I enjoy movies and TV shows about espionage and high-level political brinksmanship. Recently this has ranged from TV fare such as The West Wing and 24 to films like The Good Shepherd and Breach. One of the standard quantum leaps that the writers for such efforts rely on is "intelligence chatter." They never explain what the source of such "chatter" (aka "traffic") is, and rarely what the specific content is, but it certainly moves the plot along. (I guess if they told us they'd have to kill us.)
Over the past week or so there's been a spike in "intelligence chatter" in the Anglican-Episcopal universe. From the sources I have been able to tap, along with those that have just fallen in my lap, I am reasonably well assured that a sub-group of some five dioceses within the Anglican Communion Network have cooked up a plan to hold hands and jump off the slowly-sinking ship that is the Episcopal Church and swim to . . . well, here's where the intelligence gets sketchy--OK, non-existent.
In order to protect the guilty (and my reputation, should I be wrong), I won't divulge the names of the five dioceses in question (except to say that my own is one of them). But if you are any sort of savant about contemporary ecclesiastical politics, you can probably guess them. In any case, I expect to know more--a great deal more--in less than a week's time. Whether I will be in a position to honorably pass on what I learn in a venue such as this remains to be seen.
I don't expect I'll cause any tsunamis by predicting that I'm probably not going to like the details when I hear them. In the most charitable construction, a move of this sort represents a 'Plan B' in response to last month's resounding rejection of the Primates' Pastoral Council/Primatial Vicar plan by the House of Bishops. A more jaded exegesis sees it as the most radical fringe of the Network exploiting the HOB's ill-advised actions by making a run for something more like they would have wanted in the first place anyway.
Yet, I continue to believe that the course of action that is at the same time most honorable and most fruitful in the long run is to lend enthusiastic support to the PC/PV plan, to cooperate with it in every way--and, of course, to lean heavily on the "Windsor Bishops" to do the same. The voices of respected "reasserters" like Canon Neal Michell of Dallas and the scholars of the Anglican Communion Institute have, I am pleased to say, lined up squarely behind my own!
Most tragically, the initiative that I anticipate hearing about officially next week represents just one more level of fragmentation among conservative Anglicans in America. Our adversaries are going to glut themselves on the news and then ask for seconds. It seems that we just can't hang together. So we're going to hang separately.
One of these days I'll get so depressed by reality that I'll indulge myself and write about my fantasy for a true Anglican Rite in communion with the See of Rome (not just the Anglican Use that is available now.)