Anglican Centrist Defends Himself

Centrists / Religion

Greg Jones (of The Anglican Centrist) has written a response to a number of criticisms he’s received for his posted thoughts on the New York meeting of American bishops and the coming meeting at Camp Allen hosted by Bishop Wimberly:

“A couple of fellow Centrists have taken me to task with my previous postings — especially about the Camp Allen meeting next week in Texas.”

…Generally, my sense of ‘Anglican Centrism,’ is a communal definition not a propositional one. In other words, I still hold to the definition of church that I get in the Bible. We are a body of persons who call Jesus Christ Lord — we worship Him, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and we love one another and the world we are called to serve. That’s what defines us – the community of the baptised in Christ Jesus. Just like the Book of Common Prayer ’79 says. I stick to the Quadrilateral as far as minimum propositions go. I think theological teachings are nifty — and necessary — but even more necessary and even more nifty and even more eternal is Christ.

I’ve always liked Fr. Jones’ thinking on these sorts of matters – and I especially liked his point above. The Church’s focus really needs to be on Jesus. I worry that of late there’s been so much focus on the role of the means by which we encounter Jesus that we’re in danger of losing the forest for the trees – and focusing on messengers rather than on the message.

Read the rest here: Anglican Centrist Defends Himself


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Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...

1 Comment

  1. But what of the Church exiled in the Castro, Soho, Greenwich, West Hollywood, und so weite, left thinking of themselves as garbage or leaving the faith altogether because of the mind of the Communion, or worse, persecuted by governments with active support of bishops because heterosexuals do dominate the Church as institutino and do not necessarily see how your actions and words do harm and also raise division.
    At the moment, the Communion as a whole is a heterosexual club and isn’t prepared for the type of processes that don’t simply listen (from a parent-child perspective) but find that brother and sisters in Christ are challenging the way heterosexuals (including Archbishops who continue to speak to/at/about when they too are in need of conversion) dominate another organ of the Body, having and still unable to face the long history that kept an organ silenct and fearful and underground and therefore unable to contribute our challenge and our gifts openly.
    I remember Centrist a bit back saying pretty much sorry for your pain, but too bad, we can’t change anything, the time isn’t right, in more pastoral words of course, and frankly, that’s not pastoral enough, and should no longer go unchallenged or allowed to stand as the priestly way to be toward homosexual Christians. As Dr. King pointed out, this is a misception of time that tries to capture and contain God’s infinite love toward the other within our time frame and control.
    Centrists, it seems to me, are those who want change to only happen at their pace, often find themselves at the center in terms of being in control, and seem very concerned with unity even if that unity makes a brother or sister sick or turns them away, and frankly, God is likely to shake it up beyond our control because human sin, in this case heterosexism, does lead to divisions, and there are already divisions, too much of an organ finds itself outside the institutions, and I see few shepherds who care enough to examine their own biases or a willingness to consider that their condescending compassion is easily spotted for what it is.
    Given this, I do think all priests and bishops and ecclesiastical types should keep this passage ever before them given that too often some of the sheep whom I’m in regular contact with living in a sancturary city have found that the very adherence to certain minds of the Communion turn them away from God and Jesus:
    Ezekiel 34
    Shepherds and Sheep
    1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.
    7 ” ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD : 10 This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.
    11 ” ‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
    17 ” ‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
    20 ” ‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.
    25 ” ‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. [a] I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD. 31 You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.’ ”
    Likely Lambeth 1.10 will become some part of canon law in this brave new covenant now that Williams and others have played powerfully with history turning recommendations into laws (just as with Windsor), and given that scenario, I won’t be able in good conscience to continue to identify as Anglican and sign on to such a binding relationship, though my practice as a Christian will continue. Where I might go, I don’t know, but the alcoholic dynamics (Centrists are too often enablers in many cases) of the Anglican family are such that I won’t go with threats or a bang, but with a simple acknowledgement that I learned much here, but I have enough self-respect not to be treated thusly any longer, even if this places me outside the Church, especially when those who claim to be shepherds calling others to Christ beat the sheep. As a recent article by Colin Slee noted so well that it may be that Anglicans will be unable to share the Good News of Christ Jesus with my own people, and that means in such a case, I must find myself rooted in a tradition that can:
    The refusal of the church to bless gay commitment is a horrible irony. Christian gay couples have to build a relationship and witness to the importance of faithful love in the face of two enemies: the prevalent promiscuity of the secular gay scene and the rejection of the church itself. That makes Christian witness to other gay people nearly impossible, because it offers nothing but insult and rejection. While we deplore promiscuity we are doing absolutely nothing helpful about fidelity.
    The bishops’ statement was hardly pastoral in any sense; accepting civil partnerships as legal fact, it refused, nevertheless, to give any spiritual recognition or dignity. The word “love” never appears in its pages, not once. That speaks volumes. Far from being “pastoral”, the bishops are too frightened even to show gay people a human face – let alone the face of a God of love.
    The experience of the last year raises enormous questions for me as a priest. The church is selling out on faithful lifelong heterosexual marriage precisely because it has not the courage to embrace faithful lifelong same-sex relationships. There are great matters to be addressed, not least all those which arise from promiscuity, and yet the church, able to help so much in the 16th century, seems to have lost its capacity to help society in the 21st.

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