Saturday 15 March 2008

Backward Flip Somersaults Coming?

Well back to the usual coverage...

There does seem to be something in the air (according to George Conger and the Church of England Newspaper) that after all the pain and heartache and alternative plans and goodness knows what else, invitations to the Lambeth Conference could now extend outwards to those so far excluded.

I really did not believe this was possible (and it may not be possible). I just wonder whether the Archbishop will have any credibility left, because if he does invite CANA and AMIA bishops to Lambeth it will be an utter reversal of everything he has said.

Of course, people change their minds. When in a hole, stop digging. But at this very deep stage it would look spectacularly bad and a huge loss of credibility - and would be the start of different digging. It would also mean a rapid and quick reversal regarding Gene Robinson - surely he would be invited too; after all, those who consecrated him are invited and the symbolism of leaving him out alone would be nothing short of repulsive.

Everything that could be wrong about this is wrong about this. A long time ago all the lot of them should have been invited.

However, before the Archbishop does a wopping somersault, he should realise that the GAFCON crowd wanted the Lambeth Conference delayed, and may still not come. If they do come they will try to hijack it into making resolutions. They will stomp around puffed up with ego and will try to grab the agenda. Does anyone (other than them) want this?

Plus GAFCON may collapse into its own minority status and costs. Why rescue them from their failure so that they can harass others? They have walked off - leave them to it.

It is all rather too late now.

I do think though that when this Lambeth Conference is finished, and maybe afterwards when the Covenant is demonstrably useless or too unacceptable for too many provinces, that this Archbishop should consider that his policy has utterly failed - trying to impose via some psuedo-Roman Catholicism an interpretation of reading the Bible that simply is not broadly shared beyond some New Puritan Protestants.

Maybe when this all collapses Anglicanism can again become the diverse set of national Churches that it is (mainly) and, picking up the pieces, start to build relationships where possible from the ruins that failure will bring.

Then perhaps someone might learn - persistent and continual discrimination in the end undermines the soul of an institution and rots it from the inside. Some police forces became rotten after corruption meant they undermined the law. They had to be cleaned up. The gay discrimination issue is rotting the supposed ethical Churches from the inside. This is what has been happening for far too long, and why those Churches which can proceed to be inclusive should be able to get on with it and be a witness to others.

Someone also might learn that when an institution is spinning outwards and stretching, the effort to hammer it in to a forced centre for the sake of the institution simply causes more cracks - the harder the central pressure the more massive the eruption.

What a mess.

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