...One question. We know invitations went out. Did non-invitations go out as well? That is, did Bishop Robinson and Bishop Minns receive letters that began, "Dear Bishop, I am sorry to inform you that I cannot at this time invite you to Lambeth 2008 because you are too much a bother…?" What does a rejection letter look like?I tend to agree with Mark. If Lambeth is intended to be an outward and visible sign of our unity, then a large dose of grace is needed to manifest that sign. A meeting in which only the pure, or those who have earned the right, are invited is deeply lacking in grace.
Of course they would have to be different, wouldn't they?
The Bishop of Harare might get one that begins, "Dear Bishop: You are an awful man supporting an awful regime. I have no need of you…."
The bishop of anti-Recife might get one that begins, "Dear Bishop: You have forced me to choose between you and, you know, the bishop of the real Diocese of Recife. I have chosen the latter. I know, I know, you are a bishop. You are just not my bishop."
About Bishop Robinson, "Dear Bishop: I know I said in the past that Gay and Lesbian persons are fully members of the Church. I exaggerated a bit. I meant you are full members so long as you are not a bother and talk too much. I really don't have time to listen. Sorry I can't invite you. People will talk."
Bishop Minns might get a really special one. "Dear Bishop: Knowing that you don't like to be told what I think at the last minute I am writing well in advance of Lambeth 2008 to say that I am not inviting you. Of course you are a real bishop in a real province of the Anglican Communion, but you are a real pain. If you are from Nigeria work there until you get permission from The Episcopal Church – then you can go do your stuff in the US. Meanwhile, don't phone us, we'll phone you."
For the Archbishop of Canterbury to get into the judgment business is inviting baby dividing behavior. Perhaps BB is right and the ABC can step back. Better to invite both Bishop Robinson and Bishop Minns, and for that matter any other bishop whose primate certifies him or her as an active bishop of jurisdiction in the province to which they belong – including the scoundrel bishop of Harare, the befuddled bishop of Bolivia, the outrageous Archbishop of Nigeria, and the renegade bishop of non-Recife (if he is actually a bishop in the house of bishops of the Southern Cone.) After all, if we believe IT IS JUST A MEETING, its OK...