Wednesday, 25 April 2012

GAFCONK Cookbook

Leadership Conference, London 2012 of GAFCONK/ FCAFF

Archbishop El Cid Wahahbalula
Chairman’s keynote address
Monday 23rd at St Marks Battersea Drop

A Global Communion for the sixteenth Century:

Praise the Lard!

Now it is so good to be with you all once again as we gather from over thirty countries to do some plotting in our quest to grab the steering wheel of the Anglican Communion. What a joy this is. We are indeed a global communion for the sixteenth [16] century.

The Lard is going to lead us and give its guidance in getting a bit more slippery in how we overcome the continuing crisis which afflicts our Communion. I want to flame my address with some words of recipe which I believe are a particular word from the Lard for us right now.

To get a bit hard I am going to refer to the profit Formica®, a High Pressure Laminate (HPL) manufactured through fusing multiple layers of impregnated kraft paper under high pressure and temperature to create a hard wearing, durable and hygienic surfacing material.

This will give us something really solid to work on as we design our next steps for everyone else.

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what recipe is required of you?
To fill jugly and measure Percy
And get your peas out of your pod.

What's the recipe today Jim?

This is the greatest question facing us this week. We know the will of the Lard, because they don't and we do. God does not play games with us - no he cooks. He is the big recipe mango in the sky. It's not about our ingenuity or imagination, although it is. He does not play games with us. He cooks through the scriptures of recipes. We just obey ourselves and start cooking Let's see those red tomatoes held high.

What does the Lard require? Basically, some more familiar recipes. Go to the supermarket and buy some predictable and familiar lines.

I want a pound of sugar, a quarter of tea, some carrots for Mrs Bunny,
And something extra special for tea, a great big pot of honey.
Some jars of jam, some slices of ham,
A doughnut and a bun,
And a great big packet of Ricicles
Is sure to be lots of fun!

We can then trot them out. Cooking is not escapism, but facing things as they are in the confidence that God will act. The crisis we face is also an opportunity knocking. Eat your greens, Hughie. The orange can be traced back many years. The unprecedented challenges to Anglican identity forced upon us by the revisionist cookbooks mean an historic opportunity to rediscover the distinctive sixteenth century Anglican Reformers and their grub.

God will choose his own time, but we will help him along by giving history a push. An modern oven speeds just things up or use a log fire.

We cannot treat this as simply an institutional crisis. The breakdown of the existing governance structures of the Anglican Communion is a symptom of a deeper problem. The recipe we have been given simply doesn't hold the pudding together. And the first course is a mess. The Anglican pottage no longer commands confidence. Yucky dick.

If it were merely an institutional problem - the knives, forks and spoons - then we would have expected that the heavy investment made in Anglican Covenant would have brought a resolution. The Anglican Covenant was "Fatally flawed!" It had become clear that it was little more than a form of words to disguise conflict rather than resolve it. But the liberals saw that off, and let's give them the glory. So  now with the rejection of the Covenant, even in the Church of England itself, there's no more just messing with the spoons and forks - you've got to get the ingredients right. The heart of the crisis we face is not institutional, but spiritual.

Formica can ask ‘what does the Lard require?’ It requires better ingredients. Am I making myself clear? Is the washing up done?

Remember 1998 when a minority including Rowan Tree tried to represent a minority view, to bend the word of God to fit the fashionable ideas of their cultural context when they should have bent to our cultural context?

That's where it went wrong - tolerating minorities. Their strategy has been to continue dialogue endlessly in order to wear down resistance while all the time pursuing their self determined mandate of radical inclusion. They want us to use our intelligence to extract ‘deeper truths’ of God’s revelation concealed below the words themselves, and that will never do. We want to use the stupid route of reading off the ink of the page. If it says 'half a pound of tuppenny rice', that is what it means.

Translating into different languages never alters meanings, does it? And what's all this grammar of obedience tripe? Search me. The ‘grammar of obedience’ is a theological Trojan horse for profound disobedience. It produces undercooked grub.

When we met in Jerusalem we were able to have a small committee in a back room of conservatives who produced a text for everyone to sing about and get cooking. Compare that with Lambeth 2008 which was all talk talk talk like where can you find the toilets to wash your hands. No shared mind and no attempt to resolve the substance of the fundamental doctrinal and ethical differences which have been so destructive to our uniformity. Back to Mrs Beeton, that's what we say. And Delia Smith is about the only revision we'll accept.

In Jerusalem we got cooking, including on the mountain top. But we have to come down from the mountain top to actually eat the grub. Formica lets us do this and we will: it is not a matter of following our subjective dreams and feelings, but being true to the views concocted in previous centuries to which we give priority - let the sixteenth century reign again!

This for me is a personal truth and so there is mine and then yours and yours and so on. It is these qualities that we need to animate our Global fellowship as we move forward together. As a powerful movement of renewal and transformation for that is what we are.

OK, we have been a bit slow. We did set up a rival Church in America - a bit of a messy dog's dinner we admit. Last year, it became clear that provision need to be made for England too. The Anglican Mission in England was formed. It'll be a bit tricky stealing the family silver tea service in England, but we can think of a few dioceses where churches might ignore the incumbent bishop. Chuck us out we dare you!

We mustn't get infected too much by cynicism and pragmatism that can creep in when issues of power and influence are at stake. Being a Religious Trotskyite though does need a bit of deviousness. But as well as being vigorous with the spoon we can be kind when we use it to tap people on the head.

We are not setting ourselves up above the recipes, but recognise that the food finds us and there are lots of varied recipes around the world. So what is the recipe today Jim?

1. The northern cookbook should now be replaced by the southern cookbook, and spread a few seeds into the mix. We will decide not just the recipes but who controls the cookbook and who operates the oven.

2. We should open some bottles of wine and put them in a new wineskin. This will give us a bit of a tipple. We can build a new wine cellar and call it after the old one. We then control all the wine.

3. We must resist the temptation to be lazy. We have to do the theological heavy lifting so essential to get the food into and out of the oven. Don't forget to use oven gloves or a thick cloth folded over. The food has to be good old sixteenth century fayre, nourished by biblical recipe teaching straight off the page. Equally we need our own cooks, chosen by us, from our cookery colleges, otherwise we'll just have more secular ideologies shaping liberal and revisionist fast food from the other cooking colleges.

Don't forget the big cook-in in 2013.

Meanwhile let's hope we get a godly leader of God's people for the next Archbishop of Canterbury. After all, not all the candidates are godly. If we don't approve, we won't accept it. We'll try to elect a chairman anyway, for the Primates Meeting, run from our special Primates Council.

No comments: