Remember the Sorting Hat scene in 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', where Harry is finally is sorted into Gryffindor? Everyone wanted 'the famous Harry Potter' in THEIR house, but he finally takes his seat amid jubilant chants of "We got Potter! We got Potter!" by triumphant Gryffindors. Of course, none of them knew Harry, just his reputation, but they all wanted the cachet and the reflected glory of counting a celebrity as one of their own.
Something similar has been happening in The Episcopal Church. Despite countless disappointments and sly betrayals, conservatives still kept clinging to the hope that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, would somehow eventually come down on their side. The collapse of the fantasy of a Canterbury-led charge to restore the Episcopal Church should have been complete at the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans in September. Indeed, after that, the movement to separate from the corrupt American church began to gather speed, despite the admonitions of the Enabler of Canterbury.
But some, like Lot's wife, still kept looking back wistfully. Like grown-up children of an abusing, alcoholic parent, they were no longer able to take refuge in the innocent confusion of childhood - they could see, recognize and understand the foulness of their parent and how it had damaged them. But reason and logic can't always overcome sentiment, and even after understanding, they still kept hoping that now, AT LAST, at this late moment, as they're walking out the door, mother would snap out of her drunken haze and realize their worth, and there could be a perfect reconciliation.
On the other side, there's been scarcely-concealed glee at hooking the biggest fish in the Anglican pond. A spirit of triumph has reigned at TEC headquarters since September, and the Madwoman of Second Avenue has responded to the perceived strengthening of her position by redoubling her legal attacks upon her enemies. The liberals felt themselves secure, with their Lambeth invitations under their belts, and only a small mopping-up operation left to "regularize" the status of their champion cock-snooker, the Bishop of New Hampshire. "We got Rowan! We got Rowan!" has been all the cry.
That's why it was a moment of comeuppance to see all those liberal smirks vanish when, on Thursday
, their prize pig ran amok through the victory garden. Suddenly, having Rowan Williams on their side is no fun at all; not only is he an embarrassment himself, he's committed the unspeakable crime of causing Anglican stock prices to fall. Liberals are nothing if not fashionable, and now they find themselves all decked out in thrift store discards.
The attempts to salvage
the sinking flagship-turned-garbage-scow are not yielding many results. (There was another one, at Fr. Jake's blog, but I barely had a chance to read any of it, though it seemed to be growing positively incandescent. By the time I went back, it had disappeared. Bits of it are reproduced here
.) The latest spin, as far as I can tell, is that people who oppose Rowan's sharia musings are really just taking this as an opportunity to stage a cloaked anti-Semitic riot. How we got from a crackpot endorsement of Muslim sharia law to reproaches of anti-semitism is anyone's guess. Reminds me of a time when Jim Bakker was caught milking PTL funds to buy a luxurious condominium, and when the press wouldn't stop asking questions, he thought he'd divert the conversation into safer channels by huffing, "There's been too much talk about condominiums, and not enough talk about...JEEEEESUS."
Well, people don't show any signs of being intimidated by this desperate attempt to guilt-trip them. People who've left the Anglican Church are reinforced in their decision, and congratulating themselves on a narrow escape. Those who've counselled staying, and the absolute centrality of the ABC and Canterbury are silent. And those who struggled so hard to "get Rowan" only win the prize to see it crumble to dust in their hands.
The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.