Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Jamaican Soundbites: One conference - not 'one love'
The Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) meeting in Jamaica has come to a dramatic end. ENS reports on it here.
I'll let you read the whole thing. Here are some telling soundbites:
Rowan Williams: "The other day we were giving quite intense attention to the situation in the Holy Land and in that discussion I thought there are echoes of language we hear nearer home," Williams said. "Well, thank God, our divisions and our fears are not as deep and as poisonous as those between communities in the Holy Land, but I think you may see why some of the same language occasionally awakes echoes."
He then asked: Who are the people who bear the deepest cost in the Anglican Communion?
"There are some who would say that in this conflict the credibility of Christianity itself is at stake," Williams said.
For some gays and lesbians, Christian credibility has been shattered by a sense of rejection and scapegoating, he continued. They cannot commend the Christianity they love and believe in because they are caught up in a community where scapegoating and rejection is ingrained, he said.
Others feel the decisions made elsewhere in the world have undermined their witness which, Williams said, prevents them from commending the Christianity they long to share with ease and confidence with their neighbors.
"Deep costs; different costs. How can they come together so that they can recognize the cost that the other bears and recognize the deep seriousness about Jesus and his gospel?"
Ian Douglas: the Episcopal Church's clerical representative, said he found Williams' use of the Holy Land metaphor particularly powerful because it put into stark reality how the communion's difficulties measure up to other conflicts,
Bishop Catherine S. Roskam, bishop suffragan in the Diocese of New York, expressed appreciation for Williams' gracefulness. "He has an extraordinary ability to speak to the different points of view," she said. "As for the rest, I will have to reflect on it further." (none too shabby yourself, bish)
As Bishop Ikechi Nwachukwu Nwosu of the Church of Nigeria made his way out of the chapel, he slowed down when asked for his thoughts, but didn't stop. He shook his head and said: "Anything anyone is doing without an eye on success isn't worth doing." Nwosu was apparently referring to a distinction that Williams made between "glorious failure" in which one must face one's own failing and try again, and "miserable failure" in which one convinces oneself that failure hasn't happened.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori focused on Williams' reminder that the ACC had done a great bit of planning for common mission in theological and development work, and how Anglicans can better partner to accomplish that mission.
I'm still not sure what the heck happened - it feels a bit like what we experienced at the last day of General Convention when B033 was introduced. There was no way B033 was 'an accident'. Someone in some back room somewhere had been working on that sucker for days. I think the same thing happened with the Anglican Covenant in Jamaica. I'm just not sure who voted for what.
I'll say this much: I continue to be amazed that those on the right and those on the left are in complete agreement for very, very different reasons - The Anglican Covenant, in its present form is absolutely useless.
To continue to work for it now is to follow a recipe for mediocrity.