June 28, 2008

Bubble and Squeak

Well, the GAFCON statement from Jerusalem is now available for those interested in reading it. On the whole, it is rather familiar, and in most features and stretches of verbiage similar if not identical to former Global South pronouncements. At least this one isn't called a trumpet, unless I missed something.

The thing about all the GS statements along this line has been that aside from the militant tone, dismissive of anything good coming from Nazareth... uh... the West, and a generally chunky prose style, when it comes to theological concerns there is really very little that is new here — or much that most in the much maligned West couldn't sign on to (or didn't sign on to several centuries ago), perhaps apart from the insistence on the 1662 BCP — oh, and of course, the elevation of sexual morality to the level of doctrine. That's the one consistent novelty in all the GS word-smithing.

When it comes to what this actually means in practical terms, we are back to a Network of Confessing folk functioning within the body of the larger church but not at ease with it, at least not in much of the world outside the Global South, and probably not within large portions of the Global South as well. At this point it is not quite a schism (in spite of Judge Bellows saying a "division" exists; no one bothered to remind him that schism is Greek for "division," and these folks don't like being called and deny they are schismatic) but more the church within the church I wrote of earlier. As with Queen Mary, whether this will prove to be the gestation of a truly new thing to come, or a growth that will eventually require removal or kill the body — a Global Anglican Future or a Global Anglican Failure — remains to be seen.

In the meantime, this proclamation reads like a hodge-podge, a dish of hash, or what the Brits refer to as "bubble and squeak" (a tasty dish of leftover taters and cabbage that makes eponymous noises in the fry-pan). It is full of sound and fury, and though signifying something, it is nothing either new or likely to inspire much in those not already well inclined towards a meal that consists of warmed up leftovers from the Reformation.

Tobias Haller BSG

4 comments:

Chris said...

I think that we Brits would probably refer to this as a "dog's breakfast" rather than "bubble and squeak".

Chris Hansen

Marshall said...

RE: "whether this will prove to be the gestation of a truly new thing to come, or a growth that will eventually require removal or kill the body — a Global Anglican Future or a Global Anglican Failure — remains to be seen."

I do wish you hadn't made the "growth that will require removal" comment. Mostly that's because I personally disliked the reference when it was made about the Episcopal Church by just these folks; and partly because we have no more mechanism to excise them than they had to excise us.

Rather, I think they have already made the decision to leave; they just want to take as many as possible. We won't need to figure out how to excise them: they've already made the decision, and now have set up the structures, to walk away.

Tobias Haller said...

Marshall,
I was sensitive to that reading -- a response to the "cancer" language of Akinola.

The difference here is I really do believe this is what is happening. All of their language of assault and unilateralism to describe TEC doesn't, to my mind, actually meet the evidence. What they are doing in CANA and AMiA and other outposts -- well, I don't see any other way of imaging these as anything other than an invasive growth.

Recall that C.S. Lewis once referred to the gospel as a "good infection." If the GAFCONites are correct, their infection will be for the good -- but its process is infectious, invasive, and undisciplined. As I note, only time will tell if this is a new child or a cancerous growth -- but it must be one or the other, it seems to me.

There comes a point when honesty, and naming what one sees, is a part of our duty. I refrain from making a final judgment and offer the possibilities, and from calling them "evil" -- but I do think it folly not to speak out that what they are about is invasive and poorly regulated, except by their own lights.

As to who does the removal and of what remains to be seen. Sometimes removal is not something done to one, but something one does oneself -- and I was thinking of the latter, as I acknowledge we have little power to "remove" other members of the WWAC: I think the schism is delayed, not forestalled; with which I take it you agree -- they are prepared to "walk away."

JCF said...

Plus there is, IIRC, a lot of language of "Exclusivism" re salvation (part of the anti-Western, esp. anti-TEC language, wherein we are charged with denying "the Faith once delivered" in terms of proclaiming the Gospel of Christ).

The main problem w/ such Exclusivism---nevermind its unBiblical, anti (Christian)-ecumenical tone---is that it seems designed along the lines of "Have you stopped beating your wife?": to sign onto it, is to be taken to be admitting you HAVE denied Christ's role in Salvation.

But even more than THAT, it seems to be about designating an authority to determine the implications of such an exclusive faith-claim.

I mean, who could object to "Christ's Unique Role in Salvation"? In the Wisdom of God and the dignity of our Imago Dei, each and EVERY one of us has a unique role in salvation!

But no, to make the affirmation, then seems to FURTHER subject one's self to The FOCA Inquisition: "Well then, if you believe Christ is the Unique Savior, why aren't you out to convert Jews? Why haven't you withdrawn from---nay, denounced---interfaith efforts? The Muslims fear a New Crusade? Well, we'll give 'em one by (the Christian) God!"

Etc, etc, ad nauseum.

Ergo, there's no way to prove a negative, without then endlessly subjecting one's self to continual trials---by judges who are anything BUT The One occupying The Mercy Seat!

So, let FOCA fume and fulminate on and on re "The" Savior, and The ONLY This, That and The Other.

Like our good PB, the Nicene Creed's enough for me---God can sort out the rest!

[Here endeth JCF's Rant ;-/]