Thursday, May 24, 2007

Inscrutability

Tobias Haller has offered a compelling insight in to the Archbishop of Canterbury's decision, beginning with this:
Much is being made of the guest-list to Lambeth. To my mind, it seems above all that +Cantuar is giving +Abuja the opportunity to walk apart.
And just when we might be tempted to think that the Archbishop of Canterbury was playing with his cards out in the open. There is still a part of me that believes, or at least hopes, ++Rowan Williams is playing for the long haul and will outsmart all of us in the end, particularly those who appear to be driving the Communion's agenda right now.

The snub is still a snub, though, and prayerful bishops must now weigh their reactions while our Presiding Bishop has urged calm.

Jim Strader pointed out in a comment he graciously left here yesterday that "we must look for G-d in the gaps of our understanding." I'm not sure I'm entirely a God in the gaps type of guy, but I understand the implication.

The Spirit is still at work, even in the face of a caustic decision.

Jim's point is well taken by me. Maybe it matters not what the Archbishop of Canterbury holds up his sleeve.

But it does matter what God in Christ holds, and as inscrutable as those cards are, the outcome is already revealed.


4 comments:

John-Julian, OJN said...

One wonders, doesn't one, whether perhaps the ABC's action is founded on a deeper wisdom. It is as though he has handed the ball to TEC and Nigeria.

If, in solidarity with +Gene, TEC bishops refuse to go to Lambeth, THEY will have "walked apart". If Nigerian bishops, in solidarity with +Minns, refuse to go to Lambeth, then THEY will have "walked apart".

And the ABC is fairly out of the Blame Box.

"Not going" is now tantamount to "taking the initiative" - and I do hope that that initiative will be Nigerian rather than Episcopalian (if it must be taken at all).

And if everyone goes and +Gene is a "guest", it will be a "win" for ABC and the whole Communion.

Hmmm. If it's hard to know what the ABC is thinking, it's doubly hard to figure out how God is going to do the Divine Thing in the matter.

Tobias said...

I strongly support an action on the part of our bishops urging Rowan to follow up on +Gene's own 2004 suggestion to invite him as a "guest" and then for our bishops to either wear some symbolic token of solidarity with him -- nothing quite so dramatic (and verging on blasphemous) as the ash crosses on the forehead sported by the reasserter crowd after his confirmation -- but perhaps even more eloquent; and also to see that he is involved to the highest degree possible in all functions. I so admire his ability to accept this paschal burden, while the rabid right insist only they have the key to God's heart.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Why must we so often wonder what the ABC means? Why can't he speak simply and plainly and not have us trying to work out whether he talks in some sort of code?

Why can't he speak like Archbishop Ndungane? I don't have to tease out the meaning of his statements. It's quite plain what he means.

I'd like to see the ABC speak with clarity. Is that too much for a lowly pew-warmer to ask?

R said...

Mimi,

I agree with you. Clarity is such a desirable thing, particularly in Anglican Land.

My sense is that the ABC has been trying very (some would say too) hard to avoid pigeon-holing himself into a particular position that would alienate not only a substantial chunk of the Anglican Communion, but also the Church of England.

There is, of course, a fish-or-cut-bait time, and that may well be approaching.

Looking from my end of things (a long way from Canterbury, believe you me) it strikes me that there is a point at which holding together polarizing personalities and agendas can be counter-productive. That's the risk of Lambeth next year, it seems to me.

Then again, maybe Nigeria will decide to make good on their threats and walk.

I'm starting to believe that the ABC is, with this latest invitation businness, calling everyone's bluff at this point. Thankfully, The Episcopal Church has not made threats it would have to make good on to be honest. The Church of Nigeria, and Peter Akinola in particular, on the other hand. . .well, the record speaks for itself.