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The Beat Goes On - Griswold, Eames, African Primates, Righter and More

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Frank T. Griswold has written a letter to Irish Primate Archbishop Robin Eames in an effort to put into perspective what he believes are the central issues facing the Anglican Communion from ECUSA’s standpoint as the commission pursues what could be a break-up or a new configuration of the whole communion.

As ECUSA heads with gadarene like swiftness towards the cliff’s edge, Griswold wrote a letter rather than answer a questionnaire he had been asked to fill out, a typically individualistic thing to do, but typically Griswoldian, to explain his church’s position.

Griswold opined that there were many interpretations of Scripture on a number of issues including human sexuality, but then lit into what he called “other dynamics at work in creating the strains we feel.” One, he said was electronic communication. “Events in one part of the world are instantly transmitted across the globe. Our contexts invade one another without explanation. Because our world has become very small we need to remember that our day to day realities are vastly different.”

“Electronic communication also makes it easy for misinformation to be spread abroad and take on a life of its own. This is all the more reason for us to deal directly with one another when there are serious questions or concerns, and not rely on interpretations or reports that may be untrue or biased.”

So what Griswold is saying, is that the Internet exists and Virtuosity can send stories that reveal the truth around the globe in nanoseconds that might actually be true about the state of ECUSA. But Frank would like us all to move to “a deeper level” and ignore what I write and listen only to him and his liberal spinmeisters like Dan England his foremost flak, for what news ye shall receive. Fortunately that day is done.

With all the lies and half truths he tells, anyone who can read English will never believe anything he says, or only about 25 percent of what he says. When you read words like “conversation”, “gracious”, “inclusivity”, “diversity” and “Sufi Rumi” et al take a deep breath and pop two valium.

He has spun the truth so often he has no credibility left. He lied to the Lambeth conference in October after signing a document that he wouldn’t participate in Robinson’s consecration and then went right ahead and did it.

If you read only Episcopal Life, ACNS and ENS you would never have learned that ‘truth’. They spun it to look like Griswold had no option, that he HAD to participate in Robinson’s consecration because he is the head banana and couldn’t stay away. The truth is Griswold has been pro-gay for years and this was the culmination of all his dreams, hopes and aspirations, and he would have gone to New Hampshire even if he couldn’t have worn a bullet proof vest.

With no absolute truth and “no one right way” everything in his mind is up for grabs, everything. After all if he wants us to go to a plain with the Sufi mystic Rumi to resolve our problems then why bother with Scripture at all.

In Britain even the Tory Party wants to learn from a recent gay summit. The Tories have said they will take positive lessons from a conference on gay issues designed to help the party "represent all sections of society". Wrote one Anglican vicar to me, “it is staggering to see all the fortifications being so quickly reduced by Satan to dust and rubble. Soon there will be nothing left of Western society, only round the clock fornication, fuelled by free Viagra for everyone aged 10 upwards.”

I have taken a hard look at Griswold’s letter to Eames in today’s digest. You may make up your own mind. But clearly the American Presiding Bishop is worried that some sort of discipline is in the works, and being taken out behind the woodshed could be publicly humiliating enough for him to actually feel some pain.

But Griswold has a marvelous ability to spin even the worst situations into a positive view of how the church can move forward together “graciously”, and if he succeeds, it will only be because the Africans are too gracious to dump on him, preferring instead to find a way forward for the whole communion, helped along by the ever unctuous Eames.

BUT A SIGNIFICANT RECONCILING MOVE DID TAKE PLACE THIS WEEK in Africa. A rift between the only liberal province – Southern Africa – and the rest of Africa was patched over between Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane and Nigerian Primate Peter Akinola.

Their statement (included in today’s digest) said, “We concluded to work together to strengthen the position of the Church in Africa on the issue of Human Sexuality. We uphold the Lambeth resolution on Human Sexuality as passed at the 1998 Lambeth Conference and subsequent Primates Meetings which categorically say no to same-sex marriages or unions.”

Is this a back down by Ndungane from his earlier very pro-Western views on sexuality issues? There are two ways (at least) on how to interpret this event. The first, and most obvious, is that Ndungane has had a change of heart about sexuality issues and has repented of his positions, though the document does not specifically say so.

Secondly, and perhaps, most importantly is that the African Anglican provinces want to be totally united if and when a split comes in the Anglican Communion and Akinola, its de facto leader, does not want a fifth column province in his back yard beholden to the ECUSA and working against him when the balloon goes up.

Now it would be a major step towards healing if Ndungane fired the so-called Episcopal missionary Ted Karpf who is being funded out of New York and who heads the AIDS war in Southern Africa. Karpf is an activist homosexual and an 815 plant, and he is there to keep Ndungane’s feet to the fire, and by doing so guarantees the monies keep flowing from the ECUSA.

It would be a major statement if Ndungane sent him packing back to the US where he could practice his sodomite behavior in the comfort of NY or Washington, DC with the blessing of Frank Griswold with a new job in 815. We shall see.

Ndungane recently led a clergy retreat in the diocese of Port Elizabeth where he pleaded the liberal line on homosexuality. So what has changed? He was a vigorous supporter of Griswold at the Primates Meeting and at the HoB meeting in South Africa last year he argued for a study and a more liberal attitude on same-sex unions.

If he has changed his mind, then this is a giant step forward, but the document both men signed does not exactly say that.

Furthermore at the CAPA meeting held last summer in Nairobi, the bishops decided not to hold Lambeth 2008 in Cape Town. Akinola is chairman of CAPA. So what is on Akinola’s mind? If he consulted his fellow African bishops the document does not say so. The press release is not clear, more clarification is needed.

THE NEW ALIGNMENT IS CLEARLY UNDERWAY. This week it was announced that two Primates, Drexel Gomez (Nassau) and Greg Venables (Southern Cone) have invited the Presiding Bishop and leadership of the US-based Reformed Episcopal Church to a gabfest in Nassau. This is important, because the ECUSA has been trying to rope in the REC with talks of unity, but the REC is now in impaired communion with the ECUSA over the Robinson consecration.

In the announcement, Archbishop Gomez said he had been impressed and delighted by the new “Federation for Anglican Ministry in America” that emerged from the December 2003 meetings of Anglicans United in Orlando, Florida. This document drew from the "Federation" concept worked out by the REC/APA Unity Committee earlier year. (That story is in today’s digest.)

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: What Really Happened at the House of Bishops? The American Anglican Council says it knows. Here is what they say really happened at the HoB meeting in Navasota, Texas.

“The House of Bishops meeting was tightly controlled and “process oriented”. The Presiding Bishop stated in his opening address that V. Gene Robinson has borne all the pain over the last several months. The House neither acknowledged nor dealt with the severe level of crisis in the church. The Presiding Bishop’s mantra continues to be, “More unites us than divides us.” His Assistant for Communications, Barbara Braver flippantly underscored this in a posting on Episcopal Communicators Discussion Group:

“We can all be proud of our bishops. Of course, we know they don't all agree but by and large they care much more about the total life and mission of the community and our life in Christ for the sake of the world than they do about what divides. And, by and large, they are able to live in the tension of agreeing that they don't agree about everything. GEE WHIZ - how Anglican!”

IN THE DIOCESE OF WESTERN NEW YORK five orthodox churches in the Diocese are gathering for prayer and a show of solidarity on Friday, April 2, 2004 at 7 p.m. They are at odds with their bishop J. Michael Garrison and many of them are wondering how they should proceed. Withholding funds might just be not enough for some of them. The bishop has threatened five parishes with ecclesiastical action if they don’t come into line. We await the outcome.

THE VIA MEDIA GROUPS MET IN ATLANTA THIS WEEK and emerged pleading their case of why can’t we all just get along. "There is room for everyone in the Episcopal Church," said The Rev. Michael Russell, Rector of All Souls' Episcopal Church in San Diego, CA, and a member of Episcopal Way of San Diego. "We believe that the Christian way is to love, work and worship together - to resolve disputes within the church without tearing it apart." Right, and the Via Media groups exist ONLY in orthodox dioceses not in revisionist ones. They recently opened a chapter in the Diocese of Southwest Florida, where Bishop John Lipscomb resides, and he said publicly that he was not happy at this development. The truth is there is not one vestige of via media in this group, it is a complete fiction, they are squarely in the opposing camp and when push comes to shove, they will shove, with lawsuits, against anybody who doesn’t fall in line.

Griswold weighed in with this statement about the meeting; “Our divergent points of view find their place of meeting and reconciliation in word and sacrament and a life shared in the service of the Gospel. The diverse center is the overwhelming reality of our church and its voice is urgently needed, both within the church and in our fractured and polarized world.”

VIRTUOSITY LEARNED THIS WEEK THAT WALTER RIGHTER, the former BISHOP OF IOWA who recently told the five Ohio “dissenters” they should just leave ECUSA, has been functioning without permission in the DIOCESE OF PITTSBURGH.
(Full story in today’s digest).

THE EPISCOPAL DIVINITY SCHOOL announced that this year’s honorary degree recipients include the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Michael Peers and the new homoerotic Bishop of New Hampshire V. Gene Robinson. Peers will be the Commencement Speaker.

Peers, who recently retired as Primate will, according to the PR puffery bring his special concern to encourage greater inclusiveness in the life of the church and to address major issues facing Canada and the world from a Christian perspective.

Get this. He was Primate from 1986-2004 and during that time the Canadian Church has been dropping like a stone. It has been declining steadily since the 70s and this has been well documented by church historian Marney Patterson in his book: SUICIDE, The Decline and Fall of the Anglican Church of Canada.

In 1990 the church had 812,962 members, in 1995 it had dropped to 740, 262, by 2000 the figure was down to 2000 650, 977. There has been no census since then, but one expert suggested that Canadian Anglicanism could now be well below 600,000. That’s the legacy of Peer’s doctrine of inclusion.

Robinson has become the new darling of sexual revisionist agit prop, and the only issue now is whether the University of the South at Sewanee will also give him an honorary doctorate. Being anal is one thing, being anointed with honorary doctorates for having anal sex is quite another matter altogether.

IN CANADA A BILL BEFORE THEIR PARLIAMENT COULD CRIMINALIZE quoting Scriptures against homosexual behavior say Catholic bishops and leading evangelicals in that country. Portions of the Bible are in danger of being condemned as hate literature, say religious groups opposed to changes in the Criminal Code to be debated next week by the Senate.

In a letter to Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said Friday that Bill C-250 proposes changes that could lead to the church being prosecuted for its teaching that "sexual conduct between people of the same sex is morally wrong."

Janet Epp Buckingham, the director of law and public policy for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said senators have told her they are "getting a ton of phone calls and e-mails opposing the bill," but said there is also "quite a bit of momentum for the bill to pass."

The evangelical fellowship said that if C-250 is passed, it will endanger faith groups' freedom to read, preach and distribute sacred texts, and to publicly discuss and comment on sexual morality.

A Canadian Virtuosity reader said that Virtuosity itself could be classified as hate literature….and I should try crossing the border sometime for tea and biscuits.

I AM POSTING A NUMBER OF STORIES FROM ACROSS THE COMMUNION and several that touch on issues of Christ and Culture in the secular realm. I do hope you find something of value among them.

Please feel free to forward to your friends any story that takes your fancy and invite people to join VIRTUOSITY or go to the website at www.virtuosityonline.org.

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All Blessings

David W. Virtue DD

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