“Welby’s 8,400-mile flying detour to stave off Anglican schism“, announces the Telegraph.
Well. I’m shocked. If the Pope were flying around dealing with crises, you wouldn’t get “Bergoglio flies in to deal with ineffective bishops”, would you? That’s just plain rude. The Telegraph should learn some manners.
This may be a tiny bit heretical, but I’m going to say it anyway.
The Anglican Communion – what’s the point? I mean, with the Commonwealth, you may get small, chippy countries resigning every now and then, but at least we get to watch some athletics in the three fallow years between the Olympics. If there were a 200 Metres for Archbishops, a Throwing the Thurible, Slow Bicycle Race for Rural Deans or an Egg and Spoon Race for Archdeacons whose voice hadn’t broken before Ash Wednesday, I might see some point in the Anglican Communion.
But they’re not even that fun. What happens with the Anglican Communion, broadly, is this: they get together. Some dioceses and countries demand other dioceses and countries do what they want. They don’t. Anathemata are thrown in all directions. Everyone gets upset, the papers get some headlines, everyone goes away annoyed, nobody wins, nobody is happy (apart from the people who are so holy that they get a kick out of complaining about everybody else). The Kingdom isn’t advanced one inch – whatever you happen to think the Kingdom is.
So the Archbishop of Canterbury reminds me of somebody who, when his house is on the edge of a cliff on the Norfolk coast and the sand’s seeping away below, tries to do something about it. When it’s all too late and no amount of underpinning can help. The best bet is to walk away and build a new life inland. The house is going to end up on the beach – just face it and move to Norwich or somewhere.
So here’s my suggestion. Let’s just not turn up to the next Lambeth Conference, or whatever alternative is suggested. Let’s opt out. Let’s not care what anybody thinks about anything. Let’s live the Gospel the way we think it should be lived.
Let’s say that anybody who wants to be in communion with the Church of England -whether C of E, Anglican from the Rest of the World, Methodist, URC, Orthodox or Catholic or whatever – is free to receive communion whenever they happen to be in England and wanting to receive communion in one of our churches. Let’s wish everybody well, and pray for them regardless. Let’s make the rules that happen to work here, now, for the Church of England. And then let’s get on with our lives. The headlines will go away, and the Archbishop won’t have to fly around the world on fruitless errands. The church has had 2,000 years of schisms. Let’s stop trying to avoid them. They happen all by themselves anyway.