July 2, 2008

You’re the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Before your (not to mention everyone else’s) eyes, the Communion you head is splitting apart.

You have a critical gathering of bishops taking place in just a few weeks’ time.

And you haven’t a clue as to what is going to happen.

Now that’s what I call leadership.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Episcopal Church and the churches of the Anglican Communion, here is what your dynamic, strong, and charismatic leader has to say about this summer’s upcoming Lambeth Conference (my boldings):

What’s actually going to happen at the Lambeth Conference? Well, I have no crystal ball to tell me exactly what the outcomes will be. But what I most hope and pray is that we emerge from the quite intensive programme with the two main goals taken forward – having gained more confidence about our Communion and having helped to give bishops more resources for their primary work of serving the Church in mission.

But what we can say a bit about is the way in which the business is going to be done. The programme, devised by a very gifted and dedicated international team, responds to the widely felt concerns that we ought to get away from too ‘parliamentary’ and formal a style. It’s going to be important that no-one goes home feeling they haven’t ever been listened to. So it’s important to devise structures that guarantee everyone has a chance to be heard. It’s also crucial to build the sort of trust that allows deep and passionate differences to be stated and explored together, with time allowed for getting past the slogans and the surface emotions.

Excuse me while I barf. Are we talking about the Lambeth Conference or an upcoming appearance of Anglican bishops on the Dr. Phil show? Forget about the Gospel. Forget about the mission of the Church. It’s far more important to sit in a circle, sing “Kumbaya”, and allow each of us to be heard – so much the better for all of us to get in touch with each other and our inner feelings. There’s no room for “the way, the truth, and the life” here – in today’s Anglican, or should I say, “The View”-like world the only real truth is what you feel – after all, if it feels right, it must be right – right?

Y’know, I read this kind of crap and it truly makes me sick. I’ll put it straight: all this post-modern, post-Christian, mainstream Protestant form of quasi-religion does is listen. There’s no time or room for actual teaching – the so-called “progressive” Anglican churches like the Church of England, the Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Church of Canada gave up teaching a long time ago. And you know why? They have no confidence, no backbone, and, most importantly, no message. And if you have no message, if all you exist to do is listen without teach, you’re the equivalent of a boat in the middle of a windswept lake without a rudder. Whatever destination you might have had in mind you can forget – it would take a miracle for you to get home.

People today need and want guidance. They need and desire teaching – moral teaching. They thirst for hope. More than anything else, they need to understand their very souls are at risk from the temptations of the world around them – a world that, frankly, could care less about such mundane concerns as souls and eternal life. And how does this so-called leader of the Anglican Communion propose to deal with such challenges? Make certain that his bishops listen to each other, and try and understand and accept each other as they are – as if that matters far more than what God is calling them to be and rise above.

I’ve often written that tolerance, acceptance and diversity is the death-knell for modern Christianity. But I’ve been wrong. Diversity by its very nature is good – I see it each and every Saturday at the Catholic church I attend where young and old, Asian and Hispanic, black and white, singles and families all gather together in large numbers in humility and adoration of God in all His love, mercy, faithfulness, and compassion. And this is not to say that those I attend Mass with on Saturday are any better or holier than any other church-goer.

What I have meant to say is that, in the so-called “progressive” Anglican Communion churches of England, Canada, and the USA, tolerance, acceptance, and diversity mean only one thing – making the powerful gay and lesbian activists in their midst feel good about the lifestyle choices they have made and insist others accept whether they like it or not. And God forbid any dissenting voice be raised about this! Do so and you are immediately branded as intolerant and condemned as a homophobe, or – even worse – an orthodox!

But I digress.

Back to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anyone in a leadership position such as his who so willingly and earnestly vacates their position of leadership under the clueless and self-serving guise of “can’t we all just get along” so that “all voices be heard” I have no respect for. He might be a nice man, an academic who would make a great facilitator of group counseling sessions down at the “Y” or the weekly AA meetings at your local parish, but the leader of a major Protestant branch of Christianity he most decidedly is not. Rowan Williams just doesn’t seem to get the whole idea that doctrine matters. The historic sacramental teachings and traditions of the Church matter. How people perceive you as a leader matters.

Talk about fiddling (and diddling) while Rome – er, Canterbury – burns!

Anglicans all across the world are right to be concerned about the end of the Anglican Communion as they know it. They ought to be, for it is upon them. In turbulent times like this they thirst for direction and, if not answers, at least vibrant and creative leadership. What they don’t need is some limp-wristed, “well let’s just see what happens and hope for the best” sentiment. They deserve better, but with this sad excuse for a head of the Church, they shouldn’t expect any better, either.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:37 | Comments (0)
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