Here's the answer before you write: (which will save you some time on this Labor Day Weekend to do something else more fun! :)
The work we are about is too important for us to ignore the energy that is being deployed to thwart it.
That said, here is this week's "update" from the American Anglican Council -- written by David Anderson ... a former clergy colleague of ours here in the Diocese of Los Angeles and a breakaway bishop.
For them this is "war" -- literally. And to win it they are ready, willing and working-on-being-able to throw the Archbishop out with the bathwater and reinvent the Anglican Communion in their own image.
OK -- back to your Labor Day Weekend plans. But DO bookmark this one for future reference. Believe me -- we haven't heard the last of this kind of militaristic rhetoric and the odds are VERY good that it will get much worse before it starts getting better!
A Message from Bishop David Anderson
Beloved in Christ,
Long ago, in a time and a land that seems to have dissipated like the morning mist in the heat of the day, I read a church leadership book that spoke of two types of leaders for two different situations. It spoke of the difference between a "Peace Chief" and a "War Chief" and why each one was the right one in the appropriate setting, and how disastrous it was for the Church when they were in the opposite setting.
[This would be me, wondering who wrote the book that thought this kind imagery was congruent with the church that follow the "Prince of Peace," but let's move on.]
In looking at recent history of the 1930-1940 era in the United Kingdom (UK), we can see how Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who had sought peace through appeasement and containment, had to give way as a Peace Chief before the reality of war (declared 70 years ago this very week). Into that position stepped Winston Churchill, who was an eminent War Chief. He guided the UK through the most harrowing of times and on to victory. Then, in a time of sudden peace, he was moved aside and a Peace Chief took his place. A few years later, when the Korean War broke out, he was once again called to the premiership.
As with a nation, so does the church require an appropriate leader for the time and the circumstance. What do these days in the Anglican World Communion call for, a Peace Chief or a War Chief? I would argue that this present time requires a War Chief for the defense of the Gospel and the Anglican Communion.
[Here it comes.]
Those Anglicans who are proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ are beset on several sides by those who hate the true Gospel: humanism and materialism attack from one side, militant Islam from another, and heretical distortions of the Christian message from still another. The church needs leaders who correctly perceive the clear and present danger, have a workable vision of how to go forward in this crisis, and the energy, willingness and focus to actually lead. Without this leadership, the Communion will move into chaos and the advantage will be ceded to those who would reshape the Gospel and the discipline of the historic faith.
[So now those of us who confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection and share in his eternal priesthood "hate the gospel" if we differ on issues of human sexuality? Honestly, David ...]
In the Anglican Communion family, the question is then personalized to the point of asking, does the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, have a clear perception of the present and imminent danger posed by the American Episcopal Church leadership? Does he have a workable vision of how to go forward such that the fall into chaos is averted? Does he have the willingness, energy and focus to lead the orthodox against the foes that the faith faces?
[Are these rhetorical questions?]
If we look at past performance, we see what appears to be appeasement and containment. After Dr Williams' recent visit to TEC's General Convention, his requests for restraint were thrown back at him as seen in the actions that the Convention took after he left. He has spoken of a two tier or two track status for those who can and cannot sign the someday-to-be-final Covenant.
But will anyone, including Dr. Williams, give those who are putting themselves on the lower tier the same official recognition and authority as the first tier?
[Nope. This isn't about power. Nosiree, Bob. Just about proclaiming the Gospel of the Lord and Savior who called us to walk in love with God and love our neighbors as ourselves. Oh ... and make sure we keep all the power and authority in the hands of the patriarchy!]
If they show up at meetings and conferences anyway to play their "rightful" role, will he block them or limit their power to affect others? The probable answer, unfortunately, is no.
[Perhaps because maybe he's read the Epistle appointed for this Sunday ... "My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ?"]
In the polite society wherein he dwells, if someone has embarrassed himself, he/she is expected to know it, and do the right thing and stay out of polite company. Certainly they are expected not to force their presence on others, embarrassing everyone by not knowing better.
[So how does Brother Anderson reconcile former members of the Episcopal Church turning up at our General Convention? Oh yes, I forgot. They're like "special agents who go behind the lines and blow things up." I guess that's a different thing. After all -- "this is war" not "polite society."]
Opposing Dr. Williams is Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the pronouncer of heresy on the historic faith, the Presiding Bishop of the competing Anglican Communion, who will assume that if she is in a tier or track, it will be the favored and most blessed one. The question for Dr. Williams is whether he is ready to be a "War Chief" in a time of war. Many believe he can be, but the decision is his. Please remember our Archbishop of Canterbury in your prayers.
[Yes, let's do. And let's pray for Brother David the same way Tevye prayed for the Czar in "Fiddler on the Roof": "My the Lord bless and keep the Czar ... far away from us!"]
Blessings and Peace in Christ Jesus,
The Rt. Rev. David C. Anderson, Sr.
President and CEO, American Anglican Council