Sunday, July 13, 2008

Indaba-da, doo doo doo doo - part 1

Frankly, every time I hear the word indaba these days, I look around for a song-and-dance routine to break out to the tune of Mahna Mahna... you know, like from the very first episode of the Muppet Show? To paraphrase Kermit ... "And if that weren't enough, we've also got indaba-da groups... whatever that means."

Well, to answer Kermit's question, here's what Canon Ken Kearon, the Secretary for the Lambeth Conference, has to say:
Indaba is a Zulu word for a gathering for purposeful discussion. It is both a process and method of engagement as we listen to one another concerning challenges that face our community and by extension the Anglican Communion.
In case you have spent the last 30 years in a cave with your fingers in your ears, humming loudly, "process" and "method" in PEcUSA is liberal-speak for "avoid any resolution or affirmation of traditional faith, and keep everybody talking until political or legal manoeuvres can be used to make the liberal innovation normative... at which point, forget 'process' and slam down with 'enforcement'."
An Indaba first and foremost acknowledges that there are issues that need to be addressed effectively to foster on-going communal living. Originally, in the Zulu context, these would include issues which affected the whole of the community. In our case it is issues which affect the whole Communion as reflected in our daily themes.
Aha! These indaba groups will help people realize that there are some problems in the "Anglican Communion". I'm glad the bishops will spend time working that fact out in conversation. I know that I'm not clear yet whether or not there really are such issues that need to be addressed. After all, the last decade of innumerable meetings and resolutions (anyone remember the Windsor Report? Dar es Salaam?) sure haven't yet determined whether or not we actually have any "issues" in the Anglican Communion, now have they? Good thing we'll have a healthy dose of indaba to clear up that question once and for all, eh?
In indaba, we must be aware of these challenges (issues) without immediately trying to resolve them one way or the other. We meet and converse, ensuring that everyone has a voice, and contributes (in our case, praying that it might be under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) and that the issues at hand are fully defined and understood by all.
So, once we've figured out that there might be some "issues", we don't try to resolve them but spend more time "conversing" about them in order that we can all try to figure out just what those issues (if any) actually are.

Hmm. Apparently, despite a decade of discussing them over and over and over and over and over again, we still can't define or understand them, is that it? Well, that's what the liberals want you to believe anyway. After all, if there are some who don't agree with their revisionist heresies and apostasies, those "traditionalists" must be illiterate semi-barbaric mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers, one step away from shamanism and witch doctors, who need printed step-by-step directions to tie their shoes in the morning. Obviously, such people just need some more doses of "conversation" to bring them around. I mean, it's not even remotely possible that they might actually understand the revisionist heresies and thoughtfully disagree with them, now is it? Inconceivable.
The purpose of the discussion is to find out the deeper convergences that might hold people together in difference and come to a deeper understanding of the topic or issues discussed.
Fortunately for the liberals who have to deal with the benighted "traditionalists", the Conference has already figured out what the final answer is going to be.... to wit: we don't need answers!! First, indaba, by definition apparently, means that there's no attempt at resolution... it just means we get to listen to our differences. More listening. Woo-hoo.

Second, indaba dismisses out of hand that there might possibly be insurmountable differences -- that these possible "issues" might arise out of mutually incompatible positions and beliefs. Nope, from the get-go we're assured that indaba is all about finding the "deeper convergences" which will "hold people together in difference" and "deeper understanding". Whatever these "differences" are, the whole indaba process assures us that they really aren't that important.

Let's see how that works.

Suppose person A says "2+2 = 4" and person B says "2+2 = 6" then rather than the offensive suggestion that one answer might be wrong (which could hurt someone's feelings after all!), we can hold a 2-week indaba meeting and come up with a statement like: "We affirm our deeper convergence in the mutual recognition of cardinal numerality and the potential for the operations of addition that allows these numbers to relate positively to each other. While we cannot agree on the details of actual summation, we celebrate our mutual commitment to a recognition of the processes of equality while respecting our disagreements over trivia such as the answers."

In other words, by celebrating these "deeper convergences", we manage to ignore the fundamental problem: to wit: person B is an idiot whose mathematical prowess isn't worth a pound of dingo manure.

No doubt, Lambeth's indaba-fueled discoveries will be similarly insightful and helpful. Definitely worth the expenses the Conference will incur, don't you think?

And, in case you have any doubts, here's what you can expect to see emitted at the end of the Conference:
Indaba is not shaped to produce a Communiqué, an Encyclical Letter, or a text which resembles a series of dispositions or resolutions. Indaba is open-ended conversation, which doesn't begin by looking for results or feedback. The final document must be faithful to the indaba process: it will therefore be descriptive of the totality of the engagement.
I.e. the final document will be "descriptive" of the "totality of the engagement" which is merely an "open-ended conversation" which doesn't produce "results or feedback". In other words, the entire conference, with all its indaba hype, is expressly designed to produce a document which merely describes a bunch of unresolved conversations between people with incompatible views on fundamental issues.

I.e. the "Listening Process On Steroids". Oh goody. I can't wait....

(to be continued...)


Allen Lewis said...

LP -
You have captured the essence of what I posted on a thread on MCJ dealing with Canon Kearon's statement about the indaba-dabba-doo groups.

I believe you have even said it better!