Wednesday, February 10, 2010

++Rowan Williams Heeds My Advice

When Archbishop Rowan Williams came to me a few days ago, panicking because he had no idea of what to say in his forthcoming Presidential Address to the Church of England’s General Synod, I began by telling the dear young man to calm down. “Really,” I said, patting him comfortingly on the shoulder as a distraction while Bishop Quinine filched a few blank letterheads from His Grace’s briefcase, “After all these years of going around looking like that fellow who played the flute in Jethro Tull it’s a bit late now to start worrying about what people think of you.” After which I gave him similar advice to that which I give all inexperienced Clergy who ask for my assistance in handling some sticky situation not easily resolved with rubber gloves and a box of tissues.

Firstly: ramble on. It doesn’t matter what you say, just say it for as long as possible. Meander. Drone. Waffle. People only ever really hear what they want to, and let’s face it, when you’ve got the pointiest hat in the whole Communion they all – even if they won’t publically admit it – want to believe you think they’re right. So just keep talking until their eyes glaze over and they’ve tuned out: that way they’ll remember nothing more than the snippets they mistakenly think justify their own position. Because there’s nothing a Cleric ramped up on the heady brew of testosterone and dogma found only at synodic gatherings enjoys as much as a frisson of self-justification, you can be sure they’ll leave thinking more highly of you than when they arrived.

Secondly: obfuscate. Even simple issues, such as the fact that if God loves, forgives, and calls two people to be as one, or creates in someone’s heart an aching insatiable yearning to serve in ordained ministry, then we’ve got absolutely no right to shoot our mouths off insisting otherwise – let alone to persecute such people until they’re driven from God’s church, can be rendered complex if one is just prepared to make sufficient effort. Don’t talk of plain common justice – speak of “three-dimensionality” while pushing a stupid idea which “specifically encourages and envisages protracted engagement and scrutiny and listening in situations of tension”. If the straightforward language of children had any place in the Church Jesus would have said something about us needing to be as they are. Instead a Biblical Minister should use big words, convoluted parenthetical sentences, and abstract metaphors on the Dali side of surreal. The flock will say they love it, even if they won’t be caught dead admitting they can’t understand a single word.

Lastly, remember that there's no such thing as a non sequitur too outlandish to use. Draw a connection between the people of New Hampshire democratically electing – under the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit – the person called to lead them as their Bishop, and mindless sectarian violence in Malaysia. Don’t ever mention that if Islamofundies want to bash a few unfortunate local Christians the fact that butchers in Rome sell pork sausages is just as effectively an excuse. Or suggest that it’s wrong to “caricature” a society demanding the death penalty for people expressing their love and nature as God has blessed them to be – in a mutually consenting and empowering relationship – as “passionately homophobic and obsessed with narrow Biblicism” because a tiny minority of Anglicans in that society are working to rehabilitate child soldiers, or to care for people with HIV/AIDS. Then quickly move on before anyone stops and asks if the first person killed under such a law will understand that their execution isn’t really an act of mindless homophobia because a few people (who apparently also support this law) do something compassionate with kids who never went to school because they were being ordered to shoot people – but whom are obviously smart (or scared) enough to keep quiet about any rumpy-pumpy they might have enjoyed back at the barracks.

It was obvious when he left that ++Rowan’s little chat with me had greatly soothed his troubled heart. Admittedly his limbs were beginning to twitch spasmodically, but that might just have been some pills Brother Richthofen’s Friends from Seminary slipped him to see if he’d stand on one leg and start singing Thick as a Brick.

Stil, one look at the transcript of ++Cantaur’s speech shows that when it became time to address the his subjects in the dear old C of E he did indeed follow my advice to the letter. Now if only I can during his next visit do something about those eyebrows…

I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.


Anonymous said...

I know, I know...even his lame amends towards LGBT sounded like a rewrite of Archbishop Tutu´s introduction to Bishop Robinsons latest book.

Really, I think ++Rowan had a few meetings with the ¨family¨ folks when he was visiting Washington D.C. under the cover of ¨study at Georgetown¨ a few Summers Rowan churns out his lofty missivies of confusion the Anglican Communion is a mess...he, in great part, is the cause of this.

Leonardo Ricardo
Eruptions at the Foot of the Volcano Blog (which each morning has been experiencing sign-in problems and I can´t post after signing in at other sites...I know it´s Dr. Williams and his late night acts of madness wandering the corridors of Lambeth Palace planning more cowardly acts and over-educated stupidities.

Anonymous said...

As soon as ++Rowan opened his mouth it was obvious, Father, you had a hand in his almost-comprehensible address. After re-reading it a dozen times I managed to disseminate its Three Main Points.
1. TEC to be expelled- but leave behind its Soup Kitchens.
2 "Gracious restraint" to be exercised in executing Ugandan gays.
3 +Gene Robisnosn to be administered euthanasia.
Did I get it right?

MadPriest said...

Christians are such an unappreciative lot. I have received no comments from them at my blog showing any signs of gratefulness for The Grand Tufti's troop rallying words of wisdom delivered at Synod yesterday.

Compare this lack of graciousness to the response from those of the Buddhist faith from whom I have received hundreds of emails in last 24 hours. And all of them asking me to pass on their eternal thanks to His Tuftiness for having enabled those of their number who sat through the whole speech to reach the zen state of a completely thought free mind that many years of meditation had failed to achieve for them.

Anonymous said...

Since we live in a three-dimensional material world, it's hard to understand what Rowan is implying about the examples he recites. Infants come to manage 3 dimensions rather quickly. Perhaps he should have used the phrase four-dimensionality? That would exacerbate the problem though, since the examples seem to only contain 2 dimensions in each case.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed, Fr. Troll, that ++ABC and --Duncan have very brushy eyebrows? Does that say something? Are they kindred spirits?

Fr. Maxwell Smart+

June Butler said...


I think; therefore I waffle

I didn't make this up, but I wish I had.