Saturday, September 30, 2006

Lee and Minns

There are still a few more mows of the lawn that need to be done before the grass stops growing here in Middle Tennessee, and I was out there doing one of those mows this afternoon. As I did so I mulled over the news that Bishop Peter Lee of Virginia has licensed Bishop Martyn Minns of Truro Church and the Convocation of Anglicans in North America, which is part of the Church in Nigeria and primarily provides covering for Nigerian and some other African Anglican congregations.

I have seen all sorts of comments that this would not have happened, etc., if Martyn had not been Rector of a large and wealthy parish, which may be true, but it seems to me that there is something positive about this to be rejoiced over. To me, it is a little crumb of comfort.

Those who led the Episcopal Church into the chaos in which we find ourselves by their actions in August 2003 seemed to come away from that Convention and the resulting furor with the notion that things would settle down, everyone would get used to the idea, and so on. This demonstrates how detached from reality their minds were. Like so many postmoderns they refused to recognize that idea and actions have consequences -- and that there would be a huge fallout from such actions.

What those who perpetrated these acts seemed to think was that even if they continued a process of radically changing the substantive doctrines of the denomination, while the structures would remain unchanged and the funds would continue to flow in. That obviously is not the case -- as I said in the previous paragraph, actions and ideas have consequences, and one of them is the eventual radical reordering of Anglicanism in the United States, a process that has already begun.

Thus, while championing notions that are far from God's self-revelation, those on the left continue to cherish the bizarre notion that the old-fashioned geographical diocese is going to remain untouched. Not only is this not the case, but the Lambeth-Chicago Quadrilateral allows for alternative approaches to the shaping of the historic episcopate as an appropriate means of oversight and catholic continuity.

Although it is hard to see what will take the place of the present structures at this point something will. It is also hard to see how the ECUSA dioceses will related to the elements of Anglicanism in North America that are part of the Communion, but not part of ECUSA -- like Minns' CANA.

What encourages me about this willingness of Bishop Lee to license Bishop Minns is that this is a tiny baby step of recognition that we cannot go back to the status quo ante August 2003, and that new relationships and approaches to being in connection with one another (or out of connection with one another) will have to take the old structure's place. At least Peter Lee is looking for an orderly way ahead in finding linkages, which is more than can be said for some of his fellows in the House of Bishops -- and their more vocal supporters.


jj said...

Correct me if wrong, but it's not just the "left" who "continue to cherish the bizarre notion that the old-fashioned geographical diocese is going to remain untouched". Have we not seen the deposition of clergy by bishops on the "right" as well?

If +Lee was not canonically required to depose +Minns for joining CANA, is there any reason why certain reasserting bishops could claim that they were canonically required to depose clergy for joining AMiA?

Norbu Lama said...

Not only does the Lambeth Quad allow for this kind of flexibility, but we also find this referred to quite explicitly in Article XXXIV.

"It is not necessary that Traditions and Ceremonies be in all places one, or utterly like: for at all times they have been divers, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times and men's manners, so that nothing be ordained against God's Word...."

Tito said...

Nice article. I hope to see these 'liberal' Anglican dioceses marginalized if possible.

Keep on your journey of faith.

God bless,


Fr Sullivan said...

As I read your blog I was worried that the intent of the malcontent was to divide the church into "right" and "left". So I too am comforted that you and those who agree with your current understanding of the church are comforted by an Lee's actions of bridging differences. Hopefully you can help do the same with future posts.