They Miss Us When We’re Gone After All. Sort of.

A few years back, I sat at a prayer breakfast next to a “continuing Anglican” bishop who stated that the liberals in TEC were actually glad that so many “reasserters” had left the church during the 1970’s and 1980’s (TEC had a substantial loss in membership in the wake of the 1960’s.)

Evidently the sentiment amongst the “reappraisers” (the Aussies, at least) at Lambeth is different:

First, all views should be represented. There is a continual gnawing at the bone that over a quarter of the bishops invited are not here. This has been raised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his welcome address, and Bishop de Chickera in the opening sermon. Archbishop Philip Aspinall commented on this at length in answer to a question at the opening press conference. His answer is illuminating.

He said in answer to a question: “I am greatly saddened by Archbishop Jensen’s decision not to come. Sydney comes from the evangelical tradition – a vital part – and that perspective will be weaker because they are not here. We will have to find other ways to engage that perspective. It will delay us. Other bishops have important things to say that they (the Sydney bishops) need to hear. There is sadness among us all.”

It is the long-term objective of any liberal group of people–and that especially includes LGBT ones such as Integrity–to gain control of established institutions. The absence of GAFCON bishops was a calculated risk: opting out of Lambeth certainly deprived them of a “seat at the table” (this one, at least,) but spared them being “gummed to death” by liberal groups which seek to add to their legitimacy by steamrolling their opponents and making it look like they have the assent of the entire group/institution (and the AC is something of both while not much of either right at the moment.) Looks like, up to now, that gamble is paying off.

But, IMO, the triumphalistic Americans will make the most of this. As my purple shirted breakfast partner noted, losing members in the six figures meant nothing; as an extension of that, what matter is a couple hundred bishops? They will use their absence to roll Lambeth’s “indaba” process into an asset for their “pansexual” agenda (to use David Virtue’s delightful term.) This would simplify formalising this agenda back home and perhaps strengthen their hold on the property by showing courts that the AC’s own idea is one and the same as theirs.

There are two casualties in this mess.

The first is the AC itself.

The second is the reputation of the country TEC claims to represent. Most TEC officials probably oppose the war in Iraq and would tell you that such adventures represent imperialism on every level. What foreigners are finding out is that Americans of all stripes are prone to a “my way or the highway” mentality, even when it would be in our own best interest to do otherwise. If this attitude crosses ideological lines, getting George Bush out of office may not be the improvement that many think it is.

A good place to start to repair our situation would be the church world, where humility is supposed to be a virtue. But don’t hold your breath.

Note: after I wrote this piece, I discovered that Tom Wright is thinking along the same lines. (Same Wright comments at Anglican Mainstream.)

One Reply to “They Miss Us When We’re Gone After All. Sort of.”

  1. One nice thing that could have come from having all the bishops there would have been: a vote of no confidence for the ABC, a vote of no confidence for Bishopess Kate of TEC, and a formal request that TEC withdraw from the AC. I mean, that’s not the same as kicking them out, which people think Lambeth can’t actually do, but it would still be a significant act.

    One thing that Lambeth could have done is demand that the Diocese of Canterbury announce that it is not in communion with any diocese of TEC. The ABC does have power, with the AB of York, to do that. TEC would then no longer be part of the Anglican Communion.

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