02 February 2010

Timing is everything -- it is also revealing.

There is an old joke that tells the story of an older Irish priest who had a new curate assigned to him.  The first Sunday after welcoming the younger and much more educated priest to parish the old man preached a rousing sermon on what Jesus required of each member family in the way of stewardship.  The young priest listened attentively and said nothing until after shaking hands with the departing parishioners he and the rector retired to the sacristy to change to street clothes.  As they removed their vestments he said, "Umm,  Father, I listened to your homily with great interest.  I think you made some valid points but I must tell you that Jesus did not say those things!"

The rector replied, " Now hush my boy!  He would have had he all the facts!"

Reading the recent postings around Bp Anis's resignation from an entity styled the, "standing committee of the Anglican Communion," I thought of that story.  

Since the late 1980's, I can recall the ongoing search by the self-identified, "orthodox" for a sympathetic jurisdiction.  When the court to try a bishop would not convict Bp. Richter, conservatives sought some sort of action from Lambeth 98 and then when that failed, we had the invention of the "instruments of communion" and various attempts to get one or more to land all over TEC and AC Canada.  

After the election and consecration of +Robinson, the next step was the creation of the Windsor Commission.  The outraged and anguished response of Archbishop Akinola to the Windsor report is iconic.  He expected that finally someone would listen to God (and him.)  I think his anger was completely unfeigned -- he really expected the report to create a pure communion without the  Episcopal  and Canadian Churches.  

So now we have the apparent recognition that the new "covenant based" standing committee won't be the jurisdiction that finally slaps down the West.  In fact the  resignation letter is clearly an expression of disappointment.    

Accompanying for all practical purposes the bishop's letter is a screed from Four Egos and a Blog, the incredibly pretentiously named, "Anglican Communion Institute, Inc."  These four have taken it upon themselves in a clearly co-ordinated publication (there is reason to wonder if the resignation was not staged to facilitate the paper) to explain what is wrong with the standing committee.

A common American proverb observes that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.  The egos have one thing right.  No one outside the standing committee except perhaps Dr. Williams, in an unofficial role, has approved of the creation of a standing committee of the Anglican Communion.   Someone, they and I suspect Dr. Williams, is attempting to play, "facts on the ground."  

The proposed "Covenant" contemplates a "Standing Committee of the Communion" which is the center-point of its (deeply flawed) section four.  That section deals with admission of new members and determining that a province or group of provinces have acted inappropriately.   So, presto! here is that committee and it just happens that Dr. Williams has controlled who is on it. The egos are upset.

But they go on to suggest that someone should take over the implementation of the Covenant, presumably we know of four possible candidates.  And in the process, a new standing committee, independent of but superior to the Anglican Consultative Council and Dr. Williams should determine who the non-American, non-Canadian and non-Scot members in communion may be.  I bet I know four names they have in mind for that committee, no actually, I know of five.  

So what have we here?" We have four people who can apparently manipulate a bishop.  We have five homophobes.   


The more things change the more they stay the same.  Which is a third old story and enough for one night.



Rick+ said...

     It's good to see people aren't taking this seriously, but are seeing through the reactionary smoke and mirrors!

JimB said...

Fr. Rick, what troubles me is that at least some people do take it seriously. I think the communion, this communion, is broken. AC-NA, Nigeria and Uganda inter alia have said too much and gone too far. Now the question is do we put together a new and better thing? I hope so.


Rick+ said...

     I suspect we will continue as we have with "bonds of affection" - no one can take that away. The Church of England and the Episcopal church existed long before the "Anglican Communion" was officially recognized and will continue to do so.

          Rick (just Rick)

plsdeacon said...


What has happened to you? I don't remember you throwing around words like "homophobe" before.

I don't know if you ever met or talked to +Anis. I had the privilege of meeting him and talking to him for a few minutes. He is not one to be manipulated - thus this resignation from the Standing Committee. He felt the entire process was being manipulated by the ACO.

The "four egos and a blog" are all respected men within the Anglican Communion. They have been very clear that they are working within their respective jurisdictions to rebuild the Anglican Communion.

As evidence that this whole mess is not of the Holy Spirit, I ask you to look at the anger and division and strife and party spirit that has come from all sides of this sad affair. Look at how angry you, yourself, have become.

You have put yourself into the role of the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son. You no longer see your opponents in this debate as human beings, but regard them as "four egos." You seem to think that only conservatives manipulate foreign bishops and that there is no manipulation on the progressive side.

Please, my brother, stop debating personalities and start debating issues. Please recognize that your opponents in this argument are human beings for whom Christ died and whom he commands you to love more than yourself or your anger.

Phil Snyder

JimB said...


I will drop "homophobe" when they stop the conduct. It is a fair descriptive in my view.

I am far from the only blogger or commenter (see the un--quotable board) who has noted that they just happened to have several thousand hostile words handy when the resignation was announced. It is clear to me at least that this was coordinated.

And yes, I have met the bishop. He is transcendently bright and faithful. I think he is also a bit naive and that he is being exploited by the same cynical IRD types that have unleashed judicial murder in central Africa. I have been wrong before but that is my opinion.

Sorry, but I think they did what I wrote -- there was a coordinated effort and they are involved in a search for a jurisdiction real or imagined (Windsor compliant for instance) that will affirm their views of what God clearly should be doing. How dose one square that with the idea that when we pray for guidance we get it even if we loose?


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