Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ding Dong

The Bishop of Rochester is Retiring

That’s the Bishop of Rochester (CoE), Michael Nazir-Ali. He’s leaving his post 10 years before the anticipated date of his retirement. As usual, Thinking Anglicans has all the news that’s fit to print (and some that isn’t) here and here.

The diocesan press release claims that he intends “to work with a number of church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure, particularly in minority situations, who have asked him to assist them with education and training for their particular situation.”

Let us consider Bishop Nazir-Ali’s legacy to the church. He’s been a vehement, often vitriolic opponent of anything related to LGBT issues. He’s issued one jeremiad after another against The Episcopal Church (U.S.). He’s issued scathing attacks against Muslims in England. He’s been a whole-hearted supporter of all the schismatic actions and border-crossings designed to undermine TEC. He viewed GAFCON as a gift from God.

For the life of me, I can’t muster up one ounce of regret at his resignation. Instead, I launched into a round of the Doxology: Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

I find it pretty ironic that he says he’s going to be a bridge-builder, after the bridges he has burned between Christians and Muslims. As one wag on one of the blogs suggested, perhaps Bishop Nazir-Ali will work with Archbishop Akinola – since both are so committed to reconciliation in a Gospel context. [Yeah, that was ironic.]

Ah … but the Archbishop of Canterbury is grieving. He said: “Bishop Michael’s decision to undertake this new and very challenging ministry will leave a real gap in the ranks of English bishops. [Emphasis added] His enormous theological skill, his specialist involvement in the complex debates around bioethics, his wide international experience and his clarity of mind and expression have made him a really valuable colleague, and he has served the Church and the wider society with dedication and distinction.
In his new work with churches in minority situations, he will need all our prayer and support. It is a courageous initiative and a timely one. I am personally very glad that I shall still be able to draw on his expertise and friendship, and wish him every strength and blessing in his work.”

Methinks Archbishop Rowan's nose is growing very long as a result of issuing that statement.

If Nazir-Ali's resignation leaves a gap, it's the sort of gap that is left by the removal of an abscessed tooth. There may be a gap, but the cessation of pain is a blessing for which one gives great thanks.

Of course, several of us operating from a hermeneutic of suspicion wonder what Bishop Nazir-Ali is really up to. He wouldn’t leave his post if he didn’t have something else up his sleeve, and I really cannot believe he simply wants to take up a servant ministry of offering education and training to church leaders from areas where the church is under pressure. I strongly suspect he intends to stick his nose into provinces where it is neither invited nor welcome.

Is he preparing to do for the Church of England what Bob Duncan & Co. (courtesy of the IRD and AAC) have done for The Episcopal Church? Does he want to become Archbishop of the Really, Really Pure Anglican Communion? [Word has it that he was miffed that +Rowan was chosen over him as ABC.] That’s my best guess.

Addendum: It will be worth your while to go read Nick Kniseley's commentary on this news. I envy Nick's intellect and temperament.


Blogger PseudoPiskie said...

It is difficult to avoid rejoicing at this news. It is difficult to not wonder what sort of mischief he will be up to now. I pray he will learn about God's love for all God's people before he does any more damage.

3/29/2009 5:26 PM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

¨I´m dancing as fast as I can¨...YIPPEE!

It´s hard to imagine exactly what ¨good¨ he will do...he´s not a ¨do gooder.¨

3/29/2009 7:24 PM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

I figure you are spot on --He's going Gafcon on English soil. It will be interesting to see how accommodating the CofE will be then....

3/29/2009 7:32 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Apologies for my delay in response. Other stuff came up.

Yes, I think this bears watching. And, like some of you, I must control my impulse to dance at his departure from the see of Rochester.

We shall see ...

3/31/2009 8:58 PM  
Blogger Cany said...

I'm with you, Lisa, on the doxology:) Humming away as I type this, in fact.

Pity the poor English folks we have among us. There is mischief in the air!

3/31/2009 9:30 PM  

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