Thursday, September 27, 2007

Is it safe to look?

The Episcopal House of Bishops have done their thing in New Orleans. The reports on StandFirm were coming so thick and fast, I couldn't keep up, and I wasn't able to monitor the computer fulltime the way I did last year at GC. However, by the last day, it was obvious that a disaster had taken place.

I've been a bit reluctant to write anything about it, because people I like are still invested in this trainwreck, and I don't want to antagonize them (I don't care about antagonizing people I don't like). And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I'd pretty much said everything that could be said back in February at the time of the Dar es-Salaam meeting and after reading the communique. I'd like to say something new besides "I told you so," but there isn't much left. Just that not even I imagined that the so-called "Windsor Bishops" would slink away from the battle so cravenly. As Hitler said when planning the Russian campaign, "You have only to kick in the door, and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down." In true totalitarian fashion, TEC applied his formula to the dissident wing of their own "church" and found it to be true. I guess we're just lucky the Russians weren't Episcopalians.

Of course, there's special pleading now for understanding - they're old, they're tired, the fix was in, and haven't they done great work for conservatives in the past? It's all true, but it doesn't matter. I remember a great sermon by Father Smith once, where he said that God has a job in mind for each of us, even though we don't know what it will be. Maybe it will be physically hard, like dying for our faith, or maybe it will be something seemingly trivial and unimportant at the time, like saying the truth when it would be easier not to. But the point is, we never know when that moment is coming, and if we blow it, we can never be sure that another chance will ever come. We have to be ready at every moment. These bishops weren't ready, and now I think their chance has gone forever. What would have happened if they'd voted No? If they'd walked out of the debate? If they'd gone to the door and told the reporters assembled outside that the rules had been rigged and the whole event was a fraud? This wasn't the Wannsee Conference; they weren't facing Nazis and Soviet Communists. What would have happened was that the other bishops - the majority - would have looked at them. You know...they would have given them...a look. And now that the Westerners have wet themselves with fear and run away, the cry goes up that the Africans have to come and save them. Isn't there anyone embarrassed to throw the burden of this fecklessness on people who ARE facing death and destruction for their faith? It seems shameless to me.

As I said in my earlier post, I no longer urge people to leave for Rome or other destinations. If they're staying in TEC after all this, they really, really want to. I remember reading Winston Churchill's biography of his great ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, and he described how one side of his family had ended up on the wrong side of the Civil War, with the unfortunate result that their manor house was destroyed by Roundheads. For all the years of the Protectorate, the family remained huddled in the ruins of their home, progressively moving further back to safer areas as the roof continued to collapse over their heads. Lucky for them, the Restoration finally came and they got some compensation from the King. No such reversal will come for the wrecked survivors of TEC, but eventually they may get used to living in a shanty.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. Having departed TEC for more faithful pastures, and pastors, I am still amazed at my old friends' non-response to events. I have tried everything from reasoned discussion to deliberate boorishness to evoke a reaction. The response is either an awkward moment of silence, and an effort to change the discussion, or a primly superior "We are not going to let that get in the way of our doing God's work."

2:47 pm  
Anonymous ellie m said...

Bravo, Dr Mabuse. Just... bravo!

3:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, Dr. Mabuse. We've missed your analysis

--Nasty, Brutish and Short

9:39 am  

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