Saturday, 17 March 2012

Radio Chadderbox: Rowan Tree Resigns

Peter Levite: Right, a special Chadderbox religion round table with the announced resignation of Archbishop Rowan Tree as Archbishop of All England. He is with us, and you've been applying for jobs apparantly.

Rowan Tree: Yes, Magdalene. Pay my wages from January.

Peter Levite: What you are full of self-pity and this is why you are resigning?

Rowan Tree: What?

Peter Levite: Maudlin.

Rowan Tree: Mag-dal-en is pronounced Maudlin. Anyway.

Peter Levite: Before I come to others, a clergyperson said you have been the most disastrous Archbishop since Cudden Careyless, your predecessor, who was the worst ever. Yet Morgan the Archbishop in Wales said you have been the greatest since Anselm. How do you answer the charge of being so appalling?

Rowan Tree: I think the jury will be out for some considerable time.

Peter Levite: So what is your greatest achievement then?

Rowan Tree: Probably my book on Arius.

Peter Levite: What you've written a book on why you are so hairy?

Rowan Tree: Arius? No?

Peter Levite: Who's 'Us'? I'm not hairy. I get a shave in the morning.

Rowan Tree: Perhaps he was the world's leading heretic.

Peter Levite: So Us was like a hairy itchy thing, make you itch, a little bug. So if you itch a lot, got a hairy tick, why don't you cut it all off?

Rowan Tree: What? No, a theologian. Humm, I might just, in the new job. Become incognito.

Peter Levite: On a quiz show called Pointless recently, one hundred people had one hundred seconds to identify people and only 7 in a hundred knew that you were the Archbishop. That was after nine years in the job. Is that the impact you have had?

Rowan Tree: Obviously the impact of a theologian. Most people live by a secular narrative combined with an unworked-out religious narrative of some kind and this is the challenge.

Peter Levite: But you're not a theologian, John Sendmehome. Are you anything - yes or no? I tell you what you are though - you're the bookies favourite to succeed Rowan Tree here.

Lesley Tilgate (was Bloke): Crumbs I hope not.

John Sendmehome: A small man went into a butcher's shop and the butcher said I bet you £10 you cannot touch that meat hanging from the rail. The man said no bet, the steaks are too high.

Peter Levite: So Archbishop of the North. It's a big act to follow, your man from down south. some people say you are nothing more than an inequality publicist, if that isn't a mouthful.

John Sendmehome: Why do people who run the football pools have cheque books four feet wide?

Peter Levite: Obviously we are going to get a lot of sense from you. Let me introduce Bishop Monarch. You were made a bishop of some far our forgotten place and then a chap was put above you of a distinctly different point of view, Bishop Texas Holdem. I bet you have to Covenant with him! In fact my researchers told me that the fact you have to Covenant with someone who teaches contrary to your Church doctrine and standards (or something like that) is why some ugly vicar in Essex would have changed his mind and voted against your precious Covenant.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): Doesn't even get the support of some evangelicals.

Rowan Tree: It is my precious Covenant, though I am grateful for any support it receives these days. I'm praying hard for people to agree with me.

Graham Monarch: Yes, to your question: I work creatively with the bishop above me and it is an example of covenantal conversation; I would say, though, that as someone full of models of Communion, that the job of Archbishop would suit my kind of outlook. I never stop going on about it.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): I've got a set of marbles to play with. But then I enjoy eating grapes. So which is better? In the Anglican Communion, there's only one way to find out...

Rowan Tree: Indeed I would not recommend anything other than plenty of discussion.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): I fantasised about you once and wrote all about it, but then the need for local ministry took over and not embarrassing my husband or me and so I stopped all my revelations.

Rowan Tree: I cannot say that I have returned the dream-like favour; I don't know you from Eve.

Graham Monarch: I worry that without Rowan the Communion boat could get on to some choppy waters. That, by the way, gives me an idea for a new model of looking at the Anglican Communion. And such modelling means planning.

Rowan Tree: I once knew a Rowan the Boat in Wales, though he became up the creek without a paddle when he was renamed Rowan the Unemployed. I was just ever Rowan Tree in those days. I enjoyed my time as Rowanov Treetri, when the Russians thought I was something.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): So, Bishop Monarch, we had a bag of marbles and grapes, but before that, well, what was that glacier coming down the mountain that no one could stop? Did it melt, Bishop Monarch? Got a bit warm, did it, coming down the mountain as it sings?

Graham Monarch: If you people in the No Anglican Communion Covenant Coven think there are no relational consequences for your jobs and futures given the damage you have done, think again.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): I'm just an assistant priest, but an International Co-ordinator of the group.

Graham Monarch: Quite.

Peter Levite: So John Sendmehome, you were Bishop of Steptoe, before your elevation, and getting on a bit now, and then we have other runners and riders. There's Bishop Charterhouse, and he's even older than you; but then Bishop Bores of Bratford, who's a lot younger, and maybe that chap who's a bishop of lots of Hindus and Muslims; but not you Bishop Monarch.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): You'll have to keep playing with your toys. I've brought some marbles like I said.

Peter Levite: But, Lesley Tilgate, is it, do you think your side will win and stop the Covenant, or do you think the Archbishop here will get a sympathy vote in his dying days as Archbishop?

Rowan Tree: I wouldn't say it hadn't crossed my mind a little when I was praying.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): I surely don't know. We are trying to get our publicity to the members of the synods so it isn't all one way, to overcome the Father knows best dependency syndrome, but what's for sure is - sympathy or otherwise - this Covenant vehicle is the Archbishop's own, and he won't be around to drive it, so why should we be sure that his interpretation of it is going to be the one the people who have it at their disposal will use?

Rowan Tree: You are I would say obviously listening too much to my style of delivery. Either that or in your dreams.

Peter Levite: Would it be right to say then that you, Archbishop of England, have managed to hold off the formal division of your Communion before you go, and you are leaving just as much of a mess to your successor? By the way, listeners, do text in any of your comments.

Rowan Tree: I would have hoped and still do to have left the Covenant for others to as it were kick around...

Graham Monarch: Kick around? How can you say that Archbishop?

Rowan Tree: With the figure-of-speech narrative voice of someone who is somewhat demobilisation expectant and in such freedom beckoning I might be able to offer a little suggestion as to how we can have both female bishops and, for some, purely male bishops.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): Not possible. Wordplay between derivation and delegation might convince a few Anglo-Catholics but makes no difference for evangelicals and their 'no women in charge'.

Graham Monarch: You know, the No Anglican Covenant Coalition is nothing but a front for clapped out liberals in the Church in England. When this Archbishop beside us has resigned, your cover will be over. Here is a man from the theological left who understood the nature of stability and sacrificed his own views as well as asking the sacrifice of others.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): You did the sacrificing of others Archbishop, didn't you? That is the legacy. Always calling on the same people to put themselves on the outside. Why did you roll over your intelligence and take on board in Advent 2007 the arguments of the worst of the evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics?

Graham Monarch: Disgraceful. Not him, you.

Rowan Tree: Because this is how the Church is constituted and the proposed Covenant was a process of dealing with what is in negotiation until change in the character of the worldwide institution had so happened that there might be a change in the outcome. This is what I call patience. You failed to believe sufficiently in patience and thus no one was actually sacrificed, not finally.

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): Except this generation, and the next, and...

Graham Monarch: Disgraceful. Civil War? Do you want Civil War Reverend Tilgate? Are you really one of us, like in the way your learned professor is hardly one of us is he? Did he not dismiss the Bible as his guiding document in his recent television series?

Lesley Tilgate (Bloke): We have Sarah Coal as well, and she's a theologian: she wrote about the Trinity as prayer. One of the ways you can see the Trinity, if you want to.

Rowan Tree: I always sought to produce a theology and ecclesiology that was consistent with tradition, belief and the structure of the Anglican Communion, and particularly its collegiality of bishops. This is what I tried to do.

Peter Levite: Final question, Archbishop. Did you tell Pope Benny that you were resigning?

Rowan Tree: He said, either do it like me, and die in the job, or do something else. So I did what he said. He could see that I was in the process of failing to deliver him the Anglican Communion as something he'd understand as coherent, and so I decided to do something different for my remaining working years. I mean, I didn't fancy signing on.

Peter Levite: Where are you George Hudson?

George Hudson: York station, 'touching base' you might say. It's very sunny here while you have that Sendmehome with you.

John Sendmehome: You can send me home to York. But I might be moving, you never know. You in York: how can you finish with a small fortune betting on who'll be the next Archbishop?

George Hudson: No idea, never bother with religion. Don't care who they choose.

John Sendmehome: Start with a big fortune. Anyway, talking about the sun, weatherman, I've got my next column to write in the super soaraway sunny Stunner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You must be please that the current Archbishop of Canterbury is resigning!

I don't remember hearing about your preferred replacement, though. Is it a case of 'anyone but John Sendmehome'?