Friday, November 24, 2006

Diocese of Washington Joins New PB in Writing Public "Open Letters" - Question: Who are they really aimed at?

Do we think we see a pattern developing (click headline above)? What should we say about all these "public" personal letters being released by the new PB to some of the global south primates, or the new PB to the bishop of San Joaquin, or the Diocese of Washington to the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the political activists to the TEC Standing Committees assenting to the election of the new bishop of South Carolina? Do we see a pattern here in an attempt for media control - that somehow by releasing all these personal letters (or what should be personal letters) publicly before they've even been delivered and read by the recipients they are seeking to apply power over the media message?

The problem is - the method is such bad form. It is improper and rude. It shows us more about the intent of the sender than it does the recipient. It tells us that all these folks have no intention of seeking reconciliation. It posturing and it isn't working. The problem is that it's an American-activist way of doing politics - but it's not Anglican. In fact, it's bad manners and anyone who deals with diplomatic matters knows that the worse thing to show while engaging in diplomacy is to have bad manners. You can have the most outrageous requests for action, but if you show bad manners you are sunk. Manners mean everything -and bad manners reveals the contempt the person has for the other. And contempt is at the heart of all these public-released letters.

Lesson #1: Never write to the Archbishop of Canterbury (or any archbishop) and then release the letter you wrote him to the public. Never. That's not even just good manners, that's common sense. I'm not sure which is more alarming, the loss of manners or the loss of sense.

Again, I question who these letters are really aimed at. Since they are being released publicly and for publicity, I am inclined to think that they are not actually aimed at the recipients but at a different audience. Who are the letters really aimed at?

You decide.



Anonymous said...

Let's see. Rowan just visits the Pope, the same week he probably really embarassed by ++KJS, now the EDoW tries to put pressure by releasing a "private" letter the day after the visit in Rome.

Both NYC & DC are full of great political strategist, many of them hold views simular to +Chane & the PB.

While personally I'm glad they're acting this nutty in terms of political "shooting themselves in the foot" model, it is pretty amazing.

Per who they're aimed at, their core constituency most likely. Problems arise when there's not many of you, then everyone tends to write you off. So holding them in line does not impact much in the culture or influence the ABC -- guess "stewardship" can have a negitive side to it.

john4woman said...

It seems to me that this is simply more of the same shell game: to portray those who would object with their feet to the "new direction" of the American Church as divisive and schismatic.
The public letter strategy is designed to gin up sympathy those who now would like to be seen as "unifiers" to kind, well-meaning folks who don't known any better!