Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Forward in Faith: Bringing the World Lay Presidency.

Perhaps the most shocked in the Australian church by the Sydney synod’s overwhelming support for lay/diaconal presidency should be the ├╝ber-Catholic Diocese of Ballarat: the person bringing the motion was none other than their very own Canon Theologian Bishop Glenn Davies of North Sydney.

As part of the strange coalition formed to block people from following God’s to ministry in 2000 the former Bishop of Ballarat, +David Silk, made the unusual appointment of (then) Dr. Davies to this role: given Davies’ allegiance to hyper-Calvinists like the World Reformed Fellowship as well as his post-graduate qualification from Westminster, one might have thought +Silk could have found a more suitable candidate for the deeply Tractarian Ballarat. Still, bigotry makes for odd bedfellows, and the lecturer once known to a small group of ne’er-do-wells as “Dr. Bean” became Ballarat’s man. And anyone not understanding the nickname should take a close look at +Davies’ picture on the left before clicking here. Meanwhile anyone who does understand how the man who insisted his students believe turning one’s back to the congregation while presiding, or referring to the communion table as an altar are examples of “wicked superstitious popery” could proudly advertise his seat in a Cathedral so Catholic it makes the Vatican look moderate should only drop me an explanatory note if they can do so without using the word “hypocrite”.

Nor are Ballarat hard-liners trying to comfort themselves by claiming the appointment no longer stands; despite diocesan legislation specifying the appointment of Canon Theologian is for at most 3 years plus one further 3 year term, and thus should have by now expired, a call this morning to Ballarat diocesan offices resulted in the chirpy voice answering the phone informing me that +Davies does indeed still hold the post, as his own web site states. It’s worth noting, however, that the voice became considerably less chirpy when I explained my reason for calling… ;-)

Now I know this sounds like something from Father Christian Troll, but I can’t be the only one who finds it hilarious that lay presidency was introduced to the Anglican Communion by the Canon Theologian of one of the most loyal Forward in Faith dioceses in the world!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Disconnect '09

Just spotted this on the Sydney Anglican website and I couldn't help myself: it seems a Rector in Sydney's far west can't find clergy willing to help start a congregation in a new neighboring satellite suburb.

If he's interested I'll be more than happy to provide him with a list of people who'd jump at the chance, and who are all currently doing fantastic work in churches that exist under the official Matthian party-line radar - although since most of the names are people who happen to be gay/female/divorced/remarried/not bigots/moderate Catholics means I won't hold my breath waiting for his call...

Wonder if the fact that this particular area is a world away from the comfortable tertiary-educated "areas of strategic ministry" much loved by the Jensens has anything to do with the bright young evangelical things' reticence to stick their hands up? Surely not.

…. I’m Back. (Sorry!)

It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve posted anything here, and the first thing I have to do is thank everyone who’s left notes asking if everything is ok. When I started this thing I never imagined there was such a great community of people out there who really do care about each other – including some semi-sane mischief-maker on what is for most of you the other side of the world. I’ll try and email all of you who’ve written personally as time permits – till then please accept my thanks here as an indication of how much your thoughts have been appreciated.

The truth is life in the Duck Noodle Gang has been about as wonderful as I think things can get: hectic and chaotic (I’m typing this with my left hand while feeding apple, banana & berries mush to a tired &teething Mr. Eight-Month-Old with the right, while Miss Two-and-a-Half is teaching our dogs the Alphabet Song), but magic.

As part of a DNG family decision I’ve become a full-time housedad; juggling bottles, nappies, and toddler-tantrums with programming work during the kid’s nap-times (I’ve taught myself php over the past 4 weeks, and a major new project is just about completed!) – but I’m afraid Caliban’s Dream has become a temporary casualty of all this activity.

Which doesn’t mean I haven’t been following everyone else’s blogs, just that I’ve lacked the brain-power to comment in any meaningful way. What little energy I’ve had free to spare on the ‘net has been absorbed by “interacting” (let the reader understand ;-) with a wicked old “uncle” (ditto) of mine whose blog has been generating an unbelievable amount of traffic – and that’s the most I’ll say on that particular subject, but anyone feeling confused (and I know I would be ;-) is welcome to email…

Of a much more interesting (to us, at any rate) note is that we’ve moved house again. After living in the inner-city for eighteen years it seemed time for a shift to the ‘burbs in preparation for a much bigger move in the new year (of which I’ll say more when it gets nearer). Much to my own bemusement we’re now living on the leafy North Shore, on the edge of the Protestant bible belt and surrounded by bushland. The whole thing feels kind of weird, but fun. Instead of a tiny courtyard we’ve now got a large backyard in which the dogs have turned semi-feral, and kookaburras are laughing raucously in the trees as I write this. Somehow I think they’re making a better comment on the current Sydney Anglican debacle than I’ll ever mange to post…

So instead of diving straight into that particularly ugly evangelical pissing contest, I think it’s better to first play a bit of music to give an idea of life on Planet Caliban:

First up is 90’s Oz band Frente - “Accidentally Kelly Street”. Yeah – I know it’s hopelessly twee, but Missy Two and I love dancing to it (no: I won’t post a video of me doing that) and us house-daddies know better than to argue music with a toddler. Especially not when the song says more about life than I’d have dreamt possible.

The second is a classic piece of Brit-pop, but the feeling’s the same. And when we start jumping around to this one even Blackstar and Fiver want to join in. Which is no mean feat: it takes a lot to drag them away from the important work of digging up lizards and barking at the sulphur-crested cockatoos partying on the roof…

God bless the lot of ya!