Monday, July 07, 2008

The Bishop of Durham pulls up the drawbridge: "Not here in England!"

We have to catch the train, but a short post to draw attention to an astonishing essay has been published by the Bishop of Durham that is simply - well, unbelievable. On one hand he can't understand why no one has helped poor beligured Jim Packer (at least he's one Englishman who actually knows who Dr. Packer is), on the other hand he is convinced that what's going on in Canada and the United States has, well, nothing to do with England. Here is a quote from the Bishop of Durham's essay - including the shouting:

... the GAFCON proposals are not only not needed in England but are positively harmful and indeed offensive. This was more or less what I said on the radio last Thursday, where I distinguished carefully between the American and English situations. AS FAR AS ENGLAND IS CONCERNED, it is damaging, arrogant and irrelevant for GAFCON leaders to say, as they are now doing, ‘choose you this day whom you will serve’, with the implication that there are now only two parties in the church, the orthodox and the liberals, and that to refuse to sign up to GAFCON is to decide for the liberals. Things are just not like that. Certainly not here in England.

And then on the other hand, yesterday's General Synod was taken up with what to do about all the redundant (i.e., closed) historic churches in England (there are tons of them) and whether they should just keep them open for tourists. The inability to get it - especially from someone as esteemed at N.T. Wright - is simply astonishing. England appears to be about five years behind North America and are at the Titanic hitting the iceberg stage. No, that's not really an iceberg we just hit - no, not England. Meanwhile, All Souls Langham Place is stuffed to the rafters with his fellow Englishmen and Englishwomen who are gravely concerned that indeed that is an iceberg ahoy and one either needs to navigate around it or hit it. But my dear bishop, sticking your head in the sand and saying "not here in England," brings up images of that unfortunate prime minister, you know the one - he came just before Winston Churchill.

Read the whole thing here. It is simply astonishing. Of course, we haven't had a visit by N.T. Wright to The Falls Church since the Troubles. Wonder why he stays away? Gotta watch out for those uppity laity, you know. They can really get out of sorts - and dredging up a kind of false nationalism ("not here in England!") doesn't rise from us outrage as much as it does pity.


Lapinbizarre said...

I wondered when I read the quote if we were getting into one of your parodies, but we're not, are we? This is totally preposterous - indeed surreal - which ever side of the "divide" one is on. Thanks for waking me up so sharply for the new week.

Hening said...

This is a nation which sinks deeper into becoming an Islamic state daily, and rushes head first into the sheers while patting themselves on the back for being understanding and open minded.

Is it any wonder that Monty Python had endless satirical material from their native land?

An entire Church can get laid on its ear (no pun intended) by allowing homosexuals to infiltrate the church at all levels, and then wish to feel jolly good about themselves by not hurting the feelings of sinners that care more about satisfying their flesh than the church of Christ.

sam said...

Why shout back that Tom Wright "doesn't get it"? I think he does. He is very well aware of the American situation, and I think he is under no illusions that Britain is in clear waters -- but he's right that the C of E isn't there yet. What he suggests is NOT that the C of E act as if everything is fine and dandy; but I think he is right that the C of E has more of an opportunity for patience as the whole Communion muddles through this mess and works on reforming her ecclesiology. Note that he is not really being overly critical about the argument that Americans cannot afford such patience (he realizes that the situation here is "dire").

Or are we scared to listen to Tom Wright because he actually still respects Rowan Williams?