I think that the Archbishop has given up trying to get our bishops to take an independent stand on the future of the moratorium of same sex blessings for instance, and is now moving to “plan B” and turning his attention to encouraging our bishops to understand their “distinctive charism” as bishops, perhaps in a new way.
I envision Archbishop Rowan pondering in, to use his word, “puzzlement” why these bishops of the Episcopal church don’t just stand up and exercise their authority as bishops like most of the rest of the bishops in the Communion do. Why would our bishops “bind themselves to future direction for the Convention?”
Some of us in TEC in the past have thought that perhaps the Archbishop and others in the Anglican Communion do not understand the baptismal covenant that we hold foundational. Perhaps they just don’t “get” the way we choose to govern ourselves; the ministers of the church as the laity, clergy and the bishops, and that at the very core of our beliefs we believe in the God- given gifts of all God’s people, none more important than the other, just gifts differing.
We believe that God speaks uniquely through laity, bishops, priests and deacons. This participatory structure in our church allows a fullness of revelation and insight that must not be lost in this important time of discernment.
But I think our governance is clearly understood. I just don’t think the Archbishop has much use for it.
Thanks to President Anderson for the clarity of this analysis, for her willingness to "speak truth to power" AND for the very important reminder to our bishops to pay attention to the man behind the curtain! She concludes:
The joint work of the House of Deputies and the House of Bishops is the highest institutional expression of our belief that God speaks uniquely through laity, priests and deacons and bishops. It is thus crucially important that our bishops go to Lambeth knowing what we think about the current state of the proposed Anglican covenant.
Make sure your bishop hears from YOU!
At the end of the day, we finally see Dr. Williams on the side of the neo-orthodox. Not because they are right, or even because he agrees with them. But because he has an image of the bishop not as a leader but as a feudal baron.
When he reflects on the 'role of bishops' he is making the progressive case that this squabble is not about sex, not about the bible but about power. He has it, he thinks, he knows Peter Akinola has it, and like ++Akinola, he wants no part of an episcopat that does not have it.
The irony in all this is the bleating comments from the fudygelical web sites where when they loose (cf. deposition of former bishop Schofield) the charge is not that TEC was wrong, not that the former bishops did not abandon the church, nope it is all about how awful it is that that woman led and the HoB used its power to depose.
I suspect the only thing the presiding bishop could do to make the wrong wing more angry would be to appoint a female chancelor. ;-)
So here is the naked truth, enunciated to the fury of the left by a truth telling woman. Dr. Williams et al really do want to force a change in our polity. They want the imperial episcopate they think would make god's chosen lords, men, straight men, preferably white men, back in charge.
How desperate are they? They are accepting black primates in Virginia! Anything to keep their lurid sexual fantasies about control from intruding in their specious concepts of entitlement.
The whole thing is sad and Dr. Williams' role in it is pathetic.
I agree that Pres. Anderson probably has it right that Arbp. Williams understands our polity but doesn't like it. Thinking about these things, I was intrigued to come across a discussion of the ecclesiology of Phillips Brooks (bp. of Mass a long time ago). Brooks believed and preached that the hierarchical model of ministry was obsolete and that pastors and bishops must serve (and follow the lead of) their congregations.
This belief in parity between the laity and clergy is rooted in our 19th C. evangelical heritage and our history as a colonial church that had no bishop and insufficient clergy. It is as much as a part of TEC as the bishops and priests themselves. Most of our clergy understand this and celebrate it. The few who don't are constantly disappointed that they can't uniformly throw their weight around and get their way.
Long live the Laity!
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