The realignment crowd is busy, busy, busy. All fronts are coordinated in the next big push - which is to get the Archbishop of Canterbury to get off his duff.
Over on Stand Firm they have posted Chamberlain's war declaration, seen of course as too little, too late. SF gave no indication just why. It is the 71st anniversary of that speech, but so what?
Baby Blue chimes in with what must be the most twisted header of the day, "Bishop Schori's office concedes seven Episcopal diocesan bishops are meeting directly with the Archbishop of Canterbury." She makes it sound as if the Presiding Bishop somehow never wanted to have to say they were, but was forced to do so, "conceding" that the event was taking place. Previously BB also went after the PB's follow-up to her General Convention sermon. Cafe Table Talk in full swing and Welcome to the Episcopal Collective go at the PB for supposed heresy and other "collective" sins.
The Anglican Communion Institute has published a long and quite interesting piece which I will comment on further at a later point. But for the moment it is enough to note that the ACI paper attempts to show that The Episcopal Church has already rejected the Anglican Covenant by its actions at General Convention, will never sign the thing, or if they do will thereby make the Covenant a joke, and that TEC has acted in bad faith.
And lo and behold it all comes together today in Bishop David Anderson's letter to the saints, the weekly newsletter of the American Anglican Council. He and the Chaplain to the AAC wrote parallel pieces that put the strategy in place.
The strategy is to call for a "war footing" in the days ahead and for a "war" leader. Susan Russell has a fine analysis of Anderson's letter HERE.
It is worth quoting Anderson extensively. He writes,
"Beloved in Christ, Long ago, in a time and a land that seems to have dissipated like the morning mist in the heat of the day, I read a church leadership book that spoke of two types of leaders for two different situations. It spoke of the difference between a "Peace Chief" and a "War Chief" and why each one was the right one in the appropriate setting, and how disastrous it was for the Church when they were in the opposite setting.
In looking at recent history of the 1930-1940 era in the United Kingdom (UK), we can see how Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who had sought peace through appeasement and containment, had to give way as a Peace Chief before the reality of war (declared 70 years ago this very week). Into that position stepped Winston Churchill, who was an eminent War Chief. He guided the UK through the most harrowing of times and on to victory. Then, in a time of sudden peace, he was moved aside and a Peace Chief took his place. A few years later, when the Korean War broke out, he was once again called to the premiership.
As with a nation, so does the church require an appropriate leader for the time and the circumstance. What do these days in the Anglican World Communion call for, a Peace Chief or a War Chief? I would argue that this present time requires a War Chief for the defense of the Gospel and the Anglican Communion.
Those Anglicans who are proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ are beset on several sides by those who hate the true Gospel: humanism and materialism attack from one side, militant Islam from another, and heretical distortions of the Christian message from still another. The church needs leaders who correctly perceive the clear and present danger, have a workable vision of how to go forward in this crisis, and the energy, willingness and focus to actually lead. Without this leadership, the Communion will move into chaos and the advantage will be ceded to those who would reshape the Gospel and the discipline of the historic faith.
In the Anglican Communion family, the question is then personalized to the point of asking, does the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, have a clear perception of the present and imminent danger posed by the American Episcopal Church leadership? Does he have a workable vision of how to go forward such that the fall into chaos is averted? Does he have the willingness, energy and focus to lead the orthodox against the foes that the faith faces?
If we look at past performance, we see what appears to be appeasement and containment. After Dr Williams' recent visit to TEC's General Convention, his requests for restraint were thrown back at him as seen in the actions that the Convention took after he left. He has spoken of a two tier or two track status for those who can and cannot sign the someday-to-be-final Covenant. But will anyone, including Dr. Williams, give those who are putting themselves on the lower tier the same official recognition and authority as the first tier? If they show up at meetings and conferences anyway to play their "rightful" role, will he block them or limit their power to affect others? The probable answer, unfortunately, is no. In the polite society wherein he dwells, if someone has embarrassed himself, he/she is expected to know it, and do the right thing and stay out of polite company. Certainly they are expected not to force their presence on others, embarrassing everyone by not knowing better."
So... Dr. Williams is like Prime Minister Chamberlain as an appeaser. The battle is with secularism, militant Islam (meaning not just war making but conversion making), and heretical distortions from within Christianity, but he does not get it. What is needed is a war leader, not a peace leader. It becomes important to make the inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life of the Church a matter of "indiscriminate" inclusion, the work of air-heads and wrong thinking people. And of course the fear of militant Islam can be touted with impunity. The issue, however, is not militant Islam but fervent Islam. And of course the icon for distortions from within Christianity is, for the realignment crowd, the Presiding Bishop.
These forces require the presence of a "War Chief" for the defense of the Gospel. War and War Chief. The call again is to spiritual warfare, and dear friends in The Episcopal Church, WE are the enemy.
Susan Russell is right, "The work we are about is too important for us to ignore the energy that is being deployed to thwart it."
That energy goes on further in the AAC newsletter. The Rev. Phil Ashey, J.D, asks "How much deception is 'enough?'"
He writes, "To the leadership of TEC, "No" means "Yes" and "Yes" means "No". This is incomprehensible, incoherent, unbiblical and, let it be clear, unchristian. As the authors of the Anglican Communion Institute's paper "The Anglican Covenant: shared discernment recognized by all" observed yesterday: "An Anglican church cannot simultaneously commit itself through the Anglican Covenant to shared discernment and reject that discernment; to interdependence and then act independently; to accountability and remain determined to be unaccountable.'"
Ashey brings in the ACI paper, a paper conveniently provided just "yesterday" to make it clear that The Episcopal Church is "unchristian" not only because of the heresy of the Presiding Bishop but because of its deception in actions at General Convention and follow-up interpretations.
The upshot is to ramp up war talk, making it clear that the forces of good (the realignment crowd) has taken the high road, that The Episcopal Church and its miserable leadership has taken the low road, and woe to the Archbishop of Canterbury if he should vacillate.
The target of all this is the Archbishop of Canterbury. ACI, AAC, the Realignment Crowd, Stand Firm, and so on, are out to pressure the ABC to support the following:
(i) diocesan 'sign-on' to the Anglican Covenant, which has essentially been firmed up in the current draft,
(ii) expulsion of TEC and perhaps the Anglican Church of Canada and other progressive Churches from the inner circle of the Anglican Communion, and
(iii) Viewing the current issues in the Communion as a war for orthodox faith.
What they are using is something that liberals in England must find very itchy - they are comparing the ABC to Chamberlain, someone who worked for compromise almost to the point of disaster and possibly treason. No one wants that to be their historical place.
The ABC is in a terrible place and will be tempted greatly to become more "muscular" in his ministry as the so-called "first among equals." Should he fail it seems clear that Anderson and others are perfectly willing to think of someone else who might be a "War Chief." Who? The amazingly silent Primate of Nigeria? Of Uganda? Surely not the war chief of the realignment crowd in the US, the deposed bishop of Pittsburgh, now Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America?
No, no. The "War Chief" only comes into play when this gang gets us to play the game.
Let's not play.