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Reader Response to the Lambeth Conference

[Episcopal News Service] Reader responses to Episcopal Life Media's coverage of the Lambeth Conference follow.


KENYA: Anglican primate rejects call to stop 'intervention' in U.S.

In reading the quotes from Benjamin Nzimbi it sounds to me like he is under the misguided notion that the Lambeth Conference has some kind of authority.

The Lambeth Conference is probably the most inconsequential gathering that's ever held. Its resolutions carry no authority and therefore can not be "contravened."  I do hope that someone will explain this to the bishops.

Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation

I think this report is wonderful! It shows how interpersonal interaction in a small group over time allows the participants to see each other as "people" with hopes, dreams and frustrations just like
themselves. As the kids would say, "This is a God thing!"

Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation

Thank God for open hearts that allow the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit to work within and around us!

Lambeth bishops wrestle with Scripture

I believe the interpretation of Scripture is absolutely key to the discussion. For one side of the discussion, if a given verse says xyz, then that must be what it means, whereas for the other side, there is an immediate "yes-but" response. Quite frankly, I have to take my side with the "yes-but" folks. The Bible simply cannot be taken so literally as one side would like; what is more, we Christians have not done so for most of our existence.

For instance, we revere the Ten Commandments, yet we consistently ignore the commandment to honor the seventh/Sabbath day and keep it holy, and have done so for centuries. Of all the many commandments, this one is probably mentioned more than any other in Scripture. There is even commentary on it, showing how absolutely, rigorously and stringently it is to be interpreted. Scripture could not be clearer. Yet we Christians have a different interpretation -- one that fits our times and our needs. I agree with such an interpretation, even though it has had the effect of rendering the commandment practically meaningless.

However, if people seriously wish to say they take the Bible literally, then they cannot waffle: they must insist on the obedience to this commandment as well, in the full sense Scripture very clearly demands. If, on the other hand, they do not insist on a rigorous adherence to the commandment regarding the Sabbath, then they can scarcely fault others for taking similarly realistic views when interpreting other much less stringently articulated commandments.

Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation

Delighted the exchanges were more civil but the issues cannot be both/and. Christianity is not about feeling good and making everyone happy. It is about the pursuit of truth and holiness. We pray for the Bishops not only to be pastoral, but to be faithful to our historic and natural truths.

Lambeth Conference Daily Account: Bishops Jon Bruno of Los Angeles, Chilton Knudsen of Maine, Michael Smith of North Dakota

It would be nice to see more regarding the "bridge-building" to which the bishops refer.  What are some examples?  Where are these bridges located?  Who is "bridging" to whom?  The Canterbury Archbishop already said that " Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10 would not be revisited ... it continues to be the accepted teaching of ... the Anglican Communion." So, what's the point?  It sounds like a spin that the "Communion" isn't going to fracture over sexuality controversies. I still think it will, regardless what American bishops might have to say.

Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation

Again, the Archbiship's comments regarding the discussion of "human sexuality, if indeed that is how we wish to reduce the discussion, make me wince. His redundant observation from Scripture that "these people are also human," and his comment regarding "gay and lesbian lifestyles" place him in a discursive universe light years from where the leader of the Anglican Communion needs to be at this critical time.

Archbishop of Canterbury's second presidential address to the Lambeth Conference

The Archbishop of Canterbury should be commended for listening attentively to each side and pleading for his fellow bishops to do likewise. He did more than anyone has before to articulate how much pain both sides feel, and why. However, what he did not accomplish—and what Anglican progressives have not accomplished either—was a resolution of this decades-long stand-off.

I suggest that the only step that can get Anglicans and other Christian churches beyond the homosexual divide is for all sides to understand and affirm that blessing committed same-sex relationships would be an authentic gain—for gays, for Christians, and for the entire human race. 

Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation

Wow! This quote is from your report:

After he had spoken "with passion for my own convictions," Ernest, who is Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola's successor as chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, said, "a bishop from the Episcopal Church stood up and spoke about his own context, and then we held hands and said 'we've got to journey together.'"
"The conversation cannot stop on Monday," Ernest said. "It's got to continue."

What happened is utterly fabulous. I pray that this conversation does continue.

Sexuality discussions bring Lambeth bishops to frank conversation

This was quite uplifting and you can experience the Spirit moving in these people. I would like to share what my mother said to me when I came out as a gay person. My mother said she thought homosexuality was wrong because she was brought up that way but I was her son and she
loved me for who I was.  I think that is the most that can be asked and received from others.

Lambeth bishops wrestle with Scripture

Reading this article, the phrase "use of the Bible" immediately caught my attention. May I suggest that there is a necessary base we must put in place upon which to build our use of our Scripture.

That base, as I understand it, is a realization that the Bible is sacramental in nature. That is to say, just as God uses water to act in the sacrament of Baptism and bread and wine to act in the sacrament of Eucharist in keeping with the limitations of those created elements, so God uses language with all of its limitations to communicate with us human beings through the Bible.  Among other limitations of language must be included the specific language the human author used, the limitations of the time and culture in which that human author lived.

The comment further along in the article about the understanding of homosexuality at the time when the biblical passages were written is especially to the point. In this context we must clearly acknowledge that the authors and their communities knew well of homosexual acts; but their knowledge was limited to understanding those acts as taking place between heterosexuals! They knew nothing of homosexuality as such.

It is a necessary conclusion, therefore, that God says nothing in the Bible about homosexuality itself.  And so we make a serious error when we equate homosexual acts with homosexuality in attempting to interpret these biblical passages and to apply them to our modern societies!

Lambeth Conference Daily Account: Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas

How reassuring to hear two of our great Bishops, Dean and Leo, today at my desk in New Haven. Their hope, candor and clarity give me hope for our great communion. As many of us sit, wait and pray for these conversations, it is wonderful to be informed and included in the conversations. Their observations and perspectives are full of grace and I feel grateful to be an Episcopalian.

Lambeth Conference Daily Account: Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida, Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas

Great job, Dean and Leo. I appreciated the openness and honesty, which haven't always been  so transparent in other videos.

Lambeth bishops wrestle with Scripture

I hope they can figure this out so former Roman Catholics will know what to believe in.

Lambeth bishops wrestle with Scripture

Who won - Scripture or the bishops?

KENYA: Anglican primate rejects call to stop 'intervention' in U.S.

The central-African Bishops seem to see their Anglicanism as sitting on a two-legged stool: Scripture and Tradition.  The third "leg"- Reason -- which has always been informative to faith and morality, seems to be notably absent. The lack of scientific information and study on homosexuality leaves the bishops in the very shaky position of considering homosexuality a choice (into sin) instead of a condition of life at birth, and not a choice, which is important in any informed conversation.

Even so, is the issue of this "morality" more primary than the essence of the faith itself? We are bound together more by the Christian Dogmas than by doctrines, and this aspect of the conversation seems to be absent. The opposition to homosexuality is a doctrine, not a dogma, and thus open to disagreements and variations in practices … like the veneration of relics, or the allowance of certain Anglican bishops earlier to have multiple wives, allowing divorces from marriages, and supporting wars.

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