26 May 2010

more on unity among the schismatic folk

I suspect my long suffering wife is tired of hearing my thoughts on this so you gentle readers are stuck. One of the great issues with running a schism is that a couple of well known phenomena appear.
  • One is the divorce effect. It is much easier to contemplate the second divorce. A person who has been through one knows the dance, knows the issues and knows they will survive.
  • Second is the lost enemy effect. Machiavelli observed, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." While he had a point, friendships forged of mutual enmity towards another are weak. If the third party falters, is defeated or walks away, the friendships often find no other sustaining energy.
With those two thoughts in mind, I offer you this quotation from Dr. Radner's recent post on "Anglican Communion Institute.
Instead, the gathering proved to be what every other Anglican gathering has been in the past decade: in addition to faithful witness and counsel, also a time for political maneuver, secretive changing of agendas at the last moment, North Americans coming in and grabbing the microphones and running meetings, disagreements over this and that strategy and doctrine. That a common communiqué emerged at rall was cause for surprise by the end; that it expressed little tangible except a shared dislike for Communion structures and for TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada was probably the most one could have predicted, which isn’t very much, let alone particularly edifying.

Even it appears when they are masquerading as R'wandans, Kenyans or Nigerians, North American straight white males want to be in control. Of course we liberal types have been claiming all along they are all about power and that the camouflage as Africans was not even skin deep.

(This paragraph reformatted to correct grammar errors.)Someone had been tipping 'friendly bloggers' that some sort of major event would happen at the Global South meeting. Supposedly the group was to endorse the now moribund Ridley Draft with an addenda requiring the standing committee be selected by and report to the primates. Some friendly blogs were already prepping supportive pieces. After the fateful forth day, nothing happened at that conference and we now have Dr. Radner's post.

Then we see AMiA moving away from ACNA. Among the partisans, one sees avery acrimonious exchanges between AC-NA and AMiA partisans. R'wanda now has more bishops in North America than in Africa. That leads me to wonder if they can actually favor a North American unity?

Over all, what I see is that at the precise moment Dr. Williams is so intent on beating the North Americans into compliance with his silly covenant idea to placate the schismatics, the schism is becoming the new continuum and therefor irrelevant as was the first continuum. Somehow that seems completely consistent with Dr. Williams' performance to date.



Erika Baker said...

No quibbles with your analysis. But the divorce effect could cut both ways.
As a divorcee who has instigated her own divorce I know that it was the right thing to have done, that I am now as happy as never before. But I also know that I will never ever go through that level of pain again nor put anyone else through it, and so I will address any failings in my current relationship much sooner and much more seriously than I used to.

Understanding the dance can make you more determined not to do it again.

It might have worked for the church too.

Maybe the key question is whether we believe that it is truly about a relationship, or whether it is only about ourselves.

JimB said...


I am not blaming divorced folks, merely using the analogy to the churches's relationships. Stats do suggest that divorced persons divorce more readily but I am sure it is not everyone.

I am sure many divorced persons would describe their reactions like you did. And I certainly did not mean to dismiss the pain many experience.

In the case of the first Continuum, what began in St. Louis as one unified, committed single holier than TEC church has spawned something over 40 fragmented and fragmenting units. If ACNA couldn't hold together for a year, it is on that road.


Erika Baker said...

Sorry! I didn't want to give the impression that I was looking for sympathy for divorcees.
It was more meant to be a realistic assessment of what divorce can be.

Like everything in life, you go through something hugely traumatic and it either makes you more sensitive or it hardens you.

The church had the chance to learn from the pain of schism and an unwillingness to see the other side. Sadly, it blew it.

And ACNA is definitely on route to further fragmentation.

Thinking on.... I suppose it always depends on the reason for the divorce. If you think you're a purist and everyone else who doesn't comply with your standards is failing and morally unsound, then you're not really the kind of person who can, ultimately, happily live with anyone else and you end up a loner.

Church isn't that different.

JimB said...

Erika, I did not think you were looking for sympathy. Not a problem. Looks like, after the papal bull(****) from Dr. Williams, that we are all going to learn about schism.



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