Be watchful, for your adversary is a roaring lion.

Yesterday I suggested that we need not be anxious about the Primates Meeting in Tanzania. And I meant it. Be not anxious.

But I did not suggest that we fall asleep. It is a time to be watchful, for the adversary is a roaring lion. The first among equals in the lion department is of course the Archbishop of Nigeria. As the Chair of the Global South group and Chair of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa, Archbishop Akinola is a prime mover in the run up to the next Primates Meeting.

In a Living Church article on the place of the Episcopal Church on the agenda of the Primates Meeting, George Conger reports, “Whether the primates will follow the agenda crafted in London by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is uncertain. The agenda for the 2005 primates meeting underwent significant changes as the meeting progressed, and similar changes are anticipated for this meeting. A pre-meeting strategy session for the African primates and other American and international church leaders will be held Feb. 10 in Nairobi, Kenya.” (highlight mine)

This is the second time George has noted that the agenda of past meetings has gotten changed in progress. But the disclosure of the pre-meeting strategy session, including African primates and “other American and international church leaders” is new. Just as was the case at the last Primates Meeting, there is a strategy being developed between some African Primates and members of the American and international alignment community – read the Moderator, the American Anglican Council, Anglican Mission in Americas – and no doubt a considerable investment of time and money. Just who is pulling the strings continues to be a thing of conjecture.

The last Primates meeting was a disaster, with people off in the wings, at local pubs, down the lane and around the corner working the cell phones, having off campus conferences, dinners, celebrations and the like. People just happened by or were supposedly vacationing in the area. We can only hope that this sort of thing will not be repeated. But the gathering of a cabal in a ‘pre meeting strategy session’ is sorry news indeed.

The image of the Primates Meeting as an opportunity for sharing among the Primates has been severely tarnished by the past meeting, and the promise of any return to leisurely and open conversation at this one diminished by this news.

The Anglican Journal article, “The Primates Meeting likely to be Difficult,” reports that, “Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has acknowledged that primates are approaching their coming meeting with trepidation.

“I think everybody is a little nervous about just what the outcome of that meeting might be,” he said in an interview. “There is a drift … away from the centre, (by) certain provinces within the Communion and they seem to be very well-organized and I wonder what that’s all about and what impact that might have on the primates’ meeting.”

We need not be anxious. We are well served in our Presiding Bishop. The three bishops who from the orient are, are coming and will bring their gifts and leave. We can hope they are flying in from American for the occasion, and flying out immediately following. But it would not be surprising to discover that at least the Moderator was already set to be there, or at least in Kenya, just a short flight from Dar.

Archbishop Hutchinson comments that “they seem to be very well organized.” That certainly seems true, and when organized folk get together for a strategy session, others of the Primates ought to be watchful and not be caught unprepared. We need not be anxious, but we for sure better be watchful and ready.

We pray the Primates are watchful, and ready to meet the roaring lion.


  1. Please, do we have a definite date for the official start of the Primate's meeting? I look forward to lying prostrate before the cross for many hours that day and I'd hate to waste that gesture on the wrong day!

    On the other hand, as a fan of and believer along with Charles Williams, I think prayers aren't stuck to a single time and place - that God's time takes up prayers and uses them whenever and wherever needed. So if we can't nail this date down, I guess the feast of the Valentine will do as well as any other day, and God's Spirit will attribute our prayers to the right time.
    revLois Keen

  2. 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
    Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
    is it really helpful for a memeber of TEC's executive council to compare a Primate from another provine to the devil?

  3. Not Mark, but responding to Peter and obidiah anyway---

    I have NO DOUBT that Peter Akinola is an infinitely beloved child of God...

    ...and yet it "seems to be a reasonable claim" (as Brian said of another Primate, on the thread immediately below), that Peter Abuja, Archbishop of Nigeria (titles, titles, more titles following*) has been corrupted by principalities and powers.

    So, is ++Akinola the devil? No! But is he under-the-influence of one of Satan's minions? Maybe!

    [* Come to think of it, if "your adversary . . . prowls around like a roaring lion": didn't I read a tribute, in the African press, which favorably named the archbishop as "Lion", w/ his approval? :-0 ]

    Lord have mercy on us all!

  4. Lions are most silent when they're preparing to attack. They settle into the grass, on their haunches, and watch their targets, choosing the spot they want to hit when they launch themselves.

  5. sounds like you're fairly familiar with that lion

  6. Now that Stand Firm has honed in on this post, just wait to see the reaction. I do think the lion image was a bit much, but when it'll be taken further out of context... sigh.

    Grace and peace.

  7. Wow. You touched a nerve with the nutters over at StandLimp tonight. They are suggesting that you are sending coded messages by the use of the scripture passages to imply that Akinola is the devil. Supposedly the insiders in the double-secret librul conspiracy will get it but the average Episcopalian in the pew wouldn't get it. Also they think the average Episcopalian would be shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn what you are saying about that noble living saint in Nigeria. (as if most Episcopalians aren't already thinking worse of him and his fellow travellers.)

    I think they've been hitting the cheap tawny port in the sacristy a little too hard if you ask me, but anyway.

    My favorite part is their claim that the majority of us supposedly biblically illiterate Episcopalians wouldn't catch the scriptual reference. (Nevermind the quote from 1 Peter 5 is included in compline so it would at least sound familiar to us) It is the old "progressives don't really know, or heck, even like the Bible" game they love to play.
    If only we were real Christians like the good and noble folks over at Virtue and StandFirm. Why then we would be as fundamentally Biblical as they are. Sigh.

    Oh, well. Rest assured that many of us did "catch" your double-secret coded message. Even without the secret message from Librul Sekular Command we are already wary of what Akinola and all of the others who would destroy the Episcopal Church are up to.

  8. ... the gathering of a cabal in a ‘pre meeting strategy session’ is sorry news indeed.

    Yes, indeed, we are all shocked at this sort of conspiratorial behavior.

    Isn't there some aphorism about what's sauce for the wolf in sheep's clothing being sauce for the lion? No, wait a moment, it's what's sauce for the lion is made out of sour grapes... No, I mean... Oh, never mind.

  9. considering the number of times Akinola and company has called TEC satanic, I'm not sure what the whole fuss is about.


  10. Well, Mark+,

    It has been 24 hours and my comment has not made it out of moderation; so I think it is safe to assume that even my very mild comment was deemed unworthy of your fine blog. Just for the record, Susan, Elizabeth and Ann have allowed my comments in the past, so I guess yours is just too far left for my pitiful comments to register.

  11. to Chip Johnson... your comment that has not been posted did not reach me. In the past three days I have not struck any comments that came in... so send it again. Don't know what the problem is. Mark

  12. I am a fairly conservative christian...so you know where my sympathies generally lie. But I see no problem...even Jesus said to Peter "Get thee behind me Satan". Only question is which side is properly discerning the spirit?

  13. mea culpa, MArk+,

    My original comment addressed Lois's request for dates...Feb 12 for the 'warmup', 14 - 17 for the real deal; and a comment that Aslan was not a tame lion.

  14. mea culpa, Mark+,

    As best I can remember at my advancing age, my comment was a two parter; first to LOis, the date for the 'warmup' is Feb 12, the real deal is Feb 14-17.

    Part two was the observation that Aslan is not a tame lion, and ++Akinola is not Satan.



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Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.