Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Two Conferences Worth Noting

The Trinity Institute Conference, hosted by Trinity Church, Wall Street, ended today. The theme was "God's Unfinished Future: Why it Matters Now." Among the presenters were Jürgen Moltmann, emeritus professor of theology at Tübingen University, Germany and Peter Gomes, Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. ENS provides us with a summary of their presentations.

Gomes, speaking on the theme "Can We Afford a Positive Future," recommends five things to do to point ourselves towards hope. His fifth point is quite relevant in light of our previous discussion:

"Preach to the future [because] there is no salvation in the past. There is no hope in history." Gomes warned against a nostalgia that longs for what he said is a non-existent time in the past when all was right. "The only place worth going to for believers is to the place where we have not yet been," he said. "Preach the future then not as a place of terror and fear and intimidation but as the place where we shall finally be fully known even as we; where we shall see God face to face."
"...forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal..."

CDSP launched Epiphany West yesterday. This year's theme is a timely topic; "Re-visioning Anglicanism - Where do we go from here?"

Richard is attending Epiphany West, and blogging about it. He's got some insightful things to say. Here's part of the conclusion to his reflection entitled Anglican Romanticism:

...It strikes me that we all suffer from our own forms of "Anglican Romanticism." Appeals to Hooker, Cranmer, or the missionaries who founded our particular Churches may, in the end, not help the present impasse or bring us towards reconciliation.

What the AAC, and, to some extent, the AMiA and CANA and other alphabet-soup networks are up to is really nothing new, but they are simply re-articulating an age-old position of puritanical theology and thought that can be traced back in the history of the Episcopal Church and even to the foundation of the Church of England in the sixteenth century. That's their "Anglicanism," and they have some justification from a particular reading of the historical record.

But they risk, like the Reformed Episcopal Church, becoming yet one more mere splinter in our common history. Their truly romantic and over-inflated notions, it seems to me, lies in their implicit and explicit desire to become some kind of new Province of the Communion or develop some polity that, despite contradicting over 1,400 years of jurisdictional tradition, will fly in the greater Anglican Communion. Or even to see The Epsicopal Church "kicked out" of the Anglican Communion. Now I think that one's probably over the top, but it helps to explain the strong inclination to get close with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Primates in the hope that a divorce from The Episcopal Church will not set them adrift as far as the rest of the Communion goes. Romanticism par excellence, I'd say!

UPDATE: Richard has posted a second reflection, entitled A Mess of History. It is drawn from the lectures of The Rev. Dr. Rebecca Lyman and The Rev. Nak-Hyon Joo. Of special note is the section subtitled Understanding Akinola.

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