Sunday, June 21, 2009

ACNA ignores Scripture.

Regular readers will know that Judges is one of my favourite books of the Bible. A gentle work of direct revelation, it speaks of a time and society with values exactly like our own. Indeed, I’ve often considered the account in Chapter 19 of a Levite who hands his concubine over to be pack-raped and then afterwards carves her into 12 pieces has the makings of a tremendous Broadway musical, although for reasons I’ve never been able to understand my sola scriptura colleagues always seem to prefer I don’t raise this passage when campaigning for compulsory Bible reading in schools.

So it’s with a heavy heart that I discovered the Communion's latest road-show, Little Bobby Duncan and the ACNA Experience has chosen to ignore the core message of this part of Our Sacred Canon – that without some form of centralized authority things devolve into chaos.

To see what I mean please take the time from your otherwise irrelevant lives to examine the finally released list of ACNA dioceses. Yes, for those of you who had doubted, it not only achieves their earlier claim of 28 dioceses, but exceeds it, listing 29 – although I’m not too sure what to make of a diocese with only 510 congregants, and since the criteria seems pretty hazy I can’t for the life of me see why things weren’t just split up some more to create thousands of dioceses, which would really have shown the apostate TEC a thing or two.

Yet regardless of how many dioceses they end up with, the point is that the lines of authority between those dioceses is about as clear as Don Armstrong’s personal account-keeping – and five of them are listed as being “in formation”, which mans they don’t even exist yet! What’s going to happen when, for example, one of little Bobby’s congregations in Pittsburgh decide they no longer like girl-cooties and what to join an AMiA cluster? Or if at some point in the future the Rwandan primate (the real one, not a faux-Rwandan) should through some strange work of the Spirit detect a certain hypocrisy in the fact that while his national church ordains women to the Priesthood, his faux-Rwandan bishops will only do so to the Diaconate, and decides to order his U.S./Canadian “mission” to display a little consistency? What then? What’s the difference between the “Anglican Diocese in the Southeast” and the “Diocese of the Southeast”, and can a minister and their parish flick between them according to whoever’s currently offering the best deal?

Four times the Book of Judges reminds readers that "there was no king in Israel in those days" (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) by way of an explanation for the anarchy it recounts: in the absence of any clear structure of leadership there was no rule of law. Much of Anglicanism’s historic success have been due to its ability to place check and balances on extremists of any persuasion; the reason clergy like me can’t attain the income of, for example, Kenneth Copeland or the reach of the delightfully named Creflo Dollar is because we have been called to serve with a hierarchical framework which imposes a measure of control upon our ministries and schemes. This leash attached to our collars may at times be restrictive, but it also helps stop us from running out into the traffic and getting bowled over by a passing truck, and – even worse – from taking our congregations along with us. As a system of church governance Episcopalianism has its flaws, but a predilection for serving cyanide-laced Kool-Aid has never been one of them. Under ACNA I'm not certain the old restraints will remain.

Far from bringing a “New Israel” to North America, ACNA looks suspiciously like reintroducing a very old one. My recommendation is we all give thanks we’re not Layperson Minns’ concubine.

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.

7 comments :

Father David Heron said...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6544676.ece

A report in today's "Times" shows how Nigerian witches increase their congegations by drugging young maidens in ju-ju ceremonies and sending them to Britain as prostitutes. This is clearly Scriptural. It is a method by which ACNA can easily increase its size.

David |Dah • veed| said...

I think that the Diocese of the Southeast is an REC diocese, whereas the Anglican Diocese of the Southeast is a new diocese made from former TEC congregations.

BTW, that story about the Levite and his concubine has a familiar ring to it. Does God reuse the same storyline occasionally?

Lapinbizarre said...

All the fun I missed through attending a Sunday school that thought Christianity was about Jesus.

Leonardo Ricardo said...

One thing these bozobigots got is staying power (even after the bottom dropped out of the righteous Brother Big Britches Budget)...I must say, it´s not exactly a Sprint Finish...it´s more like a little glimpse of a upcoming new episode of Withering Heights...limping along while attempting to whistle a happy tune.

Anonymous said...

As one digitally challenged, the fringe at the end of one's palm's type versus the on-off, I noted your perfectly understandable CANA for ACNA reference, but I was baffled by the link to the ACNA's nice roster of dioceses and the bottom line, referencing its vicar generals. Or did they intend vicars general? Or did they simply not know they intended vicars general, which, when you think about it, makes one wonder what else they might not know? TBL

The Rev. Dr. Christian Troll said...

Thank you my child: the CANA/ACNA typo has been corrected. I must say that all these acronyms are getting a bit much even for me - and by the look of things there's going to be a lot more before this thing dies its inevitable death.

I dare say the subtle-but-oh-so-significant misplacement of the "s" has most to do with the probably unpaid typist dwelling somewhere in little Bobby's evangelical domain, where Vicars General are a phenomena rather thin on the ground. Either that or the whole testosterone-filled atmosphere has reached the point where it's not enough to be a bishop, you have to be a general as well. Or perhaps it's a prelude to some kind of eventual Burmese-style junta, with the church being under divinely-sanctioned martial law.

Regardless - Well spotted and thank you!

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Sounds like the ramblings of a crotchety old man with a nonsensical axe to grind. After all we've been through in the apostate TEC, the last thing we need is this nonsense to defame and inflame a Godly outcome. I'll stick by by ACNA priests in my wonderful parish and will defend our authenticity to the bitter end. We are trying to live peaceful Christian lives and accept Biblical authority. We defend the faith once delivered. What more can you ask for? Instead of rambling on about numbers and dioceses, why don't you talk about more important things like Christians being hacked to death by Muslims via machete, or the injustice of American military occupation of, oh, just about everywhere in the interest of empire building? Can't apologize. This article is pure tripe, and I'll never eat THAT! God bless you!