17.11.08

neac, bad behaviour and contrary to popular opinion, some united evangelicals

so neac was quite interesting

fulcrum has a forum thread going on, on which i've said most of what i really want to say, so i'll copy some of my thoughts from there and perhaps say more over the next day or so when other accounts start appearing..........

you need to know that the 'motion' mentioned was one that was sprung on us at the beginning of the meeting with no forewarning in publicity and seemed a deliberate attempt to steamroller us all into accepting GAFCON, and the Jerusalem Declaration that came out of it, uncritically. the exact wording can be found on fulcrum (see graham kings comment, 16th november, 7.33pm). it should also be mentioned that the motion came with a 'no ammendments will be permitted' clause.

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have to say that my own personal sense from the meeting was actually quite positive. of course there was some phenomenally bad behaviour in the sudden appearance of a motion to vote on which carried a 'no ammendments will be permitted' clause (what kind of 'consultation' is this? I asked myself), but Keith Sinclair's balanced description of his experience at both Lambeth and GAFCON, Christina Baxter's contribution (which by far got the loudest longest clap of the day) and the Pete Broadbent's unique 'unboxed' (is that a word? you know what I mean, Pete will resolutely not be labelled and i love that) opinion, were utter gems.

one thing that hasn't been mentioned so far is the particularly difficult behaviour of the chair of CEEC, Richard Turnbull, I hesitate to mention it because, knowing that quite a few people will wish for it to 'disappear', I'm sure I will be sideswiped for mentioning it. however, it deserves a mention if only because most people would not have believed it unless they were there. it became clear that the majority of those present did not want the 'motion' to be put, and Philip Lovegrove with one of the best lines ever - 'Richard, from an elder brother, DO AS YOU ARE TOLD' - proposed a procedural motion for the previous controversial 'motion' to be 'not put' (I know it all seems complicated, but it had been made deliberately so - what we really wanted to say was, 'stop bullying us, we don't want to vote on this!', but had to do it as a constitutional body, so 'motions' were the order of the day). anyway, once this was proposed, Richard Turnbull was invited to speak to the motion, he had the opportunity, there and then to withdraw it, in fact he was urged to by many 'elder brothers', but instead chose to behave in such a way that we were left feeling emotionally blackmailed, bullied and condemned.

needless to say when the motion to 'not vote' was given, it won. in response to this Richard Turnbull announced that he was taking it to CEEC to vote anyway!

but as i said my general feeling was very positive, I was heartened by the fact that the majority of those present, albeit a small majority, voted against putting a motion that I believe would both divide evangelicals and which would also cut evangelicals off from our wider CofE brothers and sisters. The Jerusalem Declaration comes with the context in which it was wrought and whilst I wish to stand with those who are in anguish in the AC, the reality is that the political agenda which comes with the JD from the CofE is one which sees Anglican Evangelicals as the 'only true anglicans' (Richard Turnbull) and which defines Evangelical with a very narrow limit.

I want to be part of an Evangelical fellowship which will be happy with its distinctives and value that which we can gain from being among those who are 'not like us'. I believe that signing up to the JD in the context of the CofE would be to affirm those things which we as distinctly open evangelicals cannot - opposition of WO, crossing parish boundaries with very little cause, to name only two - not because it explicitly states such (although para 11 and 13 come close), but because based on past behaviour this is what it will be taken to mean.

perhaps I am naive but it seemed to me that of those that met, people generally wanted to behave well towards each other, recognising difference, that they did not think that agenda should override strategy, that they did not wish to be split down the middle, but rather be kept together as a body within the whole.

these are very good things.

5 comments:

karen said...

Thank you for writing about this - very interesting. I'm glad the motion against the motion passed in the end. At least I think that's what I mean. It does get a little confusing.

Rachel said...

Yes, thanks for covering the proceedings, unfortunately I had expected Turnbull to behave this way but I keep hoping he will do something to make me warm to him - he is after all a 'brother' - it's disappointing. Great to hear Christina received the loudest applause - I expected this too. There is a lot to be hopeful about, as you insist, but it still doesn't help those of us who were not there and only have the reports and the media to go on to believe that those who consider themselves 'orthodox' will accept fully those of us who feel very sceptical about the Jerusalem Declaration.

Rachel said...

How do feel about being quoted in CEN this week? I notice that they were quite selective in what they quoted and didn't include any of your positive comments - yiex - you're public property now! Keep strong!
God bless
Rachel

jody said...

yes, someone mentioned that i was in CEN this week - who knew that what i say is so interesting? ;-)

Tim Goodbody said...

er, is it just me or is Fulcrum down tonight?
Hope nothing malicious is afoot, esp since AM put the boot in to Graham in the CT letters page
peace!