Friday, 15 February 2008

GAFCON Longs For Former Captain

The diminishing GAFCON rump have replied to the twenty one English bishops (who wrote to the GAFCON walkers-off and asked them to turn up at Lambeth 2008 so that in the course of the three week game of Anglican cricket they could turn the St Andrews' Draft Covenant into something madly evangelical).

The GAFCON group won't play cricket because their boundary crossing players are not recognised by the captain, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and can't be in the team, whilst all but one American can turn up and play. Unfortunately for GAFCON most others are going to play in the team and it is by no means clear how many playing in the Canterbury Eleven will end up playing in the Jerusalem team at all - that is if they even have a ground to play in and a fixture date because the local umpire does not want them there either.

Another objection is that there will be thirty - precisely? - activists in the crowd at the Kent ground focussing on these players if they were to turn up and play.

We are also mindful of the press interest in the Conference, and in the presence in some form or other of Gene Robinson and his male partner, and of 30 gay activists. We would be the continual target of activist campaigners and media intrusion. In these circumstances we could not feel at home.

One wonders if the thirty have tickets already.

Meanwhile in the sweet letter about why they won't play, they pitch it in terms of the rules of the game, and that only they and some others recognise the proper rules out of the almanac, and they mention the previous captain, George Carey.

In 1998, we had great difficulty in making our case heard in the face of the process of the conference. At that conference we were blessed with the leadership of Archbishop George Carey who has always been a champion of orthodox biblical teaching on sexuality. We have come to the conclusion, from the failure of the instruments of the Communion to take action either to discipline the Episcopal Church or to protect those who have asked the Communion for protection, that there is no serious space for those of an orthodox persuasion in the councils of the Communion to be themselves or to be taken seriously.

Given that these letters and other correspondence come about as a result of advice, from a variety of sources, one wonders which hot button was wanted to be pressed by mentioning his name. Let's cause a bit more trouble! This previous captain was something of a failure in charge of the team (though, set against his crass attempts at populism, no one understands the present captain's instructions, as he has to keep apologising to the team for "any unclarity" in where he places his team).

Many who comment on the 1998 game say that there was a late effort among the tail enders which resulted in quite an entry into the almanac, at section 1:10, and that these were heard all too clearly, in fact far too well. It is this section that the present captain calls 'The Mind of the Communion' despite the fact that it did not reflect the rest of the game. Despite this the GAFCON team think now that their players won't even be taken seriously. Presumably they do underarm bowling.

Meanwhile they claim that, although they will be playing at a different ground, among themselves, and according to distinctive rules, they are still somehow part of the bigger team, even though they will not play with it. Perhaps they long for a good game of cricket despite taking their bat away.

Update

On Thinking Anglicans Colin Coward makes a point I was reluctant to make on the assumption that surely these African primates don't have all their writing done for them. This was posted on Friday, 15 February 2008 at 9:43pm GMT

I'm going to make an assumption, which is that Chris Sugden is the author of this letter. Chris has been involved in every initiative of the global south secessionists of late and is masterminding the disastrous GAFCON event. This is a pilgrimage, according to some, and an alternative to Lambeth according to the statement issued by Henry Orombi of Uganda on Thursday.

Whatever, Chris is wrong about the numbers of LGBT people coming to the Lambeth Conference. At present, Changing Attitude and Integrity are expecting about 50 of us to be present.

The idea in my head though was only someone close to the British media would realise how this man presses a button, in that he had popped up during the Sharia controversy to effect of again undermining his successor. There is the additional possibility that he is booked for GAFCON and thus he will be used as a high profile figure in the weeks before Lambeth 2008. He would indeed attract loyalties relating back to 1998 when the resolution 1:10 was passed with him in the director's chair with this description of events from Bishop Richard Holloway:

18. The nadir of these developments was the 1998 Lambeth Conference. The Lambeth Conference, called by the Archbishop of Canterbury every ten years, brings together the Anglican bishops worldwide. Some of us were hopeful that the 1998 conference would establish a commission to examine the theological and moral status of homosexuals in our Church, and that this might lead to a healthy dialogue and improvement in way the Church dealt with the subject.

19. The move to a more open position was supported by some prominent and respected bishops, including the recently retired Archbishop of Capetown, Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Laureate and probably the most respected Anglican in the world.

20. The search for a compromise was defeated by coalition of dissident traditionalists from the USA, Africa and Asia. Worse, a resolution condemning homosexuality was passed. Worst of all was the tone of the debate, which was marred by booing, hissing, and insults. One bishop likened it to a Nuremberg rally. It was the most horrible experience of my life.

Carey may well be attracted to such publicity that using him in 2008 would achieve. But this use is consistent with the Trotskyist method - producing a figure around which others are attracted, drawing on the fond memories among some of a true revolutionary in times past, but ultimately whose head is chopped off at the appropriate moment should he ever be more than a figurehead for current purposes.

1 comment:

Tobias Haller said...

Continuing in cricket mode, might some in the GS actually be longing for another googly such as bowled by Carey? It was certainly a piece of fancy business for the umpire to bowl, no? Many have said that without his spin, things might have well ended up another way.