9/04/2009

Realignment Crowd ramps up war talk.

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 he
retical 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 st
ay 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.


16 comments:

Lapinbizarre said...

Who, I wonder, plays "Mr Hitler" in Anderson's schoolboy fantasy?

What's really ramping up, of course, is the secessionist panic level as it becomes clear, even to many of them, that they're going to lose most, if not all, of the US court cases, and as the fissures begin to appear (anyone else been checking Stand Firm this past couple of months?) in Robert Duncan's make-believe kingdom.

Grandmère Mimi said...

The ACI seems to be using the strategy of creating "facts on the ground". Say it is so, and it will be so. Will the ABC buy into the strategy, or has he already consigned the Episcopal Church to the out-of-the-covenant track? His talk of allowing "elements" of a church to sign the covenant, even if the province doesn't sign is not premature if he has already decided that TEC cannot or will not sign the covenant.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I'm remembering that it was 'gonzo journalist' Dr. Hunter S. Thompson who said,

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

Somebody remind +++Himself of that.

Anonymous said...

War is declared. Yawn. I agree with Mark. We simply refuse to engage.

More and more I see the wisdom of Jesus' words about putting new wine into old wineskins. The old wineskin of the Anglican Communion will not hold the new wine of the awakened Church in communion with the Holy Spirit.

Let the warmongers have their vintage church, the "historical faith, once delivered" and let them stand in the breach of time and change. History will not be kind to them, any more so than the river is kind to the tree that attempts to block its flow.

We can form a new wineskin of progressive, alive, awake, and listening churches that will grow and prosper into the 21st century and beyond. Christ lives. He is not a mummy, frozen in time, his words contained.

Priscilla

Lapinbizarre said...

Re the ACI, I just posted this "remembrance of times past" link at Grandmere Mimi's, but it's equally relevant here:

Timothy Fuller, a former vestry member of Grace, said he served on the ACI's board for three years. Not once in those three years, Fuller said, did the board formally meet.

"In October 2006, according to Fuller, Armstrong told the vestry that the ACI had borrowed about $170,000 from Grace over several years, and the vestry resolved the Institute would pay it back in $10,000 yearly installments, beginning this year.The vestry meeting was the first time Fuller had heard of the $170,000 the ACI allegedly borrowed. He resigned from the Institute’s board two months later."


Anyone aware that ACI has specifically repudiated this claim, or that it is making repayments on the alleged loan?

Charlotte said...

Well, if we must offer political and military analogies, I for one wouldn't offer "Munich" or "Invasion of Poland," but "Suez."

That is: For too long, the Americans have been footing the bill for a relic of British Imperialism calling itself "The Anglican Communion." Every ten years, the Archbishop of Canterbury dresses up in somewhat tattered Imperial regalia and calls representatives of the former British colonies to him, along with the Americans. Once they are all assembled in council, everyone bashes the Americans. Then they present the bill for this shindig to the Americans, who obediently sign the check. Then everyone goes home. It makes them feel better about the loss of their real power.

Now certain elements in the Church of England have started to believe that this charade reflects the real state of affairs. They are going to kick the Americans out for refusing to kow-tow to their threats and fulminations.

So let them do so, if they think they can manage the thing on their own. And if they don't -- and they will find out in short order that they can't -- they had best back down now while they still can.

That is why I think the appropriate analogy is "Suez."

Pete said...

Archbishop Rowan Williams comes from academia and appears to be trying to assemble the table for "Paris Peace talks" while the schismatics want to mount their horses for a "Surge" to inflame the battlelines.

Of course the U.S. schismatics may find their barns and stables taken away by the courts by the time they return home from their jousting.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Charlotte, I like your Suez analogy.

A question: What is at play in the Church of England? Is Wright in open rebellion against Rowan, does he have his tacit approval, or is it something in the middle?

Malcolm+ said...

Someone would do these yutzes a favour by introducing them to Godwin's Law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Charlotte said...

Grandmere Mimi-At this distance it is very difficult to speculate about motives, but I would think +Wright sees himself as speaking for the Church of England, something the Archbishop of Canterbury can't do, by virtue of his position as Head of the Communion. He says things ++Williams would like to say, but can't, in other words.

The Church of England +Wright speaks for is evangelical, conservative, authoritarian, not at all sacramentally or liturgically focused. Sacraments are memorials only. Interestingly, many of them practice "open communion." Liturgy tends to be free-form because the most important part of the service is the sermon.

This Church of England is focused on the individual's subjective experience of salvation, and insists on strict adherence to a conservative moral code. It is charismatic, and, while loyal to Canterbury, it is primarily loyal to individual preachers in particular pulpits, rather than the Church's inherited institutional structure, They don't mind having bishops but don't feel bishops are all that important.

In short, +Wright's Church of England is much closer to the conservative Methodists or Southern Baptists of the US than it is to the Episcopal Church. +Wright might have been a Baptist if he had been an American. Episcopalians might feel they had wandered into the wrong church by mistake if they found themselves at an evangelical C of E service.

I do not know whether +Wright really does speak for the Church of England, as he believes he does.
That is really up to the rest of the Church of England to decide.

Lapinbizarre said...

Two men wrote a lexicon,
Liddell and Scott;
Some parts were clever,
And some parts were not.
Tell me, you learned,
Pray answer this riddle,
Which parts are Scott
And which are by Liddell?


Notwithstanding there being four signatories to the ACI document, I am curious as to its actual authorship. In short, which parts are the Reverend Canon Professor Seitz and which Wright (I do not immediately detect the hallmarks of Radner's deathless prose)?

Anonymous said...

Clever rhetorical strategy. Fold the ACI story inside 'war talk' from others, and then label the whole thing 'realignment crowd ramps up war talk.' Of course ACI has not spoken of war, and the only language of realignment it uses is that of the covenant itself.

IT said...

The conservatives here are using the same strategy that the anti-health care teabaggers are using: lie enough, bang the drums enough, and you will have people showing up to demonstrations with guns, figuratively at least.

It may be the desperate measures of a dying world-view, but unfortunately, it works.

MarkBrunson said...

Is that a painting of Thor?

I object, sir! Thor's myths depict a far gentler and tolerant character than any orthodite! Better Christian, for the most part, too! :D

Bob G+ said...

Was it the Dutch or the Danes - or one of the other Scandinavian countries - where the monarch and everyone wore the Star of David when the Nazis ordered Jews to be identified?

We don't have the luxury of not engaging our opponents in the "game," but we don't have to play by their rules! Not playing by their rules will drive them crazy and presumably more extreme, but still we don't have to play the game by their rules.

One aspect of not playing by their rules is not caring whether we win their war or not. It is hard to do battle against people that refuse to fight, at least as they want to fight.

Rowan Williams isn't playing by their rules, either. He isn't playing by American rules - each side wants him to come down on their opponents with a hammer. He simply keeps calling people to work together and remain together. To some, this tactic may suggest cowardice or compromise or appeasement, but I think it is simply not playing by the prevailing rules. Good for him (even when he makes statements I don't like!).

MarkBrunson said...

He simply keeps calling people to work together and remain together.

Keep doing the same thing expecting different results.

We're not together, we're not working together and that's not petulance, it's reality.

Nothing new or useful in that. Talk 'til the Last Trump, it won't help. We'll let you talk and get on ourselves with what needs to be done.

There's nothing good or noble in what Williams is doing; it's a power grab for a would-be Anglican pontiff. That's it. If you want to be a part of continuing to be hammered at, allowing the "poorest of these" to be the anvil, that's up to you, Bob, but at least don't ask the rest of us to go with you.

To put it in the crudest possible terms, keep on with the war, keep on giving knives to the assassins, and watch people leave TEC in droves because no one sane is going to stay in this kind of abusive and sick situation.