Why should they set the agenda?

Mark Harris, at Preludium, has his usual careful and well informed evaluation of what is going on amongst the separating fleet of conservatives both in the US and across the world.

He also reports that Bob Duncan, recently departed this fellowship, is now talking about 5 'protectorates' of conservative Anglican groupings. (Bob might have talked about the evident fact that those separating from TEC couldn't even agree amongst themselves, but that's another matter.)

Well, I think it's time they got along without the rest of the Anglican world if they don't want to party together. Why should the rest of the communion bow to their agenda? Why should they set the terms of debate?

They are inherently a negative phenomenon, grounded in their opposition to, rejection of, fear of progressive change. Hence the language of 'protectorate'.

I think it's time the rest of the Anglican world should acknowledge their need to be protected and try to accommodate them by not attacking at all - just leaving them to their own devices. Let them go and play in their own sandpit safe from rabid liberals and fenced off from dangerous ideas and experimentation.

Meanwhile the rest of the Anglican communion might start to focus on a new life, freed from the incubus of such negativity, open to the wafting spirit of God in which conservatism is necessary and constructive and a proper challenge to all innovators to justify their actions within the Christian narrative.

There will need to be a time of healing, of readustment and of coming to terms with the (relatively) sudden loss of a lot of unnecessary weight that we were hauling with us. And, to be fair, there will also need to be a time of sorrow and contrition for our part in further dividing the body of Christ. The Anglican Communion will be smaller and some Provinces (perhaps including England) will see further successions. In itself this may lead to a certain humility and also to a burst of creativity as new opportunities present themselves (though neither last for long).

Schism, like death, is not good. But it may have some earthly redemption if good can come from it.

In Mark Harris' more measured words:

Wait...perhaps this is a good thing. So, go ahead GAFCON / FOCA. Maybe there will be eight or ten Provinces that go all the way with you on this and join in church warfare against TEC and the ACoC. Then the rest of us can get on with our work, FOCA can become the World Wide Anglican Communion , Inc, with offices in Egypt. They can become distant ecumenical partners in good works and we can all think back about paths not taken. "Ah," we will say, "too bad we couldn't make it work." They will cease to be sister churches and become distant cousins.

But meanwhile, dear friends, remember the thought police, the patrols of the orthodox squads, the push to end the creative life in tension with modernity, the hope for a church that lives beyond church. This gang will return us to an incurable romanticism about the good life fulfilled in a language not even spoken outside church circles in England anymore. Those who want a confessing church of is sort are welcome to go.

It is time to be awake and aware.

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