Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Confusion about Anglican Terminology

Many Episcopalians just aren’t accustomed to thinking of themselves as part of the Anglican Communion. So as we deal with Archbishops and synods and so on, there’s often some confusion. You may have read about the importance of the Primates’ Meeting, and about how the Archbishop of Canterbury can’t decide what to do about the Episcopal Church until he consults with the primates, but you don’t really know what a primate is or what one looks like.

Well, here you are!

Tip o' the mitre to my friend ToeWalker for providing us with this nice visual aid.


Blogger anyone said...

What a racist pig you are. What, no pictures of Archbishop Akinola with a Hitler moustache either?

8/03/2006 6:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Actually, "Anyone," when I posted this, I had wanna-be-archbishops like +Duncan and wanna-be-bishops like Minns & that guy in Philadelphia more in mind. They're the hilarious ones. I'm sorry your mind went in another direction.

8/03/2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

Actually, Lisa, you are in good company. Spong's comments after the last Lambeth Conference were outrageously racist as they pertained to primates outside North America and the UK. Portraying non-"progressive" primates with whom you disagree as simians is therefore an honorable tradition in the dying Episcopal Church. It also means you are not held accountable as a racist since the old liberal/conservative double standard is always in play in these situations. Had a conservative mouthed the comments by Spong, he/she would have been burned at the stake.

8/03/2006 10:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Todd: HUH? I don't have a clue what you're talking about.

What were these comments that wacky Spong made after the last Lambeth Conference? Honest! I haven't a clue what you've talking about.

As to the rest of what you said, I think I already made it clear in my reply to "Anyone" that when I look at this picture, I see the stupid antics of wanna-be-archbishops like +Duncan and wanna-be-bishops like Minns & that guy in Philadelphia. They're white. I'm white.

What's your beef here?

8/03/2006 10:59 PM  
Blogger albion said...


Regarding your question to Todd, in a July 10, 1998 interview with Andrew Carey in the Church of England Newspaper, Mr Spong said, in reference to African Christians:

"They've moved out of animism into a very superstitious kind of Christianity. They've yet to face the intellectual revolution of Copernicus and Einstein that we've had to face in the developing world. That's just not on their radar screen."

He further said:

"I would rather they were Christians than animists even superstitious, fundamentalist Christians of a type I have primarily experienced in Africa."

Spong’s remarks, made during the 1998 Lambeth meeting, prompted one conference attendee to say they “only just [stopped] short of suggesting that they should return to the tree-tops whence they had come.” [

PS Come visit The Continuum sometime (

8/04/2006 5:19 AM  
Blogger Onesimus said...

I have no reason to doubt that you didnt mean the monkey photo to reference the African Archbishops. But Akinola and Orombi are the most well known of the Primates in regard to the subject matter for which the AOC is seeking counsel. When you make that connection, that is who a majority of your readers are going to think of. I am from the South, and the comparison of people with dark skin to monkeys has a long and very troubling history.

God loves you, but this is a mistake. I would encourage you to remove it.

8/04/2006 8:58 AM  
Blogger ... said...


The picture that seems to have folks' knickers in a twist is not a racist one. Actually, its part of the logo from a site called the Church of Groove, a loosely-knit, diverse, friendly group of people who yack in forum format about just about anything including politics, current events, religion, food, general silliness, favorite (insert category here) and really just about anything.

Lisa saw it on my page where I'd posted it in an entry about the good folk of the Church of Groove getting together to raise money for a local charity called "Cool Down St. Louis".

Given that the "Church of Groove" is nothing at all resembling a church, nor is it meant to be, the chimpanzee in a bishop's mitre is rather appropriate considering who hangs out there. We try not to take ourselves too seriously, we try to listen to other points of view in a friendly manner, allowing that none of us has all the answers.

Lisa's use of the graphic was a visual pun on the word "primate" and had absolutely nothing to do with race. The thought occurred to me that only one who is used to thinking along racist lines would have thought that in the first place.

All this to say: "chill out folks."

Stop reading into every little thing and looking for a fight where one doesn't exist. Try to develop a sense of humor, and in lieu of that, try to refrain from posting where you are unsure of the context.

[insert eye roll here]


8/04/2006 5:23 PM  
Blogger Cranmer49 said...

Chill out, indeed, anyone, todd, onesimus, and the rest of you. Racist pig? Pu-leeze. If you've been in the church for any amount of time you know that almost any time the word "primates" is used, smiles and chuckles occur. It's one of the most ridiculous self-identified titles that the bishops have put on themselves and if they had carefully thought this through, they would have realized how ridiculous a label it is. In fact I've seen a few group pictures of the primates with ape faces inserted for their real faces.

It has absolutely nothing to do with racism.You might consider the possibility that you're projecting your own racism onto Lisa.

Go play in Virtue-less's mud pile. Your language and accusations are much better suited to his so-called discussions.

8/04/2006 9:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Friends, I am hearing and paying attention to your discussion here. Yes, I do know that racism is real! and that we all have to confront the racist elements within ourselves. I'll ponder and respond this weekend.

8/05/2006 12:07 AM  
Blogger Saint Pat said...

Lisa, I love it! I saw the image over at MadPriest's and laugh every time I look at it.

When I was new to the Episcopal Church and unfamiliar with all the terminology, I almost blew my after-service coffee out my nose when I heard the word "primates" used to describe the heads of provinces. My mental image fit this one exactly -- a bunch of screaming chimps or gorillas running around with tall, pointy hats.

Not racist, just the effect of the word "primate" in the churchy context.

Still cracks me up.

Don't let the mean people get you down, Lisa. You have a great blog.

8/07/2006 6:40 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Whatever the intent of this picture, it sends a pretty ugly message about the poster's views, whether or not it was a completely raciist and derogatory allusion to the primates of Central and Northern Africa or of +Duncan, +Iker, etc. or anyone else for that matter. It is just plain nasty. There are far too many to whom this image and the one posted at Susan Russall's blog is incredibly upsetting and offensive. Whether you are liberal or conservative, a visual like this should never be on any board or blog ---conservative or liberal. I do hope you remove it.

10/07/2006 2:34 PM  
Blogger TM Lutas said...

Let's take protestations of innocence at face value and stipulate that the the picture's resemblence to "World Church of the Creator" propaganda was entirely unintentional. That sort of misses the point of "and then what". Most christians are not only supposed to act correctly but to try to lead others to God. This picture clearly creates ill feeling and controversy even if it is totally innocent. Is keeping it up really worth the offense it is obviously providing?

10/09/2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Tm Lutas, the only reason this silly little Photo-chopped image is giving offense is that the usual suspects are whipping up a frenzy, now 2 months after I posted it. You can look at who has linked to it to see the agenda at work. I thought it was funny then, and I still do. In fact, worldwide, many primates of the Anglican Communion have done an even better job of making monkeys of themselves in the two months since I posted this than they had before.

Beyond that, I would simply refer you to Cranmer49's comment just above.

10/09/2006 12:06 PM  

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