01 October 2010

"Pass" "Wounds" and sins

I have as have many been thinking about the words of Dr. Williams on the issue of lesbian/gay bishops. I also have been thinking about his and ++York's actions trying to delay or water down the act in synod allowing women to finally(!) be bishops in the church of England.

Regular readers of this blog will (both) recall that I have a certain impatience with "isms." Princeton's online dictionary deals with "isms" as follows "a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school." And there in the problem. Christianity is not an ism. It is a way to live, relate to others and to relate to God which is why the Apostles called it, "The way" and not "the Faith" or "the Belief."

This impatience applies especially to what I consider a particularly besetting evil, "institutionalism." Institutionalism is the evil that places persons behind institutions. "State-ism" the placing of individuals interests, rights and liberties behind governments' interests is itself a form of institutionalism.

In a realistic sense there is some core belief necessary to almost any association or group. So for instance I claim the quadrilateral does a pretty good job of defining the Anglican core and I suppose that is an institutional core. My younger son points out that the ancient creeds arose from institutions -- the early church.

Still within a wide range most things are adiaphora: the things that do not matter as much. Very little lies at the core.

And yet, we keep seeing efforts to copyright God. AC-NA has decided that without institutional homophobia, one violates the Anglican copyright. Bishop Iker has decided that if one has women clergy the copyright is broken. Benedict 16 thinks if one is not fully a subservient subject of Roman legalism (yup another ism) the copyright is broken.

The copyright is dubious. I find little of 'orthodoxy' in fact he says more of orthopraxy. Jesus says, "sell all give to the poor and follow me." In fact Jesus is dismissive of obedience to Hebrew law. He is more interested in what we do.

His younger brother if anything is more dismissive. In James we read that one must act, the brother of Jesus really wants to see what our beliefs lead us to do.

And that is the thing about about isms. What we believe ultimately is visible not in what we say but in how we act. You can tell me all about love, do you love? Communism talked about "new soviet man" and prattled about liberty and equality. What really happened is the dictators lived in fancy villas, the workers in poverty. Benedict 16 signs letters claiming the title "servant of the servants of God, but launches from his palace investigations of nuns. Whatever that is, it is not servant-hood.

Dr. Williams is much more concerned about the institution than the minor detail that Jeffry John was qualified, a human being and his friend.

That friends is evil -- the evil of institutionalism. And that evil is the reason his term will be remembered the same way ABp. Laud's is -- a failure. He says he will resign before his 70th birthday. I say next Wednesday would be nice.


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