04 October 2012

New Primates

It appears that Ireland and Africa have not gotten the word that if one has elections, the best bishops will not be available. So, one assumes, England thinks the newly elected primates of Ireland and the Province of West Africa are not those church's best. Both churches recently elected new primates.Read it here.

The sort of illness that the English exhibit is contagious. It afflicted my own parish last January when properly nominated candidates for Vestry withdrew solely because there were other candidates! Imagine not having the nomination lead inevitably to a coronation -- how very gauche.

Elitism is sin. It begins with the assumption that some of us are inherently better than others. Whether it identifies those people by wealth, title, or professional advancement, does not matter. The assumption is the problem. Assigning moral value to the winners is simply wrong.

Do I tender greater moral authority to the new primates-elect because they have had to actually gain the support of their electors? I do. I think it matters, this placing of trust in the Spirit and the voters. It suggests that the candidate is willing to face the minds of at least some of those who will come under their authority.

When the English church voted down the, "Anglican Covenant," the issues around elitism shown bright. A small (23 original members which grow to about 30) group of progressive / liberal bloggers, intellectuals, and bishops set out to make the case against the document. We were called facists of all things, by one of Dr. Williams's staffers. I think he simply could not believe mere laity and clergy without the imperial arch-episcopal seal of approval would dare object. When we won, we did not hear from him.

Elitism is not unique to England. In America we might ask why only graduates from a very few law schools make it to the Circuit and Supreme courts. My hunch is that a fairly large number of such schools produce both competent lawyers and excellent scholars. The same disease seems to affect college admissions, Federal Reserve leadership, and the Episcopal House of Bishops. It is an American sin too.

Wherever it rears its ugly head, it is sin. We Americans are particularly hypocritical about it. We say, "all men are created equal," but we do not mean it. If nothing else the Brits get points for honesty. Go to one of the two acceptable seminaries or forget appointment, choose one of a handful of colleges or you are not gonna get the plum jobs. Even then, you will find those with less brains but more titles moving ahead of you. Yes, it happens here too, but we are less honest about it.

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