Saturday, July 12, 2008

News on the eve of Lambeth

Read side-by-side with this, which it follows closely.

Liberals, Apostates, and former Anglicans arrive in London for LAMBETH

Organizers release document inviting participants to ‘conversations’ and some of them to tea with the Queen.

By Dave Matthews, July 15, 2008

[Unepiscopal News Service] Apostates, heretics, and liberal Anglicans started to arrive in London July 10 in anticipation of the 2008 LAMBETH conference, an innocuous and irrelevant summit regarded by some critics as a pointless and useless gathering in the wake of the clear and forceful GAFCON meeting last month.

The LAMBETH event, set for July 16 - Aug 3, is expected to draw 800+ bishops and thousands of additional participants, including the wives, mistresses, and secret homosexual lovers of many of the clergy; as well as apostates, persecutors of Christians, at least one unbaptized “bishopess”—and several self-proclaimed “traditional” Episcopal bishops who have had to have over 3000 pounds of organic sand shipped in so they have somewhere to stick their mitred heads during much of the conference.

A closed-door, pre-meeting private party in an undisclosed oceanside resort between ++Williams, Dr. Schori, Vickie Gene Robinson and his new bride (or groom. Or whatever) toasting the happy couple concluded last night. In a meaningless gesture to “traditionalists”, bishop Robinson has not been formally invited to the pointless official activities of Lambeth, and so will be meeting with reporters and delegates informally throughout the 2 week conference. Asked how the parishes and business of his home diocese of New Hampshire will be doing during his extended absence, Robinson responded “where?”

LAMBETH has come under fire from more conservative Anglican leaders, including the most Rev. Akinola, primate of Nigeria (the largest jurisdiction in the Anglican world), who expressed his concern that the conference would “be yet one more meeting ignoring the cataclysmic disintegration of the Anglican Communion and attempting to paper-over apostasy and persecution with impotent, politically-correct ‘conversations’ and transparently dishonest reassurances that there is no great crisis.” Akinola previously called on all faithful Anglicans to consider boycotting the conference, since (given the current conflicts), this is neither the time nor the place for a do-nothing mamsy-pamsy limp-wristed tea-sipping heretic-enabling series of pointless dialogues with apostates… but, in many cases, his prophetic call has not been honored.

Akinola has declined an invitation to attend the conference.

Bishop Jack Iker of the Diocese of Fort Worth has traveled to London in order to be a traditionalist Anglican witness to and of the event. His deacon reports that the bishop has packed over two dozen air-sick bags, as well as 3 bottles of single malt scotch, to help him get through the event. “Bishop Iker is usually a genial and sober fellow” said his deacon “yet not even he will be able to stomach the useless and dishonest mush we expect from Lambeth without a few stiff ones. We also have, in case of emergency, a signed prescription for a strong sedative, to help him resist the temptation to fire-hose down many of the participants with holy water. Having shrieking Anglican bishops dissolve on live television into puddles of amorphous sulphurous goo might not be the best witness to a world which has trouble distinguishing the Angloapostates from the genuine Anglican Christians.”

On May 12, Archbishop Williams released a letter which set out to define the novel format and agenda of this decade’s Lambeth conference. The conference will not attempt to pass resolutions or draft objective formulae against which jurisdictions can be measured or to which they can be held accountable, but will be simply a series of indaba groups, which Williams defined as meaning a “purposeful discussion among equals"… though, of course, discussions which will be guided by “careful facilitation”.

His letter refused to speak plainly about the real divisions or issues which have fractured the Anglican Communion over the past decade. Indeed, at a conference in Hereford last month, Williams seemed to deny that there was any significant fracturing at all: he told listeners that there was not any actual rift in the Anglican Communion. This despite Archbishop Akinola’s diagnosis that, after ten years of expensive, futile efforts to heal the rift - efforts ignored and indeed flouted by the American, Canadian, and even English churches—that “there is no longer any hope, therefore, for a unified Communion”.

In his May letter about Lambeth, Williams attempted to frame the disagreements as nothing but mere “cultural differences”. He suggested that the Anglican Communion, as a whole, does not actually recognize what its “true challenges” are (despite statements such as the Windsor Report and several other communiques from the Anglican primates) and that the purpose of Lambeth, therefor, won’t be to address an actual problem—but, instead, simply to discover by cross-cultural focus groups what these actual (and apparently remarkably elusive) disagreements and challenges really are.

Dr. Schori, head of the Episcopal church, has praised this proposed format for the meeting. “I don’t expect legislation at Lambeth. That’s not why we’re going… It’s a global conversation… It’s not going to make a final decision about anything.” As the American and Canadian churches have, in the past, simply ignored Lambeth and other international Anglican resoulutions and statements (even those they have signed), it seems that Lambeth’s designers have decided to cease any resolutions whatsoever, and Schori is said to be pleased that her organization won’t have to take time off from suing traditionalists to explain away her non-compliance with any more such resolutions.

LAMBETH is being held one month after the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), when more than 1000 Anglicans from around the world met in Jerusalem to discuss seriously what is actually going on in the Anglican Communion and discuss what meaningful and substantive steps could still be taken to prevent its all-out slide into a meaningless fraternity tolerant of polysexual Christ-denying hell-bound damnation.

“We really felt it was far past time to take a stand” said one attendee after the conference “since we expect that by next decade’s Lambeth (if there is one), the American church will probably be ordaining transsexual Wiccan goats (divorced from their second multiple-partner herd ‘marriages’)… and Lambeth will still be hosting ‘discussions’ over tea and biscuits to try to discern whether there actually is a ‘rift’ and what the ‘true challenges’ which are ‘straining’ the ‘Communion’ actually are.”

Describing itself as a “the one occasion when all bishops can meet for worship, study and conversation”, the LAMBETH event is exclusive to “Anglicans” recognized and invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Thus while it includes bishops who have denied the faith, contemned Scripture, rejected parts or all of the Creeds and Councils, oppressed traditional Anglican belief and practice, flouted fellow primates, ordained and consecrated practicing homosexuals, and possibly even connived at covering up the sexual abuse of children and other parishoners, its invitations do not extend to the missionary bishops sent by faithful Global South jurisdictions (such as Nigeria) into America to succor its persecuted traditionalists, nor does it include some of the world’s staunchest and most theologically orthodox Anglican bishops, those of the “Continuing church” movement.

Professor Ian Douglas, an instructor at the Episcopal Divinity School in Massachusetts who helped design the format for this decade’s Lambeth, said “this is a bold, new, exciting thing that we are walking into together.” GAFCON’s “The Way, the Truth and the Life” paper has also commented on this “new thing” that Lambeth is walking into, describing it as the “road, that of compromising Biblical truth, [which will] lead to distruction and disunity.”

Observers have remarked that, in the hagiographical tradition, “Oh look—this is a bold, new exciting thing” is often how souls describe and justify themselves as they walk through the gates of Hell. And, in fact, rumors from the Other Side report that, inspired by Lambeth, the forces of darkness will soon be adding to its torments by organizing indaba groups for damned souls to discuss topics such as “Do we actually have a spiritual problem here?”; “Circles of Hell: Celebrating our ‘Cultural Differences’”; and “Flame-retardant liturgical garb for summer weather.”

It is understood that not all of the bishops who participated in GAFCON will also be attending the Lambeth Conference. Archbishop Akinola has observed “if even a single province chooses not to attend, the Lambeth Conference effectively ceases to be an Instrument of Unity"… and this despite the fact of the “caring and sharing” Lambeth will be encouraging. Asked about Akinola’s comment, one Episcopal bishop said “this is exactly the sort of unproductive, needlessly divisive comment that flies in the face of what it means to be Anglican. If these GAFCON bishops would just sit down with us, exchange a few stories and have a few drinks, they’d see that there really isn’t that much which separates us and that we can just agree to disagree on minor matters such as sexual morality or the divinity of Christ. There’s nothing wrong with the Anglican Communion that several gin and tonics and a few hugs won’t solve.”

Williams identifies the goal of the LAMBETH conference as “build[ing] a level of trust that will help us break down the walls we have so often built against each other in the Communion” and “strengthening our Communion and equipping all bishops to engage more effectively in mission.” Conservative commentators have observed that the “walls” which divide the Communion are those between Biblical faith and Christ-denying apostasy, and that the “mission” of the Episcopal church is not to bring the saving Word of God to unbelievers, but to promote a radical homosexualist agenda and an anti-Creedal un-Scriptural post-Christian secular philosophy… and, thus, that these walls may be appropriate and that not all “missions” may be laudable.

But perhaps those at LAMBETH will discover that—despite the statements from recent GAFCON meeting—archbishop Williams is correct: that there really is no “rift” in the Anglican Communion after all… and that there is no wall between members that can’t be broken down (or at least overlooked) by a few happy, indaba-group hugs.

-- Dave Matthews is the fictitious editor of the non-existent Unepiscopal Life Online and the Episcopal Death Media correspondent for spoofs on Anglican news reports. Not every quote in this satire is genuine. Only most of them.

First posted on the MCJ blog.