OK, so it IS about sex for some…

February 25, 2007

But its only about sex for those who are straight and can’t let what we do in the intimacy of our relationships go, focusing instead on doctrine that may or may not be truly focused on what they want it to be.  But how realistically are they really looking at the tradition of the church?

From FortWayne.com:

“One-fifth of the primates, the provincial leaders, present at the Tanzania meetings refused to share in the Eucharist with American Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, claiming that to do so “would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding.”

“In refusing to share the bread and wine together in the service, those seven primates actually BROKE traditional Anglican understanding, which says that the efficacy, the effectiveness, of the sacrament does not depend on either the person administering it or the person receiving it. That understanding began with Augustine of Hippo in the 4th century and was refined by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. The former wrote that the sacrament does not depend on the righteousness of the person distributing it. The latter wrote that the sacrament “is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God.”

“Which is why so many of us are confused. By refusing to take communion together, the primates overturned centuries of tradition as well as doctrine.

“Leaving many of us to ask, again: What is being defended here?”

Read the whole thing here.

Advertisements

10 Responses to “OK, so it IS about sex for some…”

  1. John Says:

    “BROKE traditional Anglican understanding, which says that the efficacy, the effectiveness, of the sacrament does not depend on either the person administering it or the person receiving it. That understanding began with Augustine of Hippo in the 4th century and was refined by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. The former wrote that the sacrament does not depend on the righteousness of the person distributing it. The latter wrote that the sacrament “is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God.”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. First, those who did not receive communion were not addressing the issue of sacramental efficacy. They were saying that communion with their fellow Christian was impaired and that they could not pretend to think that the errors of KJS and ECUSA had been repented of. So they were making not a claim about the bread and wine, but a claim about the willfully unrepentant nature, as they see it, of KJS, ECUSA, et al.

    Second, reference to the Donatist controversy often fails to note that the issue was ‘settled’ around bishops and others who had PREVIOUSLY caved in under oppression to renounce the faith or part of it, or to give some ground to pagan forces but, here’s the key part, later admitted their errors and sought reinstatement. The question was, then, can these bishops and priests who have come back to the faith be forgiven and reinstated and channels of God’s grace.

    Third, I read this in our own BCP, which lets me give the Primates a wide berth since, I am sure, they have a greater sense of intellectual culpability (even if they are wrong) than we in ECUSA. (Note to self: do we in ECUSA believe in intellectual culpability, the kind of sincerely held opinions that CS Lewis said could nonetheless be damnable? do I believe it that? Think through later.)

    “If the priest knows that a person who is living a notoriously evil life intends to come to Communion, the priest shall speak to that person privately, and tell him that he may not come to the Holy Table until he has given clear proof of repentance and amendment of life.

    The priest shall follow the same procedure with those who have done wrong to their neighbors and are a scandal to the other members of the congregation, not allowing such persons to receive Communion until they have made restitution for the wrong they have done, or have at least promised to do so.

    When the priest sees that there is hatred between members of the congregation, he shall speak privately to them, telling them that they may not receive Communion until they have forgiven each other. And if the person or persons on one side truly forgive the others and desire and promise to make up for their faults, but those on the other side refuse to forgive, the priest shall allow those who are penitent to come to Communion, but not those who are stubborn.”

  2. Jeff Says:

    Thank you John for your thoughts.

    It is interesting to me, that the so-called-orthodox folks always have a reason why their actions are “within the realms of tradition” but nobody else’s are.

    And so interesting to me that the the tradition in these romanticized recollections almost always falls back to the time of Christendom, when Christianity happened to be the powerful, the empire- and many times the oppressor– rather than to the Biblical times, when the protaganists were almost always the oppressed; the underdog; the subjects of empire.

    Interesting also to me that the Scripture maintains multiple divergent points of view nearly throughout– we have four gospels, not one. We have laws saying that temple and torah come first and prophets saying that you can’t possibly take care of temple and torah until you’ve taken care of the marginalized among you.

    It is so interesting that the “orthodox” want to focus on the times in the history of our religion when this diversity was minimized rather then the times when it was embraced. To ignore the fact that this diversity was purposefully left in Scripture and move to the empire of Christendom– outside of Scriptural times– says to me that for the “orthodox” there is a deep feeling of loss of power and control.

    For me this isn’t about loss of power and control. This is about acknowledgment that God is always in control; God is the center, not us. We cannot look at any one thing in isolation for guidance, as your quotes suggest. It is, rather, the narrative of the faith– our interaction with God– that shows how God has revealed himself to us over time. We are living in the last days and have been since the resurrection. The times are moving always forward towards the reign of God. For me, moving backwards rather than forwards is not moving in faith and love but a lack of trust; a lack of hope; a lack of Christ.

    j

  3. FrMichael Says:

    John, thank you for your detailed comment.

    Jeff, I’m surprised at your response to him. You asked the question, “How realistically are they really looking at the tradition of the church?” You then post an article that claims that the conservative primates broke tradition themselves. John responds with a detailed response to the article and your question. Your response to him is strange. If the issue– and the article– is on Donatism, the canons of Nicaea, and Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, why criticize him when he responds to the specific points of the article. Sounds like if you want to criticize him for responding on those grounds, you should also criticize the article writer for writing in the same manner.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Hi Fr. Michael.

    I’m not surprised that you are surprised.

    I think the point is, as the author says, “WHICH tradition are we discussing?”

    My point is not necessarily to go point/counterpoint through the article- I didn’t write the article and don’t know the particular period that well. I have no idea if John has valid points or if he is doesn’t, and my guess is most people don’t really care. The point of the article is that uniformity isn’t the tradition of the church. The standard conservative line of “it didn’t apply in that case because…” is a red herring.

    I do know that the orthodox folks are focusing on a time when tradition was very different from Biblical tradition. They focus on a time of standardization instead of diversity. They focus on a time of power instead of oppression.

    That is a different tradition than that of Israel and than that of early Christianity.

    j

  5. John Says:

    Jeff writes: “I have no idea if John has valid points or if he is doesn’t, and my guess is most people don’t really care.”

    Astonishing. You post something for dialogue that, very precisely, asserts that not having communion is breaking communion; this is what the Primates have done–and when I respond you write something that has nothing to do with the issue, and then you admit to not engaging the issue and say that most people don’t matter. Then, why, young muddled mind, did you post the thing in the first place?

  6. Jeff Says:

    John, I think I have already articulated why I posted it and why I don’t think people care about the particulars. But I will restate again for emphasis.

    It seems to me to be a common conservative tactic to use nitty gritty details of an argument when helpful to excuse a particul situation from a larger context. Conservatives often argue an exception when faced with a reasonable opposing view.

    The point is that the larger narrative holds true to the situation discussed in the article; that our tradition accounts for divergent points of view without having to push back from the common table. If you can’t see it that way, fine. And I won’t even say that it is because your mind is muddled. I don’t find it necessary to belittle my opponents in that way.

    j

  7. John Says:

    “It seems to me to be a common conservative tactic to use nitty gritty details of an argument”

    Again, astonishing. It is hardly a “conservative tactic” to respond and to show point by point why someone’s characterization is mistaken–and the details are hardly nitty gritty. Surely if one makes a charge, one should defend it. Signing off, for good, Jeff. Save your energy, and ours: abort the blog. It’s laughable.

  8. Jeff Says:

    John,

    “It seems to me to be a common conservative tactic to use nitty gritty details of an argument”

    I’ll admit that sentence could have been clearer. Let me re-articulte:

    It seems to me to be a common conservative tactic to use nitty gritty details of an argument in the hopes of disproving a single point or two, believing it automatically follows that the whole argument then fails.

    My point is that the entire narrative–the whole message– is what is important.

    Yes, I understand that you are having a hard time resonating with my blog. You are certainly under no obligation to come back.

    It is my firm belief that it is uncertainty that we find God, not in certainty.

    The conservative/orthodox approach that we, or some, or them, or whoever, already know all the answers is difficult.

    Look at how Jesus died. Caiphus certainly thought he knew the answers. The crowd before Pilate did too.

    j

  9. FrMichael Says:

    “It is my firm belief that it is [in] uncertainty that we find God, not in certainty.”

    Good grief, that sentence is almost a parody 😮

    Your allusions to Christendom/Empire vs. early Church are also out of place, because the argument about the efficacy of sacraments by unworthy ministers predates the Edict of Milan by over a half century. Donatism (and St. Augustine) wasn’t the first time the Church dealt with the issue. The Tradition in this era (mid 3rd century) was not in power, it was subject to being fiercely oppressed by the Empire.

    Not all arguments fit the oppressor/oppressed hermeneutic that is your favorite. But this article didn’t even rise to that level, it made errors at the level of historical fact which torpedoed the entire argument. Seems to me the better thing for you to have done here once the errors were exposed were (1) acknowledge the errors and retract your support for the article or (2) is reframe the original author’s thesis with an entire new set of arguments from tradition. Heck, even I, the incorrigible conservative Romanist, could have created a legitimate argument why the conservative Primates should have concelebrated the Anglican Eucharist. It may not have been over-the-top convincing, but at least it would have dealt with the historical facts of the early Church and Anglican Communion.

  10. Jeff Says:

    It takes humility to find God in uncertainty, that is certain.

    j


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: