Friday, June 11, 2010

The Dark Side of Canterbury...Perhaps

I want to engage in a bit of an experiment. For the next few minutes, I want to allow voice to my own dark side, from which I can imagine the dark side of others. Here's what I see.

What if, in a desperate move to hold the Anglican Communion together, Dr. Williams is playing a very dangerous political game?

In order to play such a game, the role of Archbishop of Canterbury would have to be seen as a postition from which one can wield power. Ecclesiastical power, in this case. But a manifestation of power just the same, even in its weakened form in today's reality.

One way to have others recognize your power, your authority, your ability to dominate another, is to proclaim that certain people must be punished for their actions. Check.

But by what criteria would the person attempting to solidfy their power choose the victim that would set the example? Of course they would choose the one who is the most desperate to hold on to the bonds signified by the relationship with the one doling out the punishments.

So, in this case, who would be the most desperate? I would suggest that would be TEC.

Why? Well, as but one example, consider the recent decision in Virginia. The only reason the higher court did not agree with the schismatics, meaning those attempting to steal property, is because there has been no official division in TEC or the Anglican Communion.

But, let's say TEC decided to cease any contributions to various bodies within the Anglican Communion. Or, imagine that TEC, by order of Canterbury, is excluded not only from the ecumenical dialogues and the Unity, Faith and Order Commission, but our Primate is not invited to the next Primates' meeting. Or, what if TEC decided to launch our own Communion, made up of like minded Provinces. Could a case be made that there has indeed been an official split in the Anglican Communion, and even within TEC? Perhaps. It would certainly improve such a case, which is exactly what CANA, and the other schismatics, are hoping for.

Do keep in mind that we have wolves prowling the perimeter. ACNA would love to step into the void, if TEC was to act rashly, and send a message that we have no need of Canterbury.

What if Dr. Williams has weighed these realities, and come to the conclusion that the safest body on which to flex his power is TEC? Will we really pull our support (and our funding) when we have so many court cases still dependent on the fact that we are full members in the Anglican Communion? A safe bet on Canterbury's part, I'd say.

And, an effective way to get the other "troublesome" Provinces to toe his line. It appears as if that is exactly what has happened in Canada. Note this line from their "Sexuality Discernment Report," specifically addressing same sex blessings (the second suggested moratorium in the Windsor REPORT...not LAW, but REPORT):

...At this time, however, we are not prepared to make a legislative decision...
You do realize, that in the eyes of Canterbury, that is enough to give Canada a free pass. They have not done anything formally in Synod to go against the Windsor recommendations.

And the Southern Cone response to the border crossing letter from Canon Kearon? Most of us could write that for them, I suspect. Of course they will say that was a holding operation for "pastoral reasons," and they have since then passed on those holdings to ACNA. And I bet we never hear another word about it.

So, in the end, TEC will be the chosen single sacrificial lamb, as Canterbury will have discerned that we need him more than he needs us.

Perhaps some of you will now understand a little better the complexities of TEC's position. We cannot simply say we have no need of Canterbury. And Dr. Williams is fully aware of of our perplexing situation. Thus, we have been sacrificed, to appease the extreme literalist sola scriptura folks within the Communion.

Ok, dark side filter off. Now please convince me that I am wrong.


UPDATE: George Conger is reporting that Bp. Katharine received a letter from Canterbury on April 17 asking her to step down from the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion. Do keep in mind that Conger has been known to get stuff wrong before, so, until this is verified, we need to take it with a grain of salt. However, if it does turn out to be even partially accurate, I'd suggest it is additional evidence that we may indeed now be dealing with D. Williams' dark side. Mark Harris has more on this here.

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