"Hmmm ..." I thought. "That's a bit curious. Isn't it usually the other way around?"
And then I read the letter.
It's "dense" in a classic Rowanesque kind of way, but Matthew Davies offers a good "nutshell' overview in his ENS feature:
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is proposing that representatives currently serving on some of the Anglican Communion's ecumenical dialogues should resign their membership if they are from a province that has not complied with moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate.
Lots of smart people have said many smart things already. Mark Harris provides thoughtful commentary in his Thoughts on the ABC's Pentecost Letter and Elizabeth Kaeton hit several nails on the head with her Just say no.
Arguably my favorite commentary was by Mad Priest, who offered this picture worth multiple-thousand words:
So what do I think? I think it's ironic that this "Pentecost Letter" was issued while the Archbishop of Canterbury is in Washington DC leading a conference called "Building Bridges" and focused on building interfaith bridges between Christians and Muslims. (I'm tempted to say something about the similarities between people on glass bridges and people in glass houses but will leave that alone for now.)
I think one Facebook Friend got it exactly right when he wrote: "And of all of this in a Pentecost letter, enshrining the differences that undo our unity during the season which is about the Holy Spirit bringing unity in difference, with specific reference to ecumenism, which is the Holy Spirit acting to counteract our tendencies to disunity."
But most of all I think it's like +Rowan is emeshed in a game of blind man's bluff.
Blind man's bluff: One player, designated as "It", is blindfolded and gropes around attempting to touch the other players without being able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to avoid the person who is "it", hiding in plain sight and sometimes teasing them to make them change direction.The problem is not just that it's pretty stupid, non productive game ... the problem is while +Rowan is groping around everybody else has lost interest and are off playing other games altogether.
To continue the riff from my "King of Love or King of the Hill" blog last week, some Anglicans are off playing LEGOS ... not only building the kingdom in their own context, but working to connect their bits and pieces with brother and sister Anglicans around the globe.
Elsewhere, other Anglicans are determined to win at King of the Hill or die trying -- beating each other up with doctrine and dogma and reports and resolutions ... absolutely convinced that they have Sole Possession of the Absolute Truth and busy knocking each other off the hill to prove it.
MEANWHILE vast numbers of folks who might have had some interest in or attraction to what historic Anglican comprehensiveness offers as a way of building community and living out the Gospel have left the playground altogether and have gone off to Starbucks -- and who can bloody blame them?
So there you have it. The latest episode of "As the Anglican World Turns." Stay tuned next week ... when maybe, just maybe, the ABofC will cast off the ridiculous blindfold, call "game over" and offer some vision and leadership toward actually proclaiming the good news of God in Christ Jesus equally available to ALL people to a world in desperate need of it.