10 May 2009

Somethin happenin here

I am when I am employed, a very good business systems analyst. That is, I can look at what your business is doing, and what you want it to do, and re-design your processes and procedures, add a system element here and there and put you on the road. In the process, I produce design documents programmers and dba's can actually read and use. I mention that because spotting trends, analyzing the flow of activity is what I do. I am also an INFP for you Meyers – Briggs folks, so I tend to be very intuitive in doing analysis.

All of which leads me to observe and report a trend. Six active moderate to liberal bloggers and I have all published posts in the last few days touching on community. Interestingly to me at least, so have several conservatives who are generally on the 'other side of the aisle' on many issues. I am an analyst – there is something happening here.

I think I know what is going on.

First let me assure you that there is no conspiracy! If there was one, the author/priests probably would not invite some of the ruffians (moi) in! Certainly no one would expect the various activists on the edges to conspire together.

I think we are all reacting to what we saw in Jamaica. Dr. Noll has pronounced the 'covenant' dead. I and a fairly wide sampling of moderate to liberal sorts hope he is correct.

I think it likely that the process of reconsidering section 4 could take a while. Certainly it wont happen before the meeting of GC'09. Whatever is eventually done (and with Dr. Noll I think that wont be much) nothing will happen in time for this triennial cycle. If TEC is a key player in ratifying any document and it is, with timing that could not be more likely to produce a long delay, there will be a vacuum.

Which means that finally the long predicted disintegration of the Anglican Communion may be upon us. It is my view, based on my analysis of the public situation that it wont happen soon if at all. What I do think will happen is the descent of the formal structures into irrelevancy.

Consider that for a substantial area in Central Africa, the communion experiences irrelevance now. Archbishop Orombi was a duly certified member of the ACC. He had full voice and vote. He did not attend. Were these councils relevant to the life of the Ugandan church, its primate would use his voice and vote. The last Lambeth Conference experienced about 200 no-shows.

The conservative wing of the current conflict has actually sought irrelevance for TEC and ACCanada in particular but also for Canterbury. For all his self assured brilliance I am fairly confident the Archbishop of Canterbury does not get that. This is surprising as they have expressed their intent, if obliquely, publicly. In any case, they have planned and organized for irrelavance. Consider the alphabet soup of organizations, CANA, ACC, FCA, FIF, FIFNA and others already in place.

There is a picture here. Irrelevance for the so-called 'instruments of communion' means in conservative terms a need for new polities. Thus they are on offer as I write.

But, there is another side to this coin. Liberal / progressive sorts think in other terms. Late to the party certainly, they are beginning to think of what to do in a time of institutional irrelevance. The answers at least in early blogosphere writings: if not institutional communion then community.

I proposed on another blog (OCICBW) that a 'web' of diocese to diocese mission and sister diocese relationships can largely replace the “world wide Anglican communion.” Parish to parish sister church relationships can make these interlaced relationships function. If and only if an organization is needed for some specific purpose, creating a US corporation takes about 15 minutes (10 minutes in Illinois, 30 I am told, in California.)

We have TEC's relief and development organization and it is a very good one. Diocese involved in sister relationships assisting other provinces' diocese offers a fine way to make needs known. A provincial structure like the WWAC adds little besides overhead. Some of the parishes and diocese have or a group of them together possess the resources needed for conferences and symposia.

In many ways, the centralization is about government. As Mad Priest observed in one of the posts that prompted this one, sometimes the best answer to excessive conflict is more liberty. There is nothing that stops provincial sister church relationships. In fact, Canada, the USA, Mexico and Cuba (in spite of America's rather silly secular politics) have such a relationship now.

I suspect the formal trappings of the WWAC will live on in irrelevance. After all, what else is there for an Archbishop of Canterbury to do but preside at the meetings? I expect the example of Archbishop Orambi to gain traction. Member provinces will evaluate the relevance of the particular event and decide whether or not to attend. No one will treat the communion as a polity.

That is how I expect the community to evolve. On the other hand my record is not perfect, and anyone who has raised teenagers has been told he can err. None-the-less this feels about right.

As I observed in my last post, community is hard work. Community requires shared work, shared struggle and eventually shared trust. Structures are actually easier: the hard work is done by the lawyers.

This time, this coming era, is going to be about community. Our right wing siblings will create structures and exclude us from them. We have other things to do and we will I hope continue to invite them to those things. It is community's time.

FWIW
jimB

14 comments:

Leonardo Ricardo said...

Thank you Jim.

My history, personal and job, has to do with instincts. As a retail buyer, a marketing executive and later as a product development person I was very much a instinct driven person...my few markdowns as a buyer, my understanding of product acceptance and my ability to development product to fill needs that weren´t apparent (mostly) were my strongpoints. Naturally I needed to use accepted business standards/form for guides for all those detailed plans and later, all those helpful histories...but instincts, instead of known fact have usually made me successful...my ¨feelings¨ are keen. I´ve been reading your comments elsewhere these past days/daze...it became apparent to me and others that, in fact, the concern for RAILROADING the COVENANT (and other related punishment devices) was REAL! I immediately realized that all this plotting and striving and strident hard selling was exposing what I had feared most...I COULDN´T TRUST the value of the message, nor some of the leadership messagers, at The Anglican Communion/Anglican Cosultative Council. I couldn´t play PRETEND anymore. REALITY set in (and I was a doubter to begin with)...and it wasn´t spiritually healthy. How could this be?

Yes. Others will ¨do¨ what they have threatened to do. They may be able to generate enough steam to pull it off but it doesn´t matter one fig to us...no, not in the end. We will be strengthened by the clean cut. We will proceed to be able to carry a message of hope (and hopefully help) to those who suffer...we offer stability and we have earned TRUST.

We are Trustworthy.

That´s what my instincts, feelings and sensibilities tell me.

I wish you well as you continue to look for a new job...blessings to you and yours.

Leonardo Ricardo

Jim said...

Leonardo,

I think we are about to see a function of the emerging church. Webs replace structures. I am ok with that -- conservatives find it difficult.

If one thing is truly'shown by history' it is that standing in the way of paradigm shift leaves a person or movement prone with tire tracks. I hope we learn and move on to do the ministry we should be doing.

Thanks for the good wishes!

FWIW
jimB

Anonymous said...

Jim,
your analysis is similar to the Gafcon view. The meetings (ACC, Primates, Lambeth) are becoming less relevent and a new web of relationships needs to be built. That is why the Gafcon conference was held. It was always likely that some progressives would take the same view and work on their network/s too.
Leonardo,
Some on the opposite wing to you hope for a clean cut. But I think Jim's vision of organic and informal networks will mean it doesnt happen that way.

John Sandeman/ Obadiah slope

Jim said...

Obadiah,

I know. And while I disagree with their theology, tactics and solution (new provinces, archbishops and structures) they are not wrong about everything. ;-) I think it is clear that for many reasons including some of their actions and simply the way the increasingly flat world now works; the right word really is irrelevance.

In our flat, communications driven world, webs, short term relationships; not new and improved primates, additional archbishops (Bob Duncan???) and yet another denomination fulfill the needs.

I think it was Thomas J. Peters of "In Search of Excellence" fame who coined the term 'finicky systems.' His idea was that business in rapidly changing world markets simply cannot afford the traditional 'systems development life cycle.' They need systems that can form and re-form NOW. In the business intelligence and dimensional modeling work I do (when I am working ;-() the finicky system is precisely what I provide information to design and develop.


It is that world that the future holds, even for the Anglican Communion.

Provincial structures need to both address the way their cultures change - they all do, and represent the culture to the flat world. What they need are affinity groups and the ability to reach out for resources. What they do not need in my view and what in North America CANA / GafCon / FCA seems determined to give them is more canon law and more clerical dominance.

Have your encountered my friend Robin Jordan's analysis of the "proposed" CANA constitution? It is of course not 'proposed' in any real sense it is a take it or go to hell (literally) document. It is also so authoritarian and so clergy bound it could have originated in Rome. Robin has been shredding it and I think he is making excellent points.



FWIW
jimB

Anonymous said...

Jim,
I think there are cogent criticisms that can be made of the ACNA constitution. For example, I prefer our Australian system which gives a high degree of autonomy to the dioceses. So much so that I don't think we could sign the covenant without each diocese voting on it.
(Which is one reason why a "dioceses can't vote on the covenant" proposal is problematic.)
However, I am not sure that someone from a province that appears to be turning a Presiding Bishop into a Metropolitan can argue for flt structures without a rueful grimace or two.
John Sandeman / Obadiah Slope

Jim said...

Hmmm..... I wont say that I am a fan of the presiding bishop. Her willingness to send someone else to what she calls, "a crucified place" is not my idea of moral leadership. And just today she ducked the idea of formally repealing B033. In my view that is simply wrong. I know my friends in Integrity's leadership will take the idea of passing a new 'positive' resolution and try to run with it but I am free to both support that effort and find the leadership morally damaged goods.

That typed ;-) It is not fair I think to say she or we are seeking to elevate the PB office. Far from it. If you want to see metropolitans and archbishops in profusion you need only look to the 'continuim' and the various intrusive acts like CANA.

The proposed constitution if Robin's critique is correct and I think it is, creates a curial level of power for a few leaders, all primates or 'archbishops' TEC has and is evolving no equivalent.

The actions involving determining that some schism minded bishops have abandoned this church are actually canonical ans supported by the HoB and executive committee. No one is letting the PB act alone.

To hear the authors on several right wing blogs tell it, the PB with her lawyer/familiar are committing witch craft. That simply is not true. It is perhaps relevant in evaluating their posts to remember they still think the Queen can order AB Williams around. ;;sigh;;

Thanks for the comment. I think we can agree on the CANA constitution or at least parts of it. Have you read Robin's comments? He actually cares a lot about the subject as leaving the dust off his sandals as far as TEC is concerned is important to him.

FWIW
jimB

Anonymous said...

Jim,
I am not a fan of the ACNA constitution. It is not properly Synodical, giving all real power to the Bishops.
A sympathetic reading of it, however, is that it is a temporary arrangement, attempting to weld together seperate jurisdictions.
If ACNA is to hold together, unlike the 1979 continuers a tight centralised structure may be needed.
John Sandeman / Obadiah Slope

Jim said...

John,

The consistent history of mutinies is that they fail after they choose temporary leaders and invest in them power because they have to hold together. Bob Duncan seems to think God has chosen him to make others behave. That is a scary belief in anyone but particularly in a bishop. Lest we forget ABp Laud had similar beliefs.

FWIW
jimB

Grandmère Mimi said...

Jim, I believe that your estimation of a move away from structures to community may well be correct. Adrian Worsfold (Pluralist) also said in an essay at the Episcopal Cafè that instead of tightening the reins, the ABC should be loosening them. I think that's right, too. To mix metaphors, at the moment I liken Rowan's attempt to increase central authority to trying to herd cats. Ain't gonna happen.

Jim said...

No it is no gonna happen. The ABC is I am told a formidable intellect but as a team leader he lacks basic skills.

FWIW
jimB

Grandmère Mimi said...

For what purpose does the ABC use his formidable intellect? Oh, that's right. He's writing a book on Dostoyevsky. What can I say? Nothing wrong with Dostoyevsky.

Tracie the Red said...

My dear Jim, may I take a brief moment to ask about the prayer beads shown in your profile pic? They are lovely! Who made them? They look a bit different than the ones I make; do you have a larger picture I could see? I'd like to learn the technique used in making that rosary. Thank you!

Jim said...

Mimi,

I did not say he had any sense! My son read his last book. He is not all that impressed with the alleged intellect. ;-)

FWIW
jimB

Jim said...

Tracie,

Of course.

I made it. I have worked out my own style. If you like I can send you some additional pictures. I have 4 or 5 on hand ranging from the blue marble stone ones in my icon to red glass and even wood.

FWIW
jimB

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