Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reality Dawns

Since the Lambeth Conference began, my time has been at a premium and I've mostly been reading reports from those on "my side of the aisle."

The stories I'm reading suggest that the bishops are having a holy, quiet time in the Lambeth Conference. I am pleased, deeply pleased for them. I am profoundly grateful to see the bishops are behaving like bishops and not like spinmeisters and politicians. I'm enjoying the few bits that my own bishop is writing.

This morning I made time to read some from the "other side of the aisle."

As I read more and more of the bishops writing about the holiness and groundedness of this time, I was rather disgusted (though not surprised) that the FOCAs tried to dump a turd into the punchbowl with one of their typically hysterical and warmongering statements. You can read it here, if you care. But I think it's more and more clear that their rantings are irrelevant. You don't get to guide a meeting that you boycott. Poor, self-righteous dears. I wish they had come to Lambeth and had engaged with their brother and sister bishops. But, of course, they said a long time ago that they dare not associate with those 600+ heretics.

Thinking Anglicans is posting reports from Bishop David Walker. I'm appreciating his reports, each one concluding with the "high point" and "low point" of the day. Here's what he posted Friday:

Highlight of the day: being given an invite to a drinks party hosted by Jack Iker tomorrow. Perhaps this really is engagement across the fault-lines. I felt touched, honoured, and minded to go listen.
Lowlight of the day: 2 minutes later being told the invites were only meant to be given to “sympathetic” bishops. But hey, I do sympathy really well, perhaps I am invited after all.
I think that's pitiful and pitiable. By contrast, the "fringe" events being sponsored by Integrity et al are broadly open to all. What is it that Jesus said about "What's done in secret …"?

But the more I read, the more I get the sense that a sad reality is slowly dawning on those who like to call themselves "reasserters" or "orthodox."

I was strangely sad to read this from Cherie Wetzel of Anglicans United:

Some would say there was little reason for optimism. We learned yesterday that The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield’s invitation was withdrawn last week, as were the invitations of two bishops from Recife, Brazil. All three are now under the Most Rev. Greg Venables of the Southern Cone. It seems that they, like the “irregularly consecrated bishops of CANA and the AMiA” in the states, will not be recognized. This leaves little doubt about the future for other clergy and bishops who leave TEC and hope to remain part of the Communion. It looks like any intervention into another Province will be denied acceptance, be they priests, parishes or dioceses transferring to a foreign bishop. Those whose only desire was to remain Anglican within the Communion now stand outside those vast boundaries.
She and her likeminded friends have hunkered down together in Canterbury. I gather she (and perhaps some others?) envy the organized presence of those on "my side of the aisle," as she writes:

Our planning for these events may look amateurish when compared to the elaborate plans and opportunities for free food and discussion provided by Integrity, Claim the Blessing and the Lesbian/Gay Christian Movement. These folks are here in full force, and are running some type of informational event every day.
I sense a bit of sadness from Our Worthy Opponents. They have tried, tried very hard to be sure this Lambeth Conference was as boisterous, venomous, and political as the 1998 Lambeth Conference. From what I read, they have failed to politicize this event. So far, at least, it seems that the Lambeth Design Group's plan is holding.

It seems the light is beginning to dawn – at least for Cherie Wetzel – that those who behaved so deplorably in a misguided effort to "remain Anglican" have missed the boat. Even several of the conservative friends of the FOCAs (such as Bishop N. T. Wright of Durham) have finally decried the actions of the GAFCon/FOCA initiative of Nigeria, Kenya, Sydney, etc.

To Anglicans United, and the AAC and the IRD and the CCP and the ACN and FIFNA and the FOCAs and all those alphabet-soup dissenters, I would say: "Come home." I would like to see all of them beat their swords into plowshares and come home, study the Scriptures with us, and create an even new and better (not narrower) Anglican Communion.

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