Saturday, 14 April 2012

Wild West Anglicanism (Flog the Dead Horse)

Crumb Newsletter

Knowing your Opposition and Avoiding their Arguments

by Stephen Kuhrtsey

One of the fascinating things about being in a small band of brothers is when you have to circle them wagons because you are being shot at from all sides, but then if we are right we keep shooting no matter what the defeat. If the one horse is dead, keep flogging it. It may just get up and walk, and bison may fly.

On the one side are the fundies, and on the other side the liberals, both in the same C in E here out West. The attacks on us can even be on the same day, from both ends of the valley, and it ain't always pleasant to be shot at, though we enjoy the shootin'!

But as I say to my colleagues, friends, rivals and careerists in the camp, if we is being shot at both ends, we must be right and that's one strange degree o' reassurance.

But, hey, ain't those shooting at us on one side supposed to be evangelicals? We said ourselves to that there Archsheriff, we are gonna defend your Covenant, because we dream in terms of empires and the whole spread out land, and not just the bit of it we are left on. And what those other evangelical fundies have done is give the Archsheriff no more than extremely lukewarm support, and they're just gettin' like them liberals who are always against the Archsheriff. After all, they once saw him as one of their tribe but then he came over to ours (or we came over to his, as that's where the hierarchical gold will be found).

Actually, I remember the Mayor of that small learning town Wycliffe, years back, when he said that to get to the main enemy of them liberals you gotta first shoot them liberal evangelicals, by which he meant us; though we ain't no liberals, so we should expect his lot to come down the mountain with all guns blazin' and shootin' at us.

Now the Archsheriff, he said that the Covenant would regulate Anglican chapels' affairs at the centre via a long talking-shop procedure, by which one chapel would fall in with the concerns of another chapel. In other words, if one chapel innovated some funny sentiments, then the others could slow it down by complaining to him and his instruments in office. That was a real pressure on them liberals. But at the same time, the Archsheriff said there was no punishment, punitiveness, and the offendin' chapel could carry on if it really wanted to, but that was no good for them other fundies who wanted to have some real sanctions and not some kind of a talking-shop as they were saying.

So that puzzles me. I mean no one I know on either side has yet been able to say how 'a centralising strait jacket that will impair freedom and innovation' can simultaneously be 'a toothless proposal designed to produce constant dialogue and no action'. The Covenant cannot be both but whilst many liberals have presented it as the former, many conservative evangelicals have presented it as the latter. Gee up.

Of course it might have something to do with how the Archsheriff and his officials presents his case, but outa loyalty I would never say such a thing.

If you stand in the middle of the new main street in the main town, don't be surprised if the stage coach going one way hits you followed by the posse racing by in the other direction.

Now that there retired Deputy Sheriff - the man who was on the inside track of the Archsheriff and consistently said about but failed to predict what was coming along: well he gives us an insight what it's all about. Yeah did.

From up there in the Canadian forests, where he now lives among a group of remote writers, and still writin' an' sellin' them books, our own New Testament Wrong says both liberals and fundies have treated the Ephesian and Colossian Indians' myths the same. The liberals say they are not myths originating with Big Chief Paul, so treat them with sceptics' sauce, but the fundies who'd never say that about their origins still prefered the myths of the Romans and Galatian Indians. Ex-Deputy Sheriff NewT says we should take account of all of their recreation stories and you can't neglect them of Ephesian and Colossian Injuns when it comes to making up the magic book.

And we who circle our wagons: we don't neglect them stories because that ex-Deputy Sheriff is one of ours. But he's gone away now and we can only read his words when up for sale. Yup. The old Deputy Sheriff who once said "Hang them liberals way out West" and also "But buy my books before we noose you" has gone rather quiet on us.

We think these liberals are confederates and nothing more, whereas we support the building of a new federal government with a strong centre and subsidiarity on just cultural and lesser things. Yup, so, though we'd avoid a Civil War (despite the fact we've got one!). And regardless of all sorts of statements from them fundies, who'd put the heretics into a rigid arm lock, throw them in jail and lose the keys: the fact that they're into some form of DIY when it comes to these chapels suggests they're pretty much in the same game. They play poker with a marked pack. They'd run their own learning towns, courts, jails, sheriff offices and the lot and bring in their own sheriffs. Or at least do so to make their policies and keep control while infiltrating our chapels as much as they can. They want it both ways.

Now there is one other tribe we haven't yet mentioned, who occupy some caves now that they've been pretty much run out of town. Them Anglocats: and boy, have they got a high view of the chapels that we should bring together as one. They know all about hierarchy and we could learn a thing or two. The Archsheriff is like one of theirs, but they used to say perhaps wrongly that he only dressed up like them to confuse.

But scratch the surface and you soon realise that those caves ain't on Brokeback Mountain for nothin'. And when it comes to that sacred mountain, they'll dash any Covenant that builds up its mighty organisation on the further marginalising of them folks brought up on and in the shadow of that mountain.

In that Covenant the Archsheriff wanted to fence around the mountain. But - hang on! Did he not once write some of his best stories and sing his best songs around the camp fire on that very mountain himself? Well, maybe, but he's our leader in that since he got the Badge he's been singing from a different tune book. It might not be his tune book but he's not strayed back to his own. He thought we could put fences up, and in terms of our chapels and their attenders, just have a few discreet gateways and all sorts of delaying checkpoints. We don't mind them Brokebackers coming in the chapels so long as they don't do anything we wouldn't do. After all, we don't want to get to a point where stagecoaches go between towns carrying rude messages about them Brokebackers under the luggage racks.

But scratch one of those Anglocats and you soon find he first defends the homeland of the sacred mountain. In the past they have let all sorts of restrictions get through, keeping their nods and winks, but suddenly they were saying no to the new fences and gateways.

But, no, they're not shootin', not unless they is with them liberals already.

We suspect there were some Anglocats who, even with the fences, would still have kept the Brokeback sacredness in the dark, deep in the caves, but these folk are now either well scattered, or deep in the caves well out of sight, or in other cat caves not run on Anglo lines anymore.

Well what a can o' beans this is. So why not have loads of beans in all them varieties? Instead of the regulation cooking on the campfire, from regulation chefs, why not have anyone cook them or even eat them cold? Ask them Anglocats and they'd say "No, they must be warmed properly and by the sacred chef." Yeah did.

It's all one almighty heck of a diddly ddoing mess. So, am a still sayin', if we is goin' to have them chapels, we all ought still to do it properly and if we do it orderly then one sheriff is pretty much like another under the Archsheriff.

Yup we're being shot at from this side and that side, and there ain't many of us left alive - heck, one of our own assisting sheriffs works under another town sheriff who's been shootin' at us long and hard.

But despite that we are still gonna flog that dead horse. Over the vast miles and oceans, others are rumoured to be like us and we seek them out for comfort - just like those evangelical fundies sought out their own internationally for support. But it's our horse that's dead, not theirs, nor the liberals' nags. Dead ours may be, but we'll flog it.

Hey, the Archsheriff retires soon so who knows the future. If that guy in the Liverpool office - he was one of ours once - gets the job we'll then all have to change our tune if we want to get on. But he's had his own troubles. We pray it'll be another one of our own, and we will try and bring the Covenant back again and again. But, of course, we'll keep them wagons circled if we do.

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