One of our lead stories this week centers on the agreement of the Rev. Brian Cox to cooperate with the Episcopal Church in their attempt to wrest control of the Diocese of San Joaquin back from Bishop John-David Schofield and the parishes that have chosen to realign with the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.
There is a particular disappointment among the orthodox that this former brother in arms would agree to such a collaboration. The American Anglican Council would urge Fr. Cox and any others who are being asked to participate in such endeavors to turn aside. History judges the collaborationists harshly, and his interests in bringing so-called reconciliation to the areas encompassing San Joaquin is ill-advised and focused on the wrong people.
The newsletter goes on -- at length -- and while I'll spare you the details, David Anderson's argumentation ends up where so many orthodox arguments do: with bestiality.
My point in posting this today is not to show how low David and his AAC cronies will sink ... I think we already know the answer to that. My point is how intensely personal this all is for them. David has been betrayed by a "former brother in arms."
Note that it's not "brother in Christ" but "brother in arms" -- as in armed warfare. And that's what this is for them -- those who have worked, prayed, schemed, fund-raised and brought into fruition this schism du jour. It is a war.
Premeditated and orchestrated with malice aforethought -- it is a war against everything that stands between them and:
- the church they believe they are entitled to create in their own image (see also: straight/white/male)
- the Gospel they believe they have sole authority to interpret and proclaim
- the Absolute Truth of which they have Sole Possession.
How hard must it be for Brian Cox ... who is a nice man, a good priest and a genuine-article reconciler ... to have his erstwhile orthodox "brothers" like David Anderson turn on him as a "collaborationist." (For the record, Brian -- who is a Diocese of Los Angeles clergy colleague -- and I arguably disagree about almost everything there is to disagree about except that  Jesus is our Lord and Savior and  there is room in the Episcopal Church for both Brian Cox and Susan Russell. He deserves better than this from his former friend and I hope he's "considering the source," as my mother would have said.)
So here's my closing thoughts on this: methinks it's going to get worse before it gets better. Methinks, for all the saber rattling and "brother in arms" language, there is not a sound of exultation and victory in the "orthodox" tents but a dawning realization that the strife will soon be o'er and the battle will be won ... and not by them.
For you see, their coup d’état has failed.
It becomes increasingly clear ...
- that Lambeth Conference will happen,
- the the Primates have played their cards and are done calling the shots,
- that the American Episcopal Church will NOT be voted off the Anglican Island,
- that blessings and ordinations will continue to happen,
- that gay and lesbian clergy will continue to courageously live into their episcopal vocations and that the church will be enriched by their witness
- that they are not going to get to create their own "parallel jurisdiction" and call it Anglican
When it's no longer Gene Robinson or Frank Griswold or Katharine Jefferts Schori (or Susan Russell, Elizabeth Kaeton, Michael Hopkins, Tracey Lind or fill-in-the-LGBT-blank) but Brian Cox who's the traitor to the cause and the source of the problem then, my friends, the end is near. And the end can't come soon enough, as far as I'm concerned.
Oh, there are more "battles" to come ... and, sadly, there will be more "collateral damage" (as they call it in warfare-language-land.) But at the end of the day, those who will be called to account for that collateral damage to the mission and ministry of the church, to the lives and vocations of the LGBT baptized, to the families and friends scapegoated in pursuit of the winner-take-all strategy of the Absolutist Agenda will be the architects of that Agenda.
And at the end of the day, those who will have "won" will be those who are even now working to build bridges across differences rather than brandish doctrines across divides.
Those would be the "collaborationists" -- AKA as co-creators of the Kingdom called by the Prince of Peace to beat swords into plowshares and forsake being brothers in arms for being brothers -- and sisters -- in Christ.
O come, o come, Emmanuel!