Friday, July 18, 2008

++William's impotent frustration

The Archbishop of Canterbury may be running a bit low on charity. Or, at least, on chairs.
The word he uses to describe himself is “frustrated”. He even admits to having “kicked the furniture a bit over the last few weeks”.
And this is because some Anglicans don't seem to be taking him seriously any more:
“There are also issues of perceptions of power or influence. And there is a great deal of — not unfounded — anxiety about where decisions are made in the Communion, which we are unclear about.” Dr Williams is careful to convey that he takes the concerns of those who attended GAFCON seriously. Our conversation is peppered with references to these “serious concerns”; but GAFCON’s Jerusalem Declaration, and its inherent attack on his authority, is clearly a significant source of his frustration.
And just why might that be? Seems to me, in light of the history of action (or inaction) during his tenure as ABC, the one individual most responsible for undermining Williams' authority is.... you guessed it!... Williams himself!

After all, elected into his position in a Communion-wide crisis which called for clear direction, firm statements, moral leadership and enforced accountability, Williams proceeded to display precisely the antithesis of every one of those qualities.

What the Communion needed was the upholding of the norms articulated by Lambeth 1998's 1.10. What it got was more committees and incoherence undermining them.

What the Communion needed was a meeting in which divisions were addressed and commitments honored. What it got was the Windsor Report, which Williams himself was among the first to ignore. (Beat to the punch only by his buddy Schori, who repudiated it within days of agreeing to it!)

What the Communion needed was a leader willing to take a stand and hold people accountable. What it got was a milquetoast who spends more time explaining that he has no authority than actually exercising what little he has.

What the Communion needed was someone who upheld and represented basic Christian and Anglican teaching. What it got was a former (at least) homosexualist-supporter who refuses to take sides at all, and seems more interested in telling us how wonderful Islam and Sharia law are -- and how offensive some Christians and Christian beliefs are -- than in upholding basic orthodoxy.

What the Anglican Communion needed was an Athanasius. What it got was a Liberius or Clement VII.

And so, after all this, why is Williams now kicking the furniture over?

Because no one takes his leadership seriously any more... and because, having exhausted all other options and tired of waiting for him, various Anglican primates and bishops are starting (and far too late to save many victims of the apostasy!) to take matters into their own hands. To exercise the primatial and episcopal authority and responsibility which is theirs... to effectively lead Christ's people and defend the faith as their offices require of them. And, because Williams has consistently refused to aid that effort or to offer any effective alternate possibilities, to do so without waiting for him any longer.

And because -- the horror -- they don't seem sufficiently to value the one bit of "authority" he has chosen to exercise... the mailing of gold-trimmed invitations to a month-long indaba-fest in the English countryside. It said RSVP... and some bishops weren't P.ed... P.O.ed, perhaps, but not P.ed! The affrontery!

So, yes, there are "issues of perceptions of power or influence". And, yes, there are increasing problems "legitimacy for all in the Communion." And, yes, there are bishops who think that GAFCon is more relevant that the Lam-indabadabadoo-beth. Yes, there is an implicit "attack" upon his authority.

But if Williams wishes to look for the source and reason for that attack, he ought not to be glowering at GAFCon, or scowling at empty seats around the indaba tables, or glaring at the "illegitimate" bishops of the AMiA, CANA, or San Joaquin.

He ought to be looking in the mirror.