Friday, October 22, 2010

Really....? Excuse me.

Serves me right some might say- doing an ‘Anglican’ Google News search so early in the morning to learn of the latest wounds certain purple shirts & their clamouring mob of purity police might be inflicting on the faithful.

And there right at the top of the screen, ‘Human Dignity is supreme, says Archbishop of Canterbury’ .

Yup, wouldn’t have believed it, if there hadn’t been a news story from what appears to be a credible Indian news source ‘The Mangalorean- where Mangaloreans meet’ with all the details of fawning crowds, wild applause and people begging for William’s autograph and to have their photographs taken with him.

Is it just me- it seems there is so very much wrong with this latest public performance by a man who seems to be doing everything possible to strain ‘the bonds of affection’ with this particular Anglican.

I mean, where is God, the Anglican understanding of the same, the life, witness and redemptive love of our Lord Jesus Christ- the Good News- just where is it in this latest broadside of a pronouncement?

Am I just imagining it- the faint whiff of post-colonial condescension to William’s making this pronouncement overseas? To say nothing of the blatant hypocrisy of this coming from this particular individual whose own actions would appear to indicate a casual or only occasional acquaintance with what human dignity entails. Coming at a time when:

he continues to tolerate the prissy waffling of traumatized misogenists within the ranks of his own Church’s clergy over the consecration of women bishops; essentially dismissing the vocations of certain sisters to serve in this capacity, discounting both their lives and faith and implicitly admitting that the C of E is not ready yet to deal with more than one half of the human race as dynamic, living human beings living valid lives of faith sealed by their baptism.

he not only continues to objectify and dismiss LGBT faithful, once again dismissing our vocations, gifts and lives within the Church; he continues to dodge prophetically speaking out against the vicious, rabid homophobic speech and actions of certain of his brother bishops and primates

he not only fails to show any real leadership or to take a prophetic stand against the province- raiding, the creation of irregular bishops and the founding of mutant parishes; he has essentially capitulated to their vociferous noise and violence by unilaterally dis-inviting the American Church from a major committee of the Communion, and now publically wondering on how the next meeting of the primates will even be possible.

As one ‘recovering Anglican’ acquaintance of mine suggested recently ‘if it’s not that he’s blinded by the illusion of his own imagined brilliance, perhaps he’s suffering from brain-freeze... I mean all those degrees & books. Perhaps he’s just not connecting with reality- with the consequences of his words and actions.’ This, coming from an acquaintance who is not only an interesting, published academic, but someone who describes herself as passionately loving her ‘Anglican home, ‘ but also very much aware of just what a toxic situation it can be- as interesting and exciting as that might be at times.’

I mean, within the last month there was another news story quoting +++Rowan saying that his primary job as A of C was basically holding it all together- keeping people at the table, I believe was the term he used.

Is the man even listening to himself?

Everyone at the table, while certain parties have to stand because their chair has been removed (The Episcopal Church); while others are being essentially told to remain quiet & wait on their knees next to the Presiding chair (women called to the Episcopacy), where others are allowed so long as they remain silent, clear away and probably stay behind to wash up afterwards (LGBT baptized); and where the noisiest & must disruptive, the most threatening are not only invited to the feast, accorded private meetings with that same chair, but undoubtedly assured everything will get better with better rules (The ****ing Covenant).

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end here- this regrettable state the A of C appears to be suffering from; buried in Elizabeth’s latest thoughtful post is a quote.

Broadhurst is recorded as saying, "The question is, how do we continue to live our history with integrity?"

John Broadhurst, currently the Bishop of Fulham ( CoE) is one of three English bishops who have publically declared their intention to join the new Anglican ordinariate of Rome.

Ex-cuse me???

‘Live our history with integrity?’

He makes the Church- OUR Church- the Living Body of Christ sound like bunch of war widows and spinsters who’ve taken up residence in the cafeteria between dusting duties at a rarely-visited local museum. Is it any wonder that an ever-increasing number of individuals are living quite functional lives without any reference to our Churches, and those who do, too often are attracted to the theatrics & posturing exaggerations of certain sects?

As Elizabeth astutely remarks: ‘That being said, I didn't realize that the mission of the Church - any Church - was to 'live our history'. Silly me, I thought it was about working to bring in the Realm of God "on earth as it is in heaven."

As if this weren’t enough, there’s all the militaristic imagery used by too many of these orthodites. Case in point, the Rev. Stephen Bould, St. Peter’s Folkstone- another one shuffling off to the ordinariate who announced recently:

"It is a battle we are fighting now. Let's fight it with flair, imagination and spirit."

(ht: blessed Mimi, Queen of the South)

I’d remind Rev Bloud that this ‘battle’ is one of your making- and all the battle imagery and sabre-rattling in the world is not going to ramp things up enough to ever satisfy you, as the majority of those you would raise into a mob have already left the house and sadly are either indifferent or embarrassed by such misogeny and homophobia (check the recent Pew Survey, Stephen).

And of course Rowan’s ‘condition-‘ whatever it might be only makes things worse.

But where is all this leading?

Well one need look no further than the example of another bishop- this one a retired Roman Catholic bishop who recently pronounced that public officials who have supported abortion or same-gender marriages should submit to acts of public penance. I mean, is anyone even listening to the likes of this? Which century does this poor soul believe he is living in?

But sadly, underlying this bishop’s strange performance in the media is a deluded arrogance & certain other behaviour traits which continue to wound, embarrass and bring shame on the Church as these ‘official mouthpieces’ continue to dodge ownership of the emptiness of their Churches, the suffering, voilence and harm inflicted by the historical Church, and the living consequences of their perpetuation of such disconnected conceit.

Fortunately for me, this week another cherished friend, who knows of what she speaks reminded me that ‘the Church has always been saved most powerfully & most prophetically by the grace of God working through the laity.’ (h.t. blessed B.C.)

And that other friend, the one I mentioned earlier, who sees so much of the official Church as a toxic parent- well I guess I sort of ‘flipped her paradigm’ as she told me in one of our subsequent conversations.

But back to that earlier conversation- the one with the toxic parent assessment: K.W, (my friend cited above) asked what I thought might be ahead for the Church- referring to my usual frame of reference- transformative process development.

“Well in the short and middle term at least,’ I offered, ‘it’s the Episcopal Church who will continue to be the Holy Spirit’s ‘agent of change’.” And you don’t have to have read Peter Senge’s monumental work –as both of us have- to know that it’s the ‘agents of change’ who most often get cast into a ‘crucified place.’

‘But what do you think will be the next big step- the next transformative moment?’ K.W. asked.

‘Probably when the American Church, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Herself, open themselves up to try something different- as a onetime experiment perhaps. However it will be so Penticostally transformative there will be no going back.’

‘And what’s that?’

‘The House of Bishops and the House of Deputies meeting together- as equals at a National Convention of the American Church. One conversation, one sacred process- the accountability of transparency, one vote per. The Church would continue a hierarchy with its three orders of priesthood, but a dynamic hierarchy, a living organism, just as the Body of Christ has always been called to be.’

It took her a moment to respond.

‘You’re not serious? ... WOW.... just WOW.’

We went on to discuss how it’s both obvious and inevitable, if one is living, seeing and believing in the active, transformative presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst; if one has any understanding or appreciation for transformative process. The House of Bishops would continue to pray, meet & debate together in between the national convocations of the Church being called- all together- the living, learning, praying, striving Body of Christ, the perfect embodiment of the ‘learning organization’ Senge refers to in his work.

‘So, it’s not all down the drain for the Church?’ my friend asked from the painful place of her experience.

It took me a moment.

‘When have you ever seen a drain in the floor of one of our Churches ? Drains aren’t even an option in the architecture of the Body of Christ.’

‘If you say so,’ she conceded after a moment.

I laughed. I mean the possibility of anything I might think or say having any effect on the future of our Church is that preposterous.

1 comment:

Grandmère Mimi said...

David, this is a wonderful post. And I'm not saying that just because you call me "blessed Mimi, Queen of the South". I don't understand the man at all.

In the meantime, as Rowan traipses around India wearing bangles and headdresses, the fabric of his own Church of England is being torn apart by the establishment of societies, both catholic and reform, and Roman Catholic ordinariates to ward off cooties from women bishops.