Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Who is being realistic or not?

I’ve misplaced my notes from this past Saturday’s talk by Bill Atwood at Trinity Episcopal, Dallas. But he clearly felt that those who think a little Anglican fudge from the ECUSA will keep it in an intact Anglican Communion are mistaken. He stated clearly and repeatedly that going along with the status quo is something the Global South primates simply can not in good conscience do. And given Canon Atwood’s contacts with various primates, that evaluation should give us pause.

Christopher Seitz, president of the Anglican Communion Institute, feels likewise, that wishful thinking among ECUSA liberals that this will all blow over and conservatives in the Communion will “get over it” is unrealistic at best:

My life has been built around this church. I believe we are now, however, watching a tide going out, slowly, steadily. Some see it as benign. Some are unaware of it. Some are worried but don’t know what to expect. Some are indifferent to it or contest it. Some see it as a time to collect free fish! But in my judgment, it is a sign that we are facing a fierce incoming tide here in the American church: a Communion tsunami if you will. What worries me most is the degree to which members of the church in this American region dispute that the tide’s recession means anything particularly grave, or that there has been no serious tide recession in point of fact. That is potentially the single most destructive aspect of our season, to my mind: The belief that all will blow over, that everyone will get used to things, that angry conservatives (call them what you will) will in time just walk out, and we can have the church we all believed we always were anyway. Or maybe we can just hunker down, in whatever bunker we can construct, and hope it all goes away. If I say anything tonight, it is that this is not realistic thinking and living.

You can read more of his thoughts on the current situation here.

Clearly, someone is being unrealistic. But I’m not sure who. Canon Atwood and Rev. Seitz both have excellent contacts with the Global South primates. Their assessments are not to be taken lightly at all.

Still, I have seen liberals get away with murder in mainline denominations again and again. Partly out of that experience, my gut feeling is that the ECUSA will get away with its disregard of the instruments of authority in the Anglican Communion. Plus there has been talk that ++Rowan Williams simply will not go along with suspending the ECUSA. I do hope and pray that such talk and my gut feelings are what are being unrealistic. We’ll see.

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