Saturday, August 02, 2008

Lambeth Loses its Mind

Today Kenneth Kearon said that Lambeth 1.10 remains the Mind of the Communion. Any attempt to change that has failed. It remains the authorized view of the Anglican Communion. But of course, there is no will to enforce it.

A grand succession of meetings and commissions and committees and rap sessions is certainly not going to change the fact that while Lambeth 1.10 may be indeed the Mind of the Communion, after three long weeks in the Big Top in Canterbury it is safe to say that Lambeth has completely lost its mind.

It has been the intention of the Episcopal progressives to fix Lambeth 1.10 - and the fact that they will be able to carry on without any fear of reprisals is abundantly clear - bishops may wail and gnash their teeth, but appear not have the presence of their own mind to intervene.

At this afternoon's press conference, the briefing bishops (including Jenkins from Louisiana) claimed that the Episcopal Church would observe the moratoria on no more same sex blessings and no more ordaining or consecrating non-celibate homosexuals. However, when questioned further, Bishop Jenkins could not tell the difference between "establishing rites" and freedom of bishops to go ahead and permitting local option in their dioceses. Funny how that happens.

And that's the deal - if Lambeth 1.10 remains intact, there is nothing, no nothing in place to enforce that view. This Conference was the point. When it was clear that Lambeth would just be a Three Week Conversation Pit Rap Session, it was clear there would be no enforcement. In fact, the bishops are far more upset over other bishops encroaching on their power base then they are in upholding the teachings of scripture. But as Ronald Reagan once said, they are only building a paper castle that will be blown away by the winds of war.

In this case, it's a spiritual war and it's a war being fought hard - not just here in Canterbury (where it's almost invisible except for the expressions of worry and exhaustion on the faces of the bishops) but in Anglican provinces around the world. It is being fought in places where Anglicans have not yet lost their minds to the cultural innovations of this age - but have set their minds on Christ and on His Word.

So was this Lambeth Conference as the leaders of GAFCON predicted? A waste of time, money, and effort - a lot of yacking and navel gazing, but no resolution, no vision, no leadership - just a retro 60s throwback to the conversation pits of the Summer of Love?

Of course, we remember what happened after the Summer of Love. And it wasn't very pretty.

The thing is - the idea that "God is doing a new thing" and that God is speaking "prophetically" on these new innovations seems to have no public traction here. It's not so much from conviction (all though that is true for probably the majority of the bishops assembled here from around the world) as from the British recoil at doing anything impolite, anything so vulgar as voting and carrying on and not minding the gap. There is Indabaing going on, but of course - that's just bishop to bishop. All those bishops will now have to go home and face their clergy and laity who will want to know how much money was spent on a three-week boondoggle. This may indeed be the last Lambeth Conference.

The attempt to love-bomb Archbishop Venables that he was oh, so sorry about rescuing the parishes and Episcopalians in distress from the abandonment of it's biblical foundations by the Episcopal Church to the innovations of the age turns out to have been an ill-advised distortion by the illustrious bishop of San Diego. It is clear so far that the Presiding Bishop is ready to have Bishop Duncan's head on a platter. And while Gene Robinson is no where to be found over the past few days (between Changing Attitude's chief international spokesman discovered to be leading a most promiscuous lifestyle as he goes from one night stand to one night stand, and the Archbishop of Sudan making it quite clear that the Bishop of New Hampshire should resign, period) it hasn't exactly been a happy week for progressive activists.

Or has it? Did they not get exactly what they wanted - not even a slapped hand for tearing the Anglican Communion apart? Many continue to point fingers at Archbishop Orombi for being so rude as to not be here, how rude to turn down the cucumber sandwiches and Pinot Noir, not the fact that the Episcopal Church continues unabated to tear the Communion into bits. In fact, if forgiveness is being handed out it looks like the real object is the Episcopal Church and the Church of Canada who will be welcomed back with open arms to the ACC next year. Dreadful sorry we had to rescinded your name tags, love, quite unpleasant you now, but all well now. The West Indies are lovely in the Spring, don't you know?

However, outside the gates stands a movement of millions and millions of Anglicans who have watched Lambeth from afar, shaking their heads and looking to the horizon and recognizing that no vision, no direction, no Mind of conviction and action means no leadership. It is a a sorry site to see all these bishops, overwhelmed by a charm offensive, enjoying the perks of their office at the expense of others.

Rowan Williams is a man of great charm and charisma that he uses to great affect, but he is certainly not one anyone would follow into the foxholes of a spiritual war. He is pleased to be in his element as The Great Professor, walking about like the most-esteemed scholar of them all, with all these little purple bishops in his wake, sitting at the feet - or is that the feat - of the Great Professor Himself, sitting there quite complacent and charmed as they are until they all go home and face real life staring at them from the pews, their purses shut tight.

Unless there is some kind of intervention in the next 24 hours - this Lambeth has merely projected itself as a multi-million pound farce, kicking the progressive can of worms down the halls of postmodernity, crying "peace, peace" and there is no peace." It is a mirage, an homage to wishful thinking that if somehow we wish it were so it will be so, if we play the part and strut upon the stage enough times, we will believe it is all real.

But it is not real. It is life in the Big Top, where all that will be left behind after the security fences are taken down and the blue tent is folded away is the Facade of Peace - a Facade that cannot never stand against the winds of spiritual war that are blowing hard across the plains of the Anglican Communion.

A Mind is a terrible thing to waste.

PM UPDATE: The 4th (and nearly final) draft of the "reflections" is now published. Once again, we see evidence of the fact that after everything that has happened, after all the meetings and more meetings and even more meetings - they miss the point. In the section on "moratoria" the drafters of this document are clear to state that the moratoria is for "public authorized rites, rather than pastoral support." Which is of course, an incredulous statement. That is not the problem. The problem is "Local option" which is masked as "pastoral support." Do the writers of the document think that the laity are idiots?

We know exactly what they mean by "pastoral support" and so does the rest of the communion. No one is fooled.

Another point about this document that currently is running 37 pages (and Bishop Howe told me it should only be one page and that was back when it was 14 pages). When a department in the United States Executive Branch is being investigated by Congress (doesn't matter which one) and there really is a problem that Congress has discovered about them - one of the first things the department's lawyers will do (as would any lawyer who's clients are being investigated) is to instigate a document dump. They just throw everything including the kitchen sink into boxes and have them delivered by the truck load to the inquiring congressional committee.

That is what we have here - a data dump, neither requested nor required. But in their attempt to obfuscate the real issues that are causing the Anglican Communion to plunge in a crisis that everyone seems to know about (the press room is full) except for the happy talk that keeps coming out of the Big Top, they have done a data dump. Right now we have 37 pages of stating the obvious. How many million pounds and dollar and hours went into typing up 37 pages of stating the obvious.? But when it comes to telling the truth on page 35 - they get it completely wrong, in the most obfuscating way.

The issue is not public authorized rites - that's not what is calling the schism in the Episcopal Church and the Church of Canada that is now spreading through the rest of the Communion. it's "local option" masked as pastoral support.

And what constitutes "pastoral support" in those dioceses that are ordaining non-celibate homosexuals? There can be no partnered homosexual clergy because there are no official rites for marriage in the Episcopal Church, so there can only be celibate homosexuals who can be ordained, but that's not what is happening in the Episcopal Church. So would not "pastoral support" be for those who are living in a partnership, and perhaps even married under the laws of their state and perhaps even in the eyes of the diocese through sex blessings? Of course! That is the problem! So this whole section just completely misses the point. What we don't know if it's because they just have filled their minds with Indaba that they can't tell the forest from the trees?

You can read the entire "4th Draft" here. The "final" draft (which will never be voted on, it is created in a spirit of Indaba by people hand-picked by people we do not know and written by people known only by the Inner Ring of the Big Top) will be released tomorrow.


RMBruton said...

I am still unable to play these clips, once they've buffered. I can scroll through them but they do not play, nor is there any audio. Is anyone else having such a problem?

A Musing Anglican said...

the bishops are far more upset over other bishops encroaching on their power base then they are in upholding the teachings of scripture

Just more Anglican HUTA syndrome


Anonymous said...

Well written, BabyBlue. I am blown away that anyone could equate one bishop ministering in an area held by a hostile bishop with promoting same-sex sex practicing people to leaders of the Christian faith.

Big sigh...
take it for what it's worth

Anonymous said...

As Lambeth was beginning, I was talking it over with my AMiA rector and he opined that he could see nothing but evil coming from it. Events have proven him even more correct than I could have dreaded.

Your post is appropriately vexed, BB. This is the end of the Communion, and Rowan Williams feels fine.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I guess I am wondering how, in the big picture, GAFCON and Lambeth meeting results are different. Lambeth accomplished nothing and GAFCON did not have enough strength to break from the communion (reform from within?????).

Very strange....

Greg in Ft. Worth

Anonymous said...

Mary, I was under the impression you went to the Lambeth Conference with journalist credentials and intentions. You've been there how long? When does the journalism begin? Your posts sound like a lot of rehashed ranting and raving to me, not journalism. It may be my own biased opinion, but it seems you had your mind made up what you were going to say before you left Washington. Why spend the money - and other people's at that!

Unknown said...

This is the Cafe of course where you've posted. I'm trying hard to bring it all, both with the video and commentary. It's one in the morning right now here. Jim Naughton is here too, by the way, as is Susan Russell and her partner (who has press credentials) and Katie Sherrod and a host of others from all walks of life. I think we're all trying hard to communicate as best as we can the story - hope it's helpful for you. It's not a happy thing to watch. You can see it in the faces of the press in a video I've been trying to get uploaded for the past hour. The internet connection is spotty some times. If I can get it up tonight I will.

I have also been sending info to the London Times as well. Tomorrow is the final day - a packed day and I do have a reserved seat with the press in Canterbury Cathedral for the final service. I hope this coverage is helpful to you all here too.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your coverage of the Lambeth Conference.
When do they hand out the " I went to the Lambeth Conference and all I got was this lousy purple t-shirt" mementos ?