29 August 2007

Fun with rumors! Plots! Secrets! Shhh....

Not too long ago, I posted news of rumor I heard. My interest was less in rumor-mongering than in pointing out the absurdity of our present situation. Shouldn't it be utterly ridiculous to imagine a parallel jurisdiction in England, because England isn't properly Anglican? Interestingly, those who checked on the veracity of the rumor did not hear vehement denials, and it seemed to have some legs.

In the last few days, there's been a flurry of speculation over the news that the computer of +Martyn Minns was used to edit +Peter Akinola's latest tirade. Personally, I think it's fine if Minns wrote bits of Akinola's rant. No doubt, Akinola agreed with whatever appeared under his name, and it seems reasonable for colleagues to work together. On the other hand, it might be helpful to tone down the angry reactions from conservatives whenever someone suggests that Virginia (with piles of American money) is having a big influence on Abuja. Now, personally, I picked up on a detail that other blogs have dropped, I think. Did you notice the list of names of people who worked on the document? Yes, Chris Sugden was on the list! Would a mere priest be allowed to change episcopal punctuation? I think not! But a bishop-elect would do just fine. Hmmm...

Speaking of secessionists, the Anglican Centrist had a fun rumor lately. There's some buzz around the idea that a large chunk of dissenters may flee Canterbury for Rome. I doubt if it's true, and I hope they speak with some Romans before they head over. They'll be in for a rude awakening. Will Benedict contemplate giving them property if they decide to split? Not even for a nanosecond. Will congregations be allowed to vote their preference on matters of doctrine? No way. Will priests be able to flout their bishop's authority? Not likely. For all the complaining about the ECUSA hierarchy, most of the right-wing hijinks have been allowed to continue unfettered. I can assure these future Romans that they'd better think twice if they imagine their congregationalist notions will fly outside ECUSA.

Lastly, you may have seen the cloak-and-dagger manual over at Stand Firm. I couldn't even satirize that. Our church has become a place where we need to learn to hide our work? We need to master the skill of techno-obfuscation? This veil of secrecy should reveal something to all of us. God's love is open and transparent. In the Gospels, just as in life, the good guys don't plot in secret. In life, as in James Bond movies, all the plotting happens secretly, sometimes even in fake volcanoes. Shouldn't it tell us something that these dissenters gather in secrecy, to engage in secret business? Contrast that, if you will, with the progressive side. Our plans for Lambeth 2008 are right out in the open. Anyone can come to a meeting of the St. Anne's network, and the minutes are posted for all to see. We meet in a church, not in a fake volcano.

Here's my idea. Let's talk about rumors, but only for humor and jest. We could use a few laughs in the Communion. And let's stop the schoolyard whispering. It's not polite, and it's probably not God's love at work.

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