Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Positive Trajectory?

Fast-turnaround punditry is not my strength, so I may be skating on thin ice here. But what I am picking up from Jerusalem, both from readily-accessible news outlets and blogs of attendees, and more emphatically from what I consider a reliable back-channel source, GAFCON may be tilting away from the worst fears of "communion conservatives" like myself--i.e. the effective dissolution of Anglicanism. As we progress into the week, the rhetoric seems to be getting milder--not quite conciliatory, perhaps, but manifestly less bellicose.

Of course, there's a lot we don't know. Workshops and breakout sessions, I am led to understand, are not open to the credentialed press. But where there's a broadband internet connection, there are always leaks. And the leaks tend to support the notion that there will be no precipitate action taken toward the formation of an "anti-communion" that attempts to by-pass the ministry of the See of Canterbury.

Are we seeing the triumph the "communion conservatives" among the GAFCON leadership over the "federal conservatives" (see Graham Kings' graphic analysis here)? Is there a behind-the-scenes power struggle going on and is one side "winning"? This will no doubt the speculation of some members of the press, but I tend to think not. Reality is usually much more prosaic, and much more complex, than we might wish.

If this all turns out to be true, it is good news. It reinforces the point I made in my previous post about praying hopefully. Many of the people at GAFCON are those with whom I have in the past made common cause and whom I hold in high regard even as I have held that the event was conceived in too much passion and not enough strategic vision. Some, indeed, are, like me, committed to hanging in there with the Episcopal Church for the foreseeable future (the bishops of South Carolina and Western Louisiana come to mind). And some, in fact, will be at Lambeth. For this I rejoice.

Ecclesiastical politics are like Chicago weather; they can change drastically on a moment's notice. But tonight, at least, I'm a little less gloomy than I've been.


Anonymous said...

There will be no schism. I take that to mean the umbilical cord between GAFCon-ners and the ABC will be stretched but not cut.

But there is already schism between the GAFCon-ners and the American churches. That's a done deal. Ms Schori might cry all she wants, but borders will not be respected and an alternative Anglican organization will be set up in America. How will this upset your Anglo-catholic sensibilities?

I found this post interesting:

"So the time for fighting the rising liberalism is at an end for now. They are going to do what they are going to do...Look at what Sydney is doing. Its planting mission congregations ‘across the borders’ of its diocese. Look at what Nigeria is doing to combat its enemy. Its taking the territory from under them using mass evangelism."

"GAFCON will be a failure if the next 10 years is spent fighting the liberals in the church, and does not turn its head to evangelism. It will be a success if in 10 years time, the liberal church has continued to shrink by 20%, and the conservative evangelical church has grown 50%."

The diocese of Fort Worth has removed geographical limitations from its constitution. Pittsburgh, San Joaquin and Fort Worth will grow numerically and geographically. Orthodox will flee the TEO and the situation for those remaining will become less and less tenable.

Anonymous said...

Nobody from GAFCON ever said the plan was to form an anti-communion. That was, rather, only the speculation of many. So, it's no story that there won't be a "schism," much less a story about how GAFCON has stumbled and broken itself against the desire of the masses to live and let live on sexual libertinism.