Saturday, November 24, 2007

Responses to the Report of the Joint Standing Committee

Oh, looky. Archbishop Rowan sent a little giftie to the Episcopal Church on the U.S. Thanksgiving Day. (Reckon he thought we wouldn't notice it while we were gorging on turkey and dressing?)

The Response of the Primates of the Anglican Communion and Members of the Anglican Consultative Council to the Report of the Joint Standing Committee is here in HTML format. There's a PDF version that's easier to read.

I've given it a cursory read. It's not as bad as I might have expected.

Only 10 primates give us a thumbs-down. According to the report, all 10 are from the "Global South"; no surprise there. 12 primates give us a thumbs-up. Twelve primates didn't reply. Hmmmm ...

I'm particularly encouraged by the ACC members' responses. Of the few who responded, many express concern about the primates' power-grab.

Several of the respondents note that TEC has been subjected to an unprecedented intrusion in our provincial life. I have no doubt that, had the Anglican Communion tried to dictate terms to the Anglican church in Nigeria or Uganda, there would have been a huge outcry. But at least a few respondents observed that the attack on the Episcopal Chuch is unprecendented and unconscionable.

And I observe that only two of the primates repeated that hackneyed suggestion that Lambeth should be cancelled because there's dissension within the Communion. {Yawn!}

The Admiral of Morality seems to have read it about the same way I have. Check out his analysis.

BTW, the Bullies on Viagra are very unhappy. I was especially struck by Stephen Noll's claim that the lack of TEC-bashing is because the Global South was too backward to respond. He writes:

People in non-Western cultures are not quick or savvy in responding to questionnaires. Communication, to be sure, has improved, but it does not surprise me that 12 Primates, mainly from the Global South, did not respond on time. Furthermore, they prefer to make decisions on a face-to-face and corporate basis.
He makes this claim despite the clear fact that the report itself says [page 2, point 5.b of the PDF] regarding the 10 negative responses: "All of the Provinces that have responded negatively to the conclusions of the JSC Report belong to the Global South alliance." Noll is nominally a TEC priest, canonically resident in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, now teaching theology in Uganda. Am I the only one who hears his comment as more than a little bit racist?? "Those poor Africans can't answer the Archbishop's request, though they have no trouble sounding their trumpets." Uh-huh.

I think it was back in February, in a report presented to the primates at Dar, that somebody characterized the state of the Anglican Communion that 1/3 were clearly supportive of TEC, 1/3 were totally and adamantly opposed to our actions, and 1/3 might have objections but didn't see it as a communion-breaking issue. It seems to me that this report says absolutely nothing has changed. So what now? We are no closer to consensus than we were a year ago. Those who hated us still hate us. Those who supported us still support us. Those who just want to get on with it still feel the same.

Here's how it looks to me: About 2/3 of the churches in the Anglican Communion are willing to keep walking and praying and worshipping and discerning together. A dogmatic 1/3 – along with some of their North American allies – have had it, and are going their own way. That little, vocal minority will continue to scream, "We didn't leave! You left us!!" while they walk away. Yeah, right. Whatever. As that Kaeton woman says, "Dead wood splinters." Let 'em.

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