I would say greetings to some of you, anyway, in the name of our risen Lord and Saviour, but as you already exclude those I might have to exclude, I can indeed say greetings to you all.
I suppose if I was honest, I could say you are able to meet at any time of the year and you just happen to be meeting now. But to give it additional meaningless gloss I'll say that you are meeting in this most precious season of the Christian year - the Easter season and then the obvious point is Pentecost comes next, and that's when we can get out the bubbly.
In fact, to really up the bullshit, I can say I am delighted. I am delighted you are meeting now, subject to the remarks already made, and that I am delighted you are meeting at this time in our Communion. Why I should be delighted when the thing seems to be falling apart, in part due to your efforts and in part due to mine, I haven't the foggiest. But it sounds good and religiously good and that will do for now.
I want to comment on one or two things, and I wonder if you can guess what they are?
The final text of the Anglican Covenant has now been available for battling over for several months. As you know it's the fruit of long, careful, jockeying for positions; the fruit of a sustained attempt on the part of so many people to get one up on each other, to determine not only what it is that splits us apart in terms of fighting over scripture but also how we can humanly separate.
The text of the [Anglican] Covenant is a whole. Well I did chuck out section 4 to bring it back again, but there it is, and now people are fighting over whether it's the Standing Committee or whether it's the Primates that should be the boss. So it be and we let battles commence again. The Covenant sets out selectively the understanding you can have of the faith we seem unable to share, crumbling the foundations as the building itself falls down. The path it sets out for the future twists and turns, is tortuous and a mess, and you will meet all sorts of hobgoblins on the way. There is so much to shout about at each other and that has often been the way in the history of Christianity, via its disputes, splits and schisms as we prepare for yet another one. For a bit of further cover I might mention the Benedictine tradition in which that mutual listening and obedience to one another has been so crucial but seems to have no impact on anyone I deal with. Who knows what Jesus Christ would make of all this.
I am sure you will all be doing Bible study to find in it what you want to see, which is what we do anyway. And I could go on but I know you want me to get to the main gist.
Of course we are persisting on the need for a Covenant in the light of confusion, brokenness and tension within our Anglican family - a brokenness and a tension that has been made still more acute by recent decisions in some of our Provinces which will remain nameless in the case of Canada - oops - but you lot are really on to this election and consecration of Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles.
Some of us have problems with women as bishops, but when it comes to a lezzy that really does matter. That really does focus our attention. So there is the need for retribution, recriminations, more fights, division, and whatever else we can do, and I am in discussions about doing this despite the fact that I used to theologise in precisely the opposite direction. But you know me: I'm a weathervane for which way the wind blows, and at present you lot blow the hardest.
It is how we express the sense that most Anglicans will want to express, that this decision cannot speak for our common mind. I am obviously in touch with most Anglicans and know their one mind but what I really mean is this centralised construction I want is being built on the back of excluding lezzies and homos and those who give so many of us the visceral ick. I mean, just what do they get up to - it hardly bares mentioning and it matters not whether they are in stable relationships or jumping from one bed to another. This concerns us so greatly.
On the other hand, when I talk to other people, and they blow in the other direction, about how Anglicans feel, I then find it difficult to make any decision, but I do still ask the lezzies and homos to sacrifice themselves for my ambitions for a Communion to be like a Church, built on a fantasy of Catholicism and a fundamentalism of the scriptures. But don't worry, I'll intellectualise these approaches for you and make them look different from what they really are.
So let's gloss this up a bit too and say the Holy Spirit might descend on you and make you a little less like rabid dogs barking at those you don't like in all your prejudices wrapped up as theology, and for which I am forever having to nod my head like someone without principle. You might then just find a teeny weeny inkling of a broader horizon of God's purpose for us as Anglicans, for us as Christians, and indeed for us as human beings - but let's be realistic and suppose that we will still be excluding a few categories of course.
So happy Easter to you all and let's see if this nonsense persuades anyone any more, as we are in danger of losing all credibility. Did I say all? I am not usually as outlandish as that, except when it comes to those we should sacrifice on the march to a Greater Church.
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