Certainly my suggestion that bishops for the most part run along train tracks and grooves of predictability receives great support from two episcopal companions on the Anglican road (not that everyone wants to break bread with them). Some thought these companions had retired to the Great Rest Home for Bishops, fading away from our reckoning like the sun enshrouded by the mist.
But, no! They yet liveth. Did someone let them out for the afternoon? Did a Lambeth official give them a pass key to re-enter the public domain? Either way, they have blessed us with their predictability; they have not let us down by doing anything surprising or unexpected. They are utterly reliable, which is more than can be said for most New Zealand sports teams or the NZ Labour Party.
Drum roll for Bishop John Spong:
"In his address, Spong declared Christianity's "old symbols increasingly are bankrupt ... [and] the new symbols have not yet fully arisen so that they are recognized." He compared the present day with that of Augustine, Aquinas, or the 16th-century Reformers - a moment of "paradigm shift" that "calls for the death of what has been and the birth of what is to be - and that is never a comfortable time." In particular, he said, the titles "savior," "redeemer," and "rescuer" applied to Jesus in liturgies, hymns, and sermons have "become bankrupt, useless, and even distorted ... I think all of them have got to go." " [H/T Bryan Owen at Creedal Christian].That man is perfectly predictable. Has he had a new and surprising thought since, oh, I do not know, about 1975?
Ah, dear reader, you are thinking to yourself, PC is, once again, having a go at the Anglican left. Indeed I am. But I can do balance, so drums at the ready for the next roll, this time in the direction of the Anglican right.
Drum roll for Archbishop Peter Akinola:
"Archbishop Peter Akinola, retired Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria, has enthusiastically endorsed Nigeria’s anti-gay bill which would impose criminal penalties on same-sex unions and LGBT gatherings." [H/T Thinking Anglicans].That man also, is perfectly predictable. Would it enter his head to offer something by way of a compassionate and humanitarian thought about his fellow countrymen and women?
He and Spong do not share that gene of unpredictability. Do not blame them folks. They have been made the way they are! Cue debate: did God make them that way? Is it a result of structural sin in the Anglican church constructing them the way they are? Is predictability of the esse of Anglican bishops or the bene esse? Should we blame their fathers? Their school teachers (rote learning?)?
If only that Lambeth official could find them and help them back into retirement. We need some excitement in the Anglican Communion and what could be more exciting than to discover an Anglican bishop saying something unexpected? Like ...
+Mark Lawrence: "I have invited ++Katharine Jefferts Schori to speak at our next diocesan convention."
++Peter Jensen: "Darn it, I will ordain Genieve Blackwell."
+Chuck Murphy: "I go out to the letterbox each day to see if further instructions have arrived from Rwanda."
++Rowan Williams: "Hegel? I have moved on. Ayn Rand is my new guru."