Monday, December 31, 2007

Seventh Day of Christmas: Latin American reflection and appeal (1. Xico! 2. Fork out, folks, it's payday!)

TWO. The last shall be first so number 2 precedes number 1. For those of us who get paid on the first of the month, it's payday, which means that even on meager budgets (e.g. those of us who work for nonprofits, are freelancers, church workers, students, educators, single parents, et al.) we can squeeze out some dollars or pounds or euros or whatever we are making and SEND IT TO THE PEOPLE OF CRISTO REI, an Anglican congregation in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Cidade de Deus.

There are two trustworthy collectors of this offering, one on each side of the Atlantic. Go here for details. Only six days left! The money leaves on Epiphany and you KNOW some of your money wants to go to Brazil. It's cheaper than sending yourself there, right?

Also, it's not really our money, it's God's money, so why not do a little redistribution of wealth?

ONE. Yesterday, I promised you Xico. Here's Xico. Padre Xico de Brasil, more specifically the Rev. Cônego [Canon] Francisco de Assis da Silva, or more simply, Francisco Silva or Xico Silva, and he is the (relatively new) General Secretary of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil. (You know, Brazil, where our money is going.) He blogs, though not frequently, at Katinho do Rev.

Our brother Xico, a priest and lawyer, is among the wise, pastoral, and energetic group of people leading what is known as the Global Center. (Thanks to Padre Mickey de Panamá for introducing the term and the people to me and to many of us. You can see two of the dancing bishops of the Global Center here, during their recent visit to South Africa for the TEAM conference. One of them is Padre Xico's Presiding Bishop, Reverendisimo Maurício José Araújo de Andrade and the other is the Presiding Bishop from Panama, Revendisimo Julio Ernesto Murray Th., Bishop of la Iglesia Episcopal de Panamá. And do click that green "Global Center" link back at the beginning of this paragraph for a most excellent statement.)

On November 11, Padre Xico wrote on his blog:

Domingo, Novembro 11, 2007

Martin Luther: Sorry for that!

In the last days I saw a variety of declarations delivered by a group of conservative Primates and theologians within the Anglican Communion. In one of these declarations, the Archbishop Akinola compared the current crisis inside the Communion with the context of Reformation. Adding more color on his statement he invoked the image of Luther to say that the conservative group faces the same challenges and needs to embody the same struggle and values defended by the German reformer.

In my opinion, this comparison is absolutely out of context. And surely for Luther's demerit!

I would like to point at least two reasons for justify as it is unhappy this comparison:

1. Luther fought against obscurantism -

One of the main postulates of the Reform was exactly overcome the monopoly of the biblical interpretation by Church chiefs. The Bible was, according to Luther, important element to faith enrichment and the Church laymen owed themselves free access to Scriptures. Each believer has the right to exercise – by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - the gift to interpret the Scriptures and applies her in the personal life, sharing it in the community of faith. The Bible for people represented the hermeneutical upgrade that the Reformation caused for overcome official exclusive interpretations. This step was so important to eliminate the maintenance of dogmatism, fear, and the unique thought.

2. Luther fought against authoritarianism -

The power vector inside church was concentrated on Rome who ruled every matter in spiritual and secular fields. The conception of the divine power in its association with the infallibility were quite untouchable. There was not at least an idea of local Church in which, some autonomy and cultural particularities could respected. The role of the laity was absolutely disregarded. The Reformation contributes to give a more ecclesial perspective for Church, restoring the common priesthood of all believers.


What we see today through the ecclesiology defended by the conservative wing of the Communion is exactly the postulates for return to the authoritarianism and obscurantism.

The God’s Word is seen as a habits norm, moralist rule and untouchable. No one can apply other hermeneutic criteria. NO dialogue with Science, History or the life of believers. The Word of God does not talk with us, neither with our needs.

The second contradiction is the concentration of power. For result, I already affirmed previously, the matter belongs to centralization of power. Is the effort to impose a conservative hegemony who defines what it is right and what is wrong. Maintenance of dependence is the best way to manipulate consciences. A faith that can have no doubt.

The conservatives wish not an ecclesia (in the NT sense) but a sect, where the chiefs know the truth, detains the secret of the sacred deposit and imposes such mysteries to his followers.

The Anglican tradition has its roots also in the Reformation Movement. Scriptures as Frederic Maurice said, was not the last Word of God, but a start point that asks us, our life, and our reason to find the freedom. The Reformation was a fresh wave that brought to society a new scope of values, restoring the faith as a lived experience starting from inside, from the personal experience.

In this way, the comparison with Luther that some conservatives tried to do is quite offensive to the Luther’s memory. Sorry for that!

posted by Xico at 11:33 PM

Caminante, besides being an Episcopal priest in beautiful chilly chilly Vermont and walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela on a regular basis, is Canon Missioner of the Anglican Episcopal Church in El Salvador and a member of the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church. She attended the Executive Council's meeting in Dearborn, Michigan this fall and wrote about it here and here. (That second post is mostly photos.)

Xico attended the meeting and wrote about it here.

Earlier in the fall, Padre Mickey pointed his readers to this reflection by Padre Xico on the upcoming Lambeth meeting of Anglican bishops.

Padre Mickey also published this letter from Padre Xico. Among other things, Padre Xico said in the letter: In the light of the crisis that we are experiencing, I reaffirm my conviction that what divides the Anglican Communion today is not the view people have of sexuality or of rights of the homosexual. What divides the Communion is the dispute for power and control.


So, to quote the one Bible passage about which I tend toward literalism and fundamentalism:

Come... inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me... Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these... you did it to me. (from Matthew 25)

That there Gospel is not about power and control, yo!

I think Padre Xico would agree.

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