Sunday, February 18, 2007

Table fellowship and Virginia ham

I just don't seem to have the attention span or focus needed to keep up with multiple complex issues--especially at those times that I am working during the day. So while I've been focussed on how those with smaller blogs can find some way to cooperate in a way that is mutually beneficial, while still retaining their independence, I've completely lost track of some other things. For example, I had totally blanked on the fact that the bishops in the Anglican Communion were having a major meeting this week.

Via the Episcopal News Service, we have this story about Archbishop Peter Akinola and other archbishops of the "Global South" refusing to share Holy Communion with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

Seven "Global South" archbishops refused to receive Holy Communion with their fellow Primates February 16, alleging that they were "unable to come to the Holy Table with the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church because to do so would be a violation of Scriptural teaching and the traditional Anglican understanding."
Now, I have tremendous admiration for Bishop Katharine. Archbishop Akinola, not so much. But while my first thought was just about the "snub" aspect of the action. It was only a little later that it occurred to me the extent to which this action goes against something that was really central for Jesus. From the web site of The Center for Progressive Christianity:
It is probably no coincidence that many scholars today believe the stories about Jesus’s open table are considered some of the most authentic historical passages in the gospels, in part because they are so unique for the times. Marcus J. Borg wrote in Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, “one of his (Jesus’s) most characteristic activities was an open and inclusive table.” (p.55) Later he notes that, “The inclusive vision incarnated in Jesus’s table fellowship is reflected in the shape of the Jesus movement itself.” (p. 56)
And on the subject of food, I found something interesting at a new blog called epiScope. The post is entitled "Virginia Ham", and it discusses the "unreasonable rift" in the Episcopal Church...
But in the present rift among our Episcopalian neighbors, one feels it is not so much deviant ideas, but how deviant behavior is defined. As we have recently seen, Virginians regard homosexuality as deviant and, I continue to insist, abhorrent. As we have also seen, they are loath to acknowledge this abhorrence, claiming, for the most part, they are constrained to obey the edicts inscribed in the book of Leviticus. Well, Leviticus prescribes dire consequences for any of us who fancy Virginia ham as well.
Good one--wish I'd thought of it. (Given that the most publicized recent rift in the Episcopal Church in the United States has been in the Diocese of Virginia.) More here.

Alternate link for comments