Now that the North American Anglican nut tree has finished shaking their proverbials their transatlantic admirers are having a turn. Normally I’d be delighted by this news, since I’ve always said it’s impossible to have enough excuses to escape the mundane realities of one’s parish for a few days of mutually masculine backslapping, but to be perfectly honest what I’m hearing about this event is leaving me feeling more than a little flat.
It’s not the reports from such dubious progressive sources as the Church Times that organisers haven’t exactly been awash with applications from prospective attendees, nor that the list of those who’ll be sitting at the top table is so dreadfully predictable that even Bishop Quinine’s “gift of prophecy” could have picked it. No, the real problem is the speakers. Dr Chik Kaw Tan, and Bishops Nazir-Ali and Jensen for the evangelicals; and Bishops Broadhurst and Ackerman for the "Wardens of the Walsingham Shrine" (JCF - I saw your comment at OCICBW and wholeheartedly agree: this euphemism has to become part of the general Anglican vocabulary!).
Certainly, these gentlemen are all undoubtedly worthy, and have impeccable track records when it comes to campaigning against ministry by those with inappropriate (e.g. non-penis) genitalia. Nor have any of them ever wavered in their opposition to those who, whilst having the approved genitalia, are not prepared to lie about the causes of what might be best described as a “status shift” in the corporeality of their divinely sanctioned organs. Yet, my Dearly Beloved Sinners, let’s just face it - We’ve heard it all before!!!.
No music hall can afford to keep trotting out the same acts year after year. Where are the fresh young faces? Where are the thousands of fundamentalist Muslims conservatives are leading to Christ every single day? Why aren’t the millions of people Nazir-Ali has set free from the bondage of their God-given sexuality being given the stage to tell their stories? Why can’t we hear from the countless women whom by the power of little Peter Jensen’s gospel have been delivered from the burden of leading churches, and whom are now lovingly serving their husbands and lord in the peaceful town of Stepford?
It’s only understandable that the familiar faces want to keep hearing the sound of their own voices, but if the schism is going to be a threat to anyone it’s going to need to show some involvement from more than just the usual suspects. And it needs entertainment - something spectacular, like Fonzie jumping the shark. Although it’s increasingly coming to look like they jumped the shark some time ago.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.