* Chris Johnson - I even made a brief appearance in one of his Anglican Investigator mysteries! As a jazz band, playing my hit single "Powerful Beam" (MST3K reference there).

No doubt I got A186 all wrong. But as Ellie points out, *my* interpretation is the one that will prevail, even though on paper the opposite can be proved. And I think that's what was intended from the start. Once again, we're back to slippery language that has to be "interpreted" - what does "doesn't conflict with" mean? What does "creedal" mean? This is political manoeuvering, and so it gets judged the same way as all politics does: Who whom? Who wins, who loses? What's the bottom line? And the answer is: Revisionists win, conservatives lose. Same-sex marriage is going to happen, and the purpose of all this laboured "theology" is to cover the asses of those who don't want to take the heat for it.

Someone should write about the sort of denuded, lower common denominator, barely-scraping-through, C- Christianity that seems to be all that's left in North American Anglicanism. Saying "It doesn't conflict with the Creed" is true, but that's all it is. All it leaves out is...everything.

12:44 pm  
Anonymous ellie m said...

Dr Mabuse, it looks like Bishop Ingham agrees with your interpretation. Someone posted this quote on SF, noting one conspicuously missing word:

"To say that the blessing of same-sex unions is not in conflict
with doctrine is a hugely significant thing," Bishop Ingham said."

Ingham sees through the smoke and mirrors, as do you. You and he may be on opposite sides of the debate, but you both know darned well what really happened at that Synod.

1:09 pm  
Blogger Gerry Hunter said...

If a "papist" can interject: The observation that nothing moral is "core doctrine" (as the comment seems to define it) in the Catholic Church isn't quite accurate. "Thou shalt not commit adultery", and all the norms for sexual conduct that flow from it are indeed that, because Matrimony is a Sacrament, and sexual morals are inextricably bound up with this Sacrament.

Reject any of that moral teaching, and you reject the Catholic Church, which seems pretty "core" to me.

In any event, it appears that Ingham can do what he likes. Doctrinal objections have been undercut, and permission was never asked for, and therefore never wittheld, although an opportunity to affirm his actions was declined by the bishops.

6:30 pm  
Anonymous Mrs. Falstaff said...

The thing is, "in the creedal sense" doesn't really mean anything - or can be twisted to mean anything anybody wants it to mean. What A186 will be interpreted to mean is "God is OK with same sex blessings". Now we in the Anglican Network in Canada have some pretty weighty decisions to make (although personally, I made mine years ago. I want to remain in communion with the vast majority of world wide Anglicans - the Anglicans who are biblilcally faithful).

9:22 am  

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