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Problem or Mystery?A problem is something which I meet, which I find completely before me, but which I can therefore lay siege to and reduce. But a mystery is something in which I am myself involved, and it can therefore only be thought of as a sphere where the distinction between what is in me and what is before me loses its meaning and initial validity. -- Gabriel Marcel
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Persuasion Consultant for Executives and Candidates
"I make your speeches stronger. I make your letters more persuasive."
Lecturer in English at Coastal Carolina University
Recipient of a scholarship to the 2006 C.S. Lewis Foundation Summer Institute
Winner of awards from the N.C. Press Association and the S.C. Press Association
Graduate of the Knight Ridder Assigning Editors Seminar
Graduate of the Leadership Institute's Broadcast Journalism School
Completed the Committee of Concerned Journalists Newsroom Workshop
Semi-Finalist, the 1996 Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship
Incapable of doubt, incapable of faithThe majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith. -- T.S. Eliot, Introduction (1931), Pascal's "Pensees"
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The Anguished QuestionIf you really enquire about God, not with mere curiosity, not, as it were, like a spiritual stamp collector, but as an anxious seeker, distressed in heart, anguished by the possibility that God might not exist and hence all life be vanity and one great madness -- if you ask in such a mood as the man who asks the doctor, "Tell me, will my wife live or will she die?"-- if you ask thus about God, then you know already that God exists; the anguished question bears witness that you know. -- Emil Brunner, "Our Faith"
- Appropriate and inappropriate music for motorcycle rallies May 22, 2013 Colin Burch
- You're an exception to the rule May 15, 2013 Colin Burch
- Please don't clone a T-Rex, literally or figuratively May 8, 2013 Colin Burch
- Music for biker rallies May 22, 2013Bikers should not play sugary pop music from their motorcycles. To help remedy this weird [...]
- ‘A Letter from the Western Front’ — a short film by Daniel Kanemoto May 22, 2013Here’s an outstanding short film, set during the First World War: HyperSmash
- Saying good-bye to Ray Manzarek: the best news media descriptions of his significance May 21, 2013Ray Manzarek’s significance to rock and roll, popular music, keyboards, and culture: “The Doors were [...]
- Music for biker rallies May 22, 2013
- ostracism, n. May 17, 2013
- Poem of the Day: The Wires of the Night May 23, 2013I thought about his death for so many hours, tangled there in the wires of the night, that it came to have a body and dimensions, more than a voice shaking over the telephone or the black obituary boldface of name and dates. His death now had an entrance and an exit, doors and stairs, windows and shutters which are the motionless wings of windows. His dea […]Billy Collins
- Poem of the Day: The Wires of the Night May 23, 2013
- Still Life By Sharon Olds May 23, 2013By Sharon Olds
- Still Life By Sharon Olds May 23, 2013
- Hear Me Talk about Social and Emotional Learning! May 10, 2013On Monday, May 13, at 7pm, I’ll be moderating a panel at The New York Academy of Sciences. If you are in the area, please attend! Here a description of the event: Social and Emotional Learning: Preparing Our Children to Excel Monday, May 13, 2013 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM The New York Academy [...]Ingrid Wickelgren
- Can Doctors Diagnose MS from Blood? May 7, 2013I have seen the invisible arms of multiple sclerosis, a potentially devastating disease of the nervous system, touch friends, relatives and acquaintances. They perturbed the personality of a father of a close friend and left him unable to keep a job and support the family. They forced a young woman I met years ago to [...]Ingrid Wickelgren
- How to Make Kids Smarter—and Ease Existential Terror April 17, 2013A few months ago, I logged on to Lumosity.com to play my daily dose of brain games. The company had given me a free, temporary account so that I could try out their system as part of my research for an article I was writing on brain training. My then 11-year-old son wanted to play, [...]Ingrid Wickelgren
- Hear Me Talk about Social and Emotional Learning! May 10, 2013
- Michel Foucault May 23, 2013[Revised entry by Gary Gutting on May 22, 2013. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Michel Foucault (1926 - 1984) was a French historian and philosopher, associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements. He has had strong influence not only (or even primarily) in philosophy but also in a wide range of humanistic and social scientific disci […]Gary Gutting
- The Continuum Hypothesis May 22, 2013[New Entry by Peter Koellner on May 22, 2013.] The continuum hypotheses (CH) is one of the most central open problems in set theory, one that is important for both mathematical and philosophical reasons. The problem actually arose with the birth of set theory; indeed, in many respects it stimulated the birth of set theory. In 1874 Cantor had shown that there […]Peter Koellner
- Large Cardinals and Determinacy May 22, 2013[New Entry by Peter Koellner on May 22, 2013.] The developments of set theory in 1960's led to an era of independence in which many of the central questions were shown to be unresolvable on the basis of the standard system of mathematics, ZFC. This is true of statements from areas as diverse as analysis ("Are all projective sets Lebesgue measurable […]Peter Koellner
- Michel Foucault May 23, 2013
- Time May 17, 2013Time Time is what clocks measure. The three key features of time are that it orders events in sequence one after the other; it specifies how long any event lasts; and it specifies when events occur. Yet despite 2,500 years of investigating time, many issues about it are unresolved. Here is a list of the [...]
- Justice, Western Theories of May 16, 2013Western Theories of Justice Justice is one of the most important moral and political concepts. The word comes from the Latin jus, meaning right or law. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the “just” person as one who typically “does what is morally right” and is disposed to “giving everyone his or her due,” offering the [...]
- Aesthetic Emotion May 15, 2013Art and Emotion It is widely thought that the capacity of artworks to arouse emotions in audiences is a perfectly natural and unproblemmatic fact. It just seems obvious that we can feel sadness or pity for fictional characters, fear at the view of threatening monsters on the movie screen, and joy upon listening to upbeat, [...]
- Time May 17, 2013
- A Machine to Weigh the Soul May 21, 2013Newly discovered papers have shed light on a fascinating episode in the history of neuroscience: Weighing brain activity with the balance The story of the early Italian neuroscientist Dr Angelo Mosso and his ‘human circulation balance’ is an old one – I remember reading about it as a student, in the introductory bit of a [...]
- Fantastic Distortions of Perception May 19, 2013A new paper in the journal European Neurology reports on a remarkable case of perceptual distortion that’ll please any connoisseur of neurogothic: A 48-year-old woman woke up one morning without knowing where she was. She recognized her husband and finally realized that she was at home, but reported that she felt that all surroundings appeared [...]
- The Trouble With “Limitations” In Science May 16, 2013Is it always good thing to know your limitations? Over at Scientific American, Samuel McNerney writes about the dangers of learning about common human cognitive biases. The problem is that it’s easy to find out about, say, confirmation bias, and think “Well, it affects other people, but now I know about it, I am immune [...]
- Churchill and the Stigma of Depression May 15, 2013The BBC today has an interesting article by Mark Brown of British mental health magazine One in Four: Do famous role models help or hinder? The context is that in Britain, charities and other advocates for people with mental illness have become fond of pointing to famous people, past and present, who suffered from a [...]
- Visualizing the Connectome May 12, 2013Last year, I blogged about a new and very pretty way of displaying the data about the human ‘connectome’ – the wiring between different parts of the brain. But there are many beautiful ways of visualizing the brain’s connections, as neuroscientists Daniel Margulies and colleagues of Leipzig discuss in a colourful paper showcasing these techniques. Here, [... […]
- A Machine to Weigh the Soul May 21, 2013
- Series: Searching for Motivated Belief May 23, 2013Over the next few months, with permission from Yale University Press, BioLogos will offer edited versions of chapters from John Polkinghorne's best books, Belief in God in an Age of Science and Theology in the Context of Science, in order to help readers delve more deeply into some of his most important ideas.Ted Davis
- Does Evolutionary Psychology Explain Why We Believe in God? Part 1 May 21, 2013When we look across times and cultures and find very similar beliefs concerning the nature of physical, biological, and psychological reality, those similarities cry out for some explanation. Since these different individuals have a very diverse range of experience, something other than common experience alone just might account for the similarities of belie […]Michael Murray, Schloss, Jeff
- Series: Evolution Basics May 17, 2013Written by BioLogos Fellow of Biology Dennis Venema, this series of posts is intended as a basic introduction to the science of evolution for non-specialists.Dennis Venema
- Engaging Science in the Life of Your Congregation May 14, 2013With so many issues to discuss, Christians can easily get the feeling that science is always attacking the faith. It is essential to balance such conversations with positive responses to God’s creation. After all, the primary response to the natural world in the Bible is to praise the God who made it.Deborah Haarsma
- Why Do More Homeschoolers Want Evolution in Their Textbooks? May 13, 2013"Many homeschool parents contact me or show up at my office and quietly say, 'Is there anything besides Young Earth Creationists?'"
- Series: Searching for Motivated Belief May 23, 2013
- “but when the Harvard team coughed and complained the cigarettes were politely put out” May 23, 2013By now, Um Muhammad had lost any remaining patience after three hours of questioning. “Can I talk about about my son now?” The question hung in the air, followed by silence and uncertainty from the Harvard team. It was decided that to bypass her story they would give her “five minutes to tell her son’sThe New Inquiry
- The World Turned Upside Down May 23, 2013The folly of man exemplified in twelve comical relations upon uncommon subjectsThe Public Domain Review
- Blogging the Caine, 2013 May 22, 2013"Ah, the tyranny of mzungu prizes!"Aaron Bady
- “but when the Harvard team coughed and complained the cigarettes were politely put out” May 23, 2013
- Brooklyn, Sweden October 16, 2012Brooklyn Brewery's First Music Festival Brooklyn, SwedenBrooklyn Brewery's First Music Festival When A.J. Liebling nicknamed Chicago "the Second City," he was referring not so much to an inherent inferiority to New York, but to a mindset. Chicagoans, he claimed, were quick to assert their city's superiority in a way that bespoke not […]
- Eye on the Ball September 17, 2012Some thoughts on baseball and fatherhood. Eye on the BallSome thoughts on Baseball and Fatherhood The fraxinus Americana crack of Josh Hamilton’s bat had the crowd in a holler. And there I was, cached in bleachers behind home plate, taunting the naysayers on all sides, letting them know they couldn’t keep “Hambone” down. All of a sudden Hamilton appeared, in […]
- Q&A: Ross Douthat July 4, 2012The New York Times columnist on his new book Bad Religion. Ross Douthat’s new book, Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics, traces the decline of institutional Christianity in post-war America. Mr. Douthat recently sat down with Wunderkammer to discuss the book’s argument as well as its reception. Wunderkammer: How long was the book germinating i […]
- The Homesteader May 10, 2012An interview with Nick Zammuto of The Books. The HomesteaderAn interview with Nick Zammuto of The Books. When I listen to The Books, I imagine them feeding their rummage-sale flotsam of infomercial VHSs and discarded home-recorded cassettes into a funnel of a bulging, pastel, Dr. Seussian machine, operated by a mouse with unseen Rube Goldberg innards, that s […]
- Difficult Knowledge October 3, 2011Brett Foster reviews Thomas Lynch's new collection of poetry, Walking Papers. Walking PapersBy Thomas LynchW. W. Norton, 88 pages $24.95 Last year, the Chicago Humanities Festival concluded its focus on “The Body” when John Barr, president of the Poetry Foundation, interviewed Thomas Lynch. The session was entitled “Bodies at Motion and At Rest.” A fi […]
- Brooklyn, Sweden October 16, 2012
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An important church in my family: All Saints Church (Episcopal), Avenue, Maryland
Fresh Literary WorkAt LiturgicalCredo, "contemporary stories of faith and doubt." Member of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.
- 13 TGI Fridays Restaurants Among Those Busted In NJ For Selling Cheap Booze As Premium Pours
- Tearjerker: Student's touching pic of dad's return from Iraq wins Google doodle contest
- Andy Warhol’s semi-Stoic psychology — plus 40 more quotations from Thought Catalog
- Rescuers nearing end of search for survivors after deadly Oklahoma twister
- Pray for Moore, OK
- Scientific convention and grammatical convention
What I Read Online
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Strange Days ::: A professional journalist and university lecturer finds the strange conditions of our times and our souls
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The Slap / Comics of the Twitterverse ::: The latest news and views from established and new comedians
The case for an inta… on Where’s the ‘heart… S.M.I.L.E. Sirius Mi… on Persuasion cannot happen witho… King’s Cross B… on The Gospel versus Jesus: A cri… Saint Stephen’… on Saint Stephen’s Cathedra… Communicating truth… on Communicating truth — ra…
Liturgy For The PeopleThe liturgy is essentially not the religion of the cultured, but the religion of the people. If the people are rightly instructed, and the liturgy is properly carried out, they display a simple and profound understanding of it. For the people do not analyze concepts, but contemplate. The people possess that inner integrity of being which corresponds perfectly with the symbolism of the liturgical language, imagery, action and ornaments. The cultured man has first of all to accustom himself to this attitude; but to the people it has always been inconceivable that religion should express itself by abstract ideas and logical developments, and not by being and action, by imagery and ritual. --Romano Guardini, "The Awakening of the Church in the Soul"
- How Martin Luther's translation of the Bible influenced the German language
- Andy Warhol's semi-Stoic psychology -- plus 40 more quotations from Thought Catalog
- 5 Books Before College: Charles Twombly's list
- How can you know if a Buddhist amulet has been blessed? The Buddhist amulet market crashes in Thailand
- Three of my poems published by Circumambulations
- The bartenders could have poured premium for each customer's first drink, THEN followed with the cheap stuff. But... fb.me/zclHSeRG 1 hour ago
- 13 TGI Fridays Restaurants Among Those Busted In NJ For Selling Cheap Booze As Premium Pours wp.me/p3TOr-1d2 1 hour ago
- Myrtle Heights Lantern is out! paper.li/cfburch4/13143… ▸ Top stories today via @AnnetteGendler @TheWeeklySurge 2 hours ago
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- The Slap! Comedy on the Web is out! paper.li/cfburch4/13257… ▸ Top stories today via @WackyYouTube @danawyyc @humortimes 19 hours ago
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Who I Am43-year-old husband & dad of three daughters; former newspaper editor; former owner of a coffeehouse-used book store-music-art venue. Currently a lecturer in English at Coastal Carolina U. in Conway, SC; Beerman columnist for Weekly Surge; editor and publisher of LiturgicalCredo. Contact me. Learn more.
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Arts and humansArt is the signature of man. -G.K. Chesterton
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Wittgenstein on Kierkegaard
"Kierkegaard was by far the most profound thinker of the
[nineteenth] century. Kierkegaard was a saint."
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, to his friend Maurice Drury.
Read Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard: Religion, Individuality, and Philosophical Method by Charles L. Creegan free online.
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Monthly Archives: July 2009
Parked next to my car Sunday at the Holiday Inn near Black Mountain, N.C.
“William Schickel, who died Tuesday at 89, had a sacred passion.
“The longtime Loveland resident was a nationally renowned liturgical artist whose work spanned more than 60 years. It combined his skills as a sculptor, architectural designer, furniture designer, stained-glass artist and painter, with his deep personal faith.” (From this obit.)
See some of his work through this site.
Read an excerpt of Gregory Wolfe’s book on Schickel here.
Legislation, legislation, legislation. The debate over the meaning of resolution D025 at the Episcopal General Convention continues — but it might be C056 (continue reading for details) that changes the day.
Seven Whole Days refutes part of Wright’s article this way:
We do not have “appointment” to holy orders in this church. We have “discernment” and “call” to holy orders. D025, through our Constitution & Canons, provides plenty of opportunity for people to be challenged in their expressed call to ordained ministry. More to the point, and somewhat disappointing to me, resolution 2006-B033 (the call for restraint on bishops in same-sex partnered relationship) is not explicitly overturned here. So we have both the admission that God will call those whom God chooses (2009-D025), and a remaining call for restraint (2006-B033).
That being said, could Wright be justified in his concern about an implicit overturn of B033? In politics and law, people often worry about the implications of a certain action. Wright is a conservative, so how else would he interpret the following portion of D025? It reads in part:
…the 76th General Convention affirm that God has called and may call such individuals [gays and lesbians in lifelong committed relationships], to any ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church, and that God’s call to the ordained ministry in The Episcopal Church is a mystery which the Church attempts to discern for all people through our discernment processes acting in accordance with the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church…
And apparently, C056, a resolution on rites for the blessing of same-sex relationships, is very explicit. Dan Martins, rector of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Warsaw, Indiana, posted the following planned response if C056 passed (in the process, he agrees, against Wright, that there might be some ambiguity in D025):
Madam President, if I had a dollar for every person who has come up to me during this convention and said something like, “I don’t usually agree with you, but I’m sure glad you’re here; we need your voice,” I could finance a day at Disneyland. So…you want my voice? Here’s my voice: If there was any ambiguity in D025–and I have contended that there is, at some cost to my credibility–then there is absolutely none in this resolution. When we pass it, we will in that moment be undoing every shred of work that this church has done over the last four years in response to the Windsor Report. Time does not permit me to enumerate all the work that will be nullified by this action. We are utterly rejecting Windsor and the hope for life in communion that it represents. On this day my church is covering itself with shame, and I am profoundly sorrowful. What you are about to do, do quickly. (The boldface is mine.)
“There is no such thing …. original Christian thinkers did not employ the concept of a soul …. The doctrine that I emphasize is bodily resurrection. I believe historically that something like that did happen to Jesus. I believe that all of us are looking forward to having something like that happen to us, either at the point of death or, more likely, at the point where the whole cosmos is divinely transformed. If it weren’t for the resurrection then all we would be able to say is that however nice it is to be a Christian while you’re alive, when you die, it’s over.”
– Nancey Murphy of Fuller Theological Seminary in a Feb. 24 radio interview with Mike Collins of “Charlotte Talks” on WFAE; quotation found in Queens: The Magazine of Queens University in Charlotte
Watching the Senate questiong Judge Sonia Sotomayor, I’m impressed by how rigorously she answers questions in terms of legal precedent — previous rulings guide her approach to the law.
But it occurred to me that much of those previous rulings, at this point in time, reflect “progressive,” or liberal, changes in law and society.
So essentially, she could have a very conservative legal approach that cites very liberal precedent. It’s the inevitable potential of our time.
I’m trying to listen with libertarian ears (and the Sotomayor hearing offers less despair than the Episcopal General Convention). Sotomayor seems measured in her replies, and reasonable.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., had to press her hard to get any idea of her personal opinion on self-defense. She sticks with precedent as much as possible. Coburn, a doctor, even noted that it’s hard to get lawyers — like doctors — to use familiar, everyday terms.
Jeff Walton, director of Anglican Action (part of the Institute on Religion and Democracy), made these comments on the House of Deputies’ final vote today (July 14) to end the moratorium on consecrating gay bishops:
“In passing this resolution, the Episcopal Church has essentially said it wants to remain at the table, but only on its own terms.
“In the Anglican Communion, 22 out of 37 other provinces are already in a state of either impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church. This move by the Episcopal Church will further widen their effective separation from the bulk of worldwide Anglicans.
“The Episcopal Church understands that by abandoning scriptural authority it is cutting itself off from the Anglican Communion. As an autonomous church, it has that choice, now it must live with the consequences.”
(The Institute on Religion and Democracy aligns itself with conservative perspectives that support traditional church teachings within several denominations.)
The following was written on July 8 by Jeff Walton of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (posted here); Walton reported on a significant address by the leader of the Orthodox Church in America to the provinical assembly of the Anglican Church in North America.
A former Episcopalian who is now head of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) greeted delegates to the Anglican Church in North America’s recent provincial assembly in Bedford, Texas. Metropolitan Jonah, known by his monastic name, is the first convert to lead the million-member OCA.
In an address that was sometimes controversial and elicited animated response from delegates, Jonah made the case for ecumenical reconciliation between the Anglican and Orthodox churches and proposed a formal dialogue between the two. Still, Jonah did not refrain from touching sensitive points dividing the Orthodox from various currents of Anglicanism. The metropolitan voiced the Orthodox Church’s objection to ordained female clergy as well as denouncing iconoclasm and Calvinism. The statements were greeted with both cheers and groans from different Anglican delegates.
“We have to speak the truth in love,” Jonah said. “There is no truth if there is no love. There may be facts, but no truth.”
The Orthodox primate also called the gathered Anglicans to move ahead in ministry, distancing themselves from prior conflicts in the Episcopal Church.
“I know the Anglican Church has gone through a bitter, bitter time,” Jonah said. “My heart is with you. We need to surrender those resentments. Forgive those who have accused you, slandered you.”
Jonah, born James Paffhausen, was baptized in the Episcopal Church and influenced by the Episcopal charismatic movement that became popular in California during his youth. College led to his discovery of Orthodoxy, and his decision to embrace the eastern faith.
“Orthodoxy is not about picking and choosing what I like,” The metropolitan explained. “It is about finding the mind of the Holy Spirit. Nothing else matters.”
“This past millennium has been tough for us,” Jonah said, making a lighthearted transition into the serious subject of the trials endured by Orthodox Christians under Muslims, Mongols and eventually, communists.
Orthodoxy is a church where there were 20 million martyrs in the last century, according to Jonah.
“From this comes an incredibly powerful spiritual seed, for the seed of the church is the blood of the martyrs,” Jonah said.
The Orthodox primate spent much of his talk appealing for a unity between Orthodox and Anglican Christians, an aspiration that he saw as tantalizingly close to reality during the early 20th century. Reconciliation between the churches was stalled when the Episcopal Church veered towards liberal Protestantism, and came to an abrupt end with the advent of women’s ordination in the 1970s.
“We have the opportunity to come together, Anglicans and Orthodox, in truth,” Jonah said. “Does that Anglican Church that came so close to being recognized as a fellow Orthodox Church still exist? Here [at the ACNA assembly] it does.”
The metropolitan said that true unity was “a call to surrender to that one faith that is delivered to the saints.”
“The Church is not simply human, it is divine,” Jonah said. “We believe in the Church like we believe in Jesus Christ. The Church is the living body of Jesus Christ. It’s not just people who happen to like the same prayer book.”
In addition to a high view of the sacraments and the role of the church, Jonah also articulated a personal, individual faith.
“We have to surrender to God, personally, in the depths of our being,” Jonah said. “It’s that experience that I have died, that my life is hidden with Christ my God. The Lord Jesus Christ did not die so that we could have nice rituals.”
Jonah spoke to some of the social issues that have divided the Episcopal Church over the past generation, among them sanctity of life and human sexuality.
“We have to stand together in an absolute and unconditional condemnation of abortion,” Jonah said, to a standing ovation from delegates.
The Orthodox metropolitan also spoke about gender, sexuality and the damage he saw inflicted upon western society, saying that Christians needed to denounce immorality without judging.
“Immorality demoralizes,” Jonah said. “I think we can see where immorality has been allowed, what has happened. We need to look deep inside ourselves to find that identity given to us by Jesus Christ.”
Jonah concluded his address by opening his hands and stating “our arms are open” in inviting reconciliation with the Anglican Church. In response, Archbishop Robert Duncan promised to pursue talks with the Orthodox, and thanked the metropolitan for his willingness to re-engage with Anglicans after a long dry spell.
Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham (in the U.K.), writing in The Times of London:
In the slow-moving train crash of international Anglicanism, a decision taken in California has finally brought a large coach off the rails altogether. The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) in the United States has voted decisively to allow in principle the appointment, to all orders of ministry, of persons in active same-sex relationships. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion.
Both the bishops and deputies (lay and clergy) of TEC knew exactly what they were doing. They were telling the Archbishop of Canterbury and the other “instruments of communion” that they were ignoring their plea for a moratorium on consecrating practising homosexuals as bishops. They were rejecting the two things the Archbishop of Canterbury has named as the pathway to the future — the Windsor Report (2004) and the proposed Covenant (whose aim is to provide a modus operandi for the Anglican Communion). They were formalising the schism they initiated six years ago when they consecrated as bishop a divorced man in an active same-sex relationship, against the Primates’ unanimous statement that this would “tear the fabric of the Communion at its deepest level”. In Windsor’s language, they have chosen to “walk apart”.
Read the full article here.