August 12, 2008

Another Take on Rowan’s Thinking

Shortly after writing my last post, “Mistaken Primate,” which questioned the clarity of the thinking of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, I discovered the essay “Too big a tent,” by Savitri Hensman, on the Guardian Web site. Hensman, you may recall, wrote the well-researched paper “Rewriting History: Scapegoating the Episcopal Church.”

I don’t often write posts primarily to refer readers to material elsewhere, but I want to make a rare exception in this case. My point in “Mistaken Primate” was that Rowan Williams’ priorities seem misplaced. (At best, they are counterintuitive to this Episcopalian.) I have no doubt that many will view my comments as being pedantic and uncharitable. Hensman, on the other hand, points to an instance of distorted priorities on the part of the Archbishop of Canterbury that rises to the level of being life-threatening, though it is not his life that is being threatened. Her last paragraph:
Meanwhile, at the Lambeth conference, the Archbishop of Canterbury appealed for a “covenant of faith” that would “promise to our fellow human beings the generosity God has shown us”, and suggested “a Pastoral Forum to support minorities”. But to him, those needing greater generosity and pastoral care were mainly Christians with strong objections to same-sex partnerships. While he is a humane man, his priorities seem strange. If Anglicans are to remain relevant, and a force for good, bishops need to listen more carefully to people like Michael Causer’s family.
As Hensman explains earlier in her piece, Michael Causer was recently killed in an apparently homophobic attack. Seemingly, however, people like the 18-year-old Causer are less in need of “generosity and pastoral care” than, say, Bishop of Pittsburgh Robert W. Duncan or Bishop John-David Schofield, late of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. Surely much of the value of the Anglican Communion lies in the willingness of its spiritual leader to offer such abstruse moral insights to the ignorant Anglican faithful.

"Too big a tent” can be read in its entirety here.

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