Rule Britannia

I phoned an old friend living in the UK today to offer my congratulations on Britain’s vote to exit the European Union. He agreed that the vote was largely an expression of ordinary people rejecting the political and media elite’s vision of how Britain should be ruled.

We can add to that the religious establishment elite, well represented by Justin Welby and John Sentamu, whose disappointment in the result, having robbed them of any faculties required to come up with a sensible response, prompted them to resort to the well-worn bridge building cliché and an appeal to the ephemeral commodity enshrined high on the totem of liberal Anglican pieties: diversity:

As citizens of the United Kingdom, whatever our views during the referendum campaign, we must now unite in a common task to build a generous and forward looking country, contributing to human flourishing around the world. We must remain hospitable and compassionate, builders of bridges and not barriers. Many of those living among us and alongside us as neighbours, friends and work colleagues come from overseas and some will feel a deep sense of insecurity. We must respond by offering reassurance, by cherishing our wonderfully diverse society, and by affirming the unique contribution of each and every one.

From a Canadian perspective, Rex Murphy has it right:

The often-ignored, sometimes quite rudely deplored British people have spoken and, to the horror of enlightened opinion, respectable party leaders, the ever-guiding liberal intelligentsia, have decided they don’t want “in” the European Union. The vote comes as a mighty shock to broad-minded continentalists and supranationalists everywhere, but particularly the high elites of British politics. The Guardian’s readership will need special help — grief counsellors are already overwhelmed.

The EU vote is the most dramatic illustration to date of how the “guiding elites” of many Western countries have lost the fealty and trust of their populations. Of the gap between ordinary citizens, facing the challenges of daily life, and the swaddled, well-off and pious tribes of those who govern them, and increasingly govern them with a mixture of moralistic superiority and witless condescension.

And so does Tim Stanley in the UK:

This was the day the British people defied their jailers.
People wanted to have their say and they did. Up and down the country they defied the experts and went with their conscience. Labour voters most of all: the northeast rebelled against a century of Labour leadership. I am astonished. Staggered. Humbled. I should never have lost faith in my countrymen. Those bold, brave, beautiful British voters.
Why did they do it? That, we’ll pick apart in the next few weeks. I think that Leave genuinely ran the better campaign, more hopeful and upbeat. Immigration mattered a great deal – although one YouGov poll ranked it third behind democracy and the economy. It’s possible that voters grasped the essential point about this referendum better than we the commentators did. It was a vote of confidence in Britain. Should we run our affairs or should we delegate it to foreign bureaucrats? When I was leaving my polling station, I said to a chap: “I found voting quite emotional.” He replied that this was the day we got our freedom back. That’s how it feels for millions of Britons.

Diocese of New Westminster blesses a petrochemical

The demon fossil fuel – oil – is being blessed by Bishop Melissa Skelton; but only if it is to be used on a bicycle chain. If only I lived in Vancouver: I would have a can of oil blessed and pour it into my SUV – well, I don’t actually have an SUV but I would be sorely tempted to go out and buy one.

From here:

Praying a blessing over a canister of bicycle chain oil may seem unorthodox, but the Anglican Bishop of New Westminster assured Metro her ritual, conducted Wednesday, was doctrinally sound.

“Yes, it’s something I’m allowed to do,” Rt. Rev. Melissa Skelton said with a laugh, as she stood on the lawn of the Diocesan offices in Shaughnessy. “It’s the every day and the useful where God shows up.

“In this case, we’re blessing things … that lead to better stewardship of the environment. It starts with the small and goes bigger.”

[…..]

Adapting the ritual for chain lubricant may seem unusual, but the ideas of community and being anointed for action in the world is related to environmental commitments, Skelton said.

“This is also the oil used in vehicles that would be the implements of action — protecting the climate and finding other ways to get around that don’t depend so much on large amounts of fossil fuels,” she explained.

Decaffeinated Indaba

Apparently, indabas have been replaced by sankofas – and you can tell what that reminds me of by the title.

But I jest. Sankofa actually means: “It is not a taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind”. It is a catchphrase taught to English bus drivers to be used as they watch old ladies in their rear view mirrors running after the bus. If that isn’t clear enough, the definition goes on to say: “the narrative of the past is a dynamic reality that cannot be separated from consideration of the present and future”. In other words, the past is dynamic, or changeable by the present, a concept made popular in the ‘70s by those consuming an excessive quantity of magic mushrooms. Since Canadian bishops seem to fall into that category, many of them – Hiltz, Bird, Ingham and Alexander – were present at the latest salacious sankofa  exercise to ponder together homoerotic sexuality under the pretext of conjuring a prior dynamic reality that conforms ancient perversions to 21st century delusions of normalcy.

A pusillanimous church – and that’s what Western Anglicanism has become – grovels and trembles before the culture in which it finds itself. Hence, as Ingham notes below, the church is content to let the culture determine its theology. A church can sink no lower than that.

From here:

Introduced by the Most Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Asante as an ecumenical contribution from the Methodist Church of Ghana, the Akan concept of sankofa served as a guiding framework for the Seventh Consultation of Anglican Bishops in Dialogue, which took place from May 25-29 in Accra, Ghana. The gathering brought together bishops from Canada, Ghana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Burundi, Zambia, England, and the United States.

Sankofa—literally, ‘It is not a taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind’—refers broadly to the unity of past and present, where the narrative of the past is a dynamic reality that cannot be separated from consideration of the present and future.

[….]

Bishop Ingham noted that despite the bishops present holding many different theologies on marriage, sexuality and biblical interpretation, “we’re not divided by these differences. Rather, we’re spurred to be curious with each other and to hear how these matters play out in our different parts of the world.”

“We’re all very aware that mission is contextual,” he added. “And I think most of the African bishops who attend understand that social and legislative challenges have taken place around homosexuality in Western countries.

Diocese of the Arctic rejects changing the marriage canon

A small oasis of sanity in the vast desert of ACoC sexual neuroses.

Read it all in the Journal:

As the Anglican Church of Canada prepares for a controversial vote on whether or not to change its laws to allow for the marriage of same-sex couples, the diocese of the Arctic has sent a memorial to General Synod stating its commitment to maintaining the status quo.

The memorial, passed at the Arctic’s 2016 diocesan synod in May, also notes that the diocese seeks to “preserve the unity of the church,” and expresses a “sincere hope that [the diocese] can remain in fellowship and ministry with the Anglican Church of Canada, while standing with the larger Anglican Communion.”

Holy Matrimony “is a creation ordinance which is restricted to, and defined as, a covenant between a man and a woman,” the memorial says. “We seek to protect and promote this sacrament for the strengthening of the family, the stability of society, the unity of God’s church, and the common good.”

[….]

The diocese has been outspoken on matters of human sexuality in the past. In 2005, the Arctic’s diocesan synod amended its canon on the order and eligibility for licensing and banned employment of anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and those who willingly engage in sexual activities with a minor.

At the time, then Arctic Bishop Andrew Atagotaaluk and Bishop Larry Robertson (then suffragan of Mackenzie and Kitikmeot) explained that the law was passed to ensure diocesan employees maintained a lifestyle congruent with the diocese’s understanding of biblical sexual ethics.

While the memorial states that the diocese is “committed to human flourishing, equal opportunities, dignity and justice for all,” it is not clear whether this commitment to “equal opportunities” indicates a change in official diocesan hiring practices.

Bishop of Montreal will vote for same-sex marriage

Bishop Mary Irwin-Gibson will vote in favour of same-sex marriage at the July General Synod. It’s hard to see how she could do otherwise since she has a number of clergy in her employ who are civilly married to other men.

The reasons she gives for her decision live up to the high standard of language-twisting set by other Anglican Church of Canada bishops. The church, she says:

“has the right and obligation to prayerfully consider new things and not simply to march in lockstep with society,” said Gibson. But, she added, “neither are we to remain stuck by interpretations of Biblical principles, which not everyone shares.

Except, of course, the new thing here requires precision marching in lockstep with society and to discard 2000 years of biblical understanding because not everyone agrees is to discard the entire bible since, well, not everyone agrees.

She continues by claiming the vote in favour makes her an ambassador[s] of reconciliation:

“If we are to be ambassadors of reconciliation, disciples of Christ, I see the potential in ministering grace and sacraments to more people and in calling all married couples to be models of Christian discipleship and hospitality.”

Except, the Anglican obsession with homosexuality has already shattered the Anglican communion so it can hardly be a reconciling influence.

She claims that:

We will not all agree but we are one body.

And:

it is possible to achieve unity in diversity

Except that we have not been one body since Gene Robinson was consecrated and the diocese of New Westminster began blessing same-sex couples. Even Justin Welby has had to admit that there is no unity.

It sounds as if the Diocese of Montreal has decided to perform same-sex marriages even if the vote fails:

Several dioceses are more than ready to go ahead and some don’t ever see that day coming. The chancellor of General Synod is being consulted and we will see what happens after General Synod concludes.

The Shared Episcopal Ministry has withered away, as, surely, the conscience clause allowing clergy to refuse to marry same-sex couples would, too:

The bishop also confirmed that since she assumed the episcopacy almost nine months ago a compromise arrangement known as Shared Episcopal Ministry, instituted by her predecessor, Bishop Barry Clarke, in 2011, to accommodate six clergy and several parishes who saw him as too favourable to same-sex marriage has been allowed to lapse.

Taken together, in context, Mary Irwin-Gibson’s charge to synod was, even allowing for the fact that she is an Anglican bishop, a masterpiece of prating twaddle.

Bishop of Quebec uses Orlando murders to justify same-sex marriage

The Bishop of Quebec, Dennis Drainville, reluctant to allow an atrocity go to waste, has issued a pastoral letter on the Orlando murders in which he makes the grotesque comparison between the injustice of murdering someone and the “injustice” of not marrying them in a church:

The atrocities perpetrated by the lone gunman in Orlando are not just a grievous act of violence against the LBGTQ community but an attack on every citizen in the world community. As such, it is imperative that we speak out directly and forcefully against this monstrous act.
[…..]
The discussions that we in the Anglican Communion have had over the last 30 years regarding the ordination of Gay persons, the blessing of same gender partners and the current debate regarding the nature of marriage are in actuality our own attempt finally to bring about justice for the members of the LGBTQ community. God’s gift of human liberty cannot be made hostage to any philosophy, religion or sectarian attitudes. I call on all people who believe in peace and justice to encourage friends, family, neighbours and co-workers to take a united stand with the LGBTQ community. Let us work together to ensure Love, Hope and Faith are shared freely among all of God’s precious children.

The Anglican Church of Canada vacillates on euthanasia

In much the same way that it has submitted to cultural trends on same-sex marriage, the Anglican Church of Canada, rather than taking a stand either way, has decided to recognise euthanasia in Canada as a “reality”. In church terms, this is known as being prophetic; or is it missional – I don’t know, this jargon is so confusing, isn’t it?

In contrast, the Anglican Church in North America states in its constitution:

God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.

This would be a difficult idea for ACoC theologians to grasp since they are still divided on whether the concept of sin is a reality, let alone whether its only remedy is Jesus Christ – after all, we don’t want “to alienate people over a very sensitive and complex issue”.

From the Journal:

In a nod to changing times, the Anglican Church of Canada’s latest report on physician-assisted dying, rather than opposing the practice, recognizes it as a reality. The report offers reflections and resources around assisted dying and related issues, such as palliative care.

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down last year a ban on physician-assisted death for the “grievously and irremediably ill” as unconstitutional, notes the paper, entitled In Sure and Certain Hope: Resources to Assist Pastoral and Theological Approaches to Physician Assisted Dying, released Thursday, June 9.

In the wake of this decision, the paper states, “public debate concerning the legal ban on physician assisted dying is in some ways over.”

As a result, the authors continue, “our energy is best spent at this time ensuring that this practice is governed in ways that reflect insofar as possible a just expression of care for the dignity of every human being, whatever the circumstances.”

[……]

“A report like this is not going to please everybody because it doesn’t give a direct answer, and that will frustrate some people,” Hiltz said. “But…to give a direct answer is, in fact, to alienate people over a very sensitive and complex issue.”

The life of an ordinary Church of England vicar

It doesn’t usually include kicking police, drinking binges, bomb hoaxes, cannabis, fraud and criminal damage. But, in the case of Rev. Gareth Jones, it does.

Rev. Jones is the vicar (still, according to the website!) at St. Mary’s in Ilford, a parish that claims to be “A place of prayer, dialogue and hospitality” – unless you are a policeman. The parish is Anglo-Catholic, employing the usual trappings of incense, candles and an eastward facing priest at the altar – while he is able to stand, of course. No mention is made of the concentration of cannabis used in the thurible.

If Rev. Jones finds himself without a job – as surely he soon must – he could move to Canada and seek employment with the Anglican Church of Canada; if he pretends to be gay he is almost guaranteed a position.

From the BBC:

The Reverend Gareth Jones swore at officers and claimed he had diplomatic immunity from the Vatican when he was arrested two weeks ago.

A paramedic found him passed out on a street in central London.

Jones, who later said he was “deeply ashamed” about what happened, had drunk three bottles of wine, several pints of beer, gin and tonics and vodka.

[….]

As police intervened, the priest from St Mary’s Church in Ilford, east London, kicked an officer in the face, the court was told.

When asked which embassy would grant him diplomatic immunity, the priest said “the Vatican” and swore at officers.

Jones, who has previous convictions for a bomb hoax, affray, possession of cannabis, fraud, and criminal damage, now faces formal church disciplinary proceedings.

The Dead Parrot Sketch Redux

In its never ceasing quest to appear relevant, dynamic, progressive and forward-looking, the Anglican Church of Canada has decided not to decide on whether to support a Frankenstinian creation whose death throes twitching ceased five years ago: The Anglican Covenant.

From the Journal:

No Anglican Covenant decision in 2016

General Synod 2016 will not be asked to vote for or against adopting the proposed Anglican Covenant when it meets this July. Instead, a draft motion directs Council of General Synod (CoGS) to “continue to monitor developments related to the Anglican Covenant.”