Maybe it's the rain we're having here in the Northeast Corridor.
Maybe it's making me grumpy.
Watching the ACNA (Anglican Church North America) meeting in Assembly in Bedford, TX is a bit like watching distant relatives you never really liked behaving badly in public.
It's embarrassing. Really.
Even though you try hard to pretend it doesn't really matter.
The news media are on it, giving it just the right spin, from subtle like NPR to obvious, like USA Today.
The NPR headline read: "Conservatives Push For Rival U.S. Anglican Church."
"Rival". Says a lot, doesn't it?
Not 'real'. Rival.
Martin Minns, the hand on the sword behind Akinola's pen, has an interesting spin on that. The NPR article opens with these words.
Martyn Minns recalls the moment he knew he had to leave the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was 2005. He was rector of Truro Church in Fairfax, Va., and he was talking with a young family who told him they could no longer attend a church that accepted gay bishops or diverged from what they called Orthodox Christianity.
"As I looked at them, I realized that I had a decision to make," he says. "Either I moved with them into a rather uncertain future, or I lost the heart of the congregation. So for me it was a matter of, 'Do I want the church of the future, or the church of the past?' "
That's rich, considering the ACNA uses the 1549 BCP as its 'official' prayer book.
1549. Yup. It's 'back to the future' for these boys.
(UPDATE: I've been informed that it's actually 1662. Check the comments.)
The Quote of the Day Award goes to Susan Russell, the undisputed Queen of the Soundbite:
"It would be as if Sarah Palin were to take a small, but vocal, percentage of very conservative Republicans and decide that they were going to create a parallel United States without having the White House at the center," Russell says.
Brilliant. Gave me my first smile in all of this embarrassing mess.
The title from USA Today said it all:
Yup. They got that right. They are united in negativity - and therein lie the seeds of their own destruction.
Oh, they would tell you that they are united in Christ Jesus. Or, as Moderator Duncan but soon-to-be Archbishop of the ACNA would put it, he
. . . looks forward to the new church attracting anyone who seeks "the reliability of Scripture, the Catholic tradition and Pentecostal power. The Anglican Church bridges all three … If you see the love of Jesus in us, you will join."
The question, however, is how can one see the 'love of Jesus' in exclusion?
How does one see the face of Jesus in the midst of judgment and condemnation?
How does one have the temerity, the arrogance - the incredible cheek - of claiming the name Anglican while rejecting everything that historic, traditional, classic Anglicanism has stood for:
A Spirit of Gracious Accommodation.
The 'Via Media'.
The Big Tent of Anglicanism - or, in the words of C.S. Lewis: the 'roomiest room in all of Western Christendom'.
It's not that The Episcopal Church or Anglicanism doesn't welcome conservative views. It's that the so-called orthodox don't accept any views except their own.
One more quote from the article in NPR:
George Pitcher, an Anglican priest at St. Bride's Anglican Church in London and religion editor at the Daily Telegraph, agrees. He says the communion welcomes conservative views.
But, he says, "when they want to say this is the one true way, and we want to impose it on all Anglicans, then it's at that stage that the broadly tolerant Anglican Communion says, 'Well that's not the way we do things.'
Amen, my brother.
The cloudy, overcast, intermittent drizzly weather isn't helping, but if this is the "New Anglicanism," all of a sudden, I'm finding that I'm describing myself as a "Conservative Anglican".
I'm not sure why, but that makes me grumpier than the weather.
Oh, BTW, what's up with this video? Do you think they did that 'leaders coming out of the right of the screen' is intentional or is the formatting all wrong?
No, no, no. Don't even go there about Duncan's eyebrows. I mean it. It's a life style choice for him. He's allowed. Remember? He's the one who doesn't allow anyone else any choices. Not you.
Sheesh, I really am grumpy, aren't I?