Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reasonable Expectations

Taking a cue from some perceptive comments to the post below, here are some reasonable expectations about the next ABC, likely to be settled on re the internal process of appointment by the end of this week ...

A man. Wherever drawn from, the ABC will be a C of E bishop and thus must be a man.

A person with ability to speak in such a way that draws Anglicans together rather than divides or polarises us. This rules out an extremist, a known polariser, but could allow in a 'grey man' who never offends.

Probably an evangelical (in some sense of that term). An informal protocol is that ABCs alternate from different wings of the C of E. If that protocol is followed then the next ABC will be 'evangelical.'

Unquestionably an orthodox believer who will uphold the creedal faith of Anglican Christians. This is no time to appoint an ABC who from day one is dogged by questions as to whether he believes that Christ rose from the dead.

Someone versed in the ways of English culture and politics. The ABC is the C of E's senior bishop, sits in the House of Lords, and easy target for journalists looking for a headline. A bishop with a British passport somewhere in the former colonies is unlikely to be appointed.

A healthy, fit, robust person. Whether or not the demands of the post are too much, ought to be shared with another 'presidential' person, etc, the reality is that from day one the post will continue for the time being as it is: extremely demanding of time and energy. 

Does such a candidate exist? I think so. In my view there are two or three candidates. I also suggest we continue to reckon with the possibility of a surprise.

6 comments:

carl jacobs said...

Peter Carrell

I must admit I find this post mystifying. The first criterion I would mention is this:

Unquestionably an orthodox believer who will uphold the creedal faith of Anglican Christians. This is no time to appoint an ABC who from day one is dogged by questions as to whether he believes that Christ rose from the dead.

Should I infer from this statement that there might be occasions when a man who denies that Christ rose form the dead could be appointed AoC? Why in fact does this even need to be stated? It should be an essential prerequisite for even being considered. The man who denies that Christ rose from the dead is not even a Christian. How then could he be a legitimate leader in a Christian church?

Which leads me to this criterion:

A person with ability to speak in such a way that draws Anglicans together rather than divides or polarises us. This rules out an extremist, a known polariser, but could allow in a 'grey man' who never offends.

I wonder about the definition of a 'polarizer' or an 'extremist.' Have I identified myself as an 'extremist by saying "The man who denies that Christ rose from the dead is not even a Christian." I would not at all be interested "drawing together" those who disagree on this issue. I should not bring peace, but rather a sword.

The problem is not properly identified as two sides that need to learn how to dialogue or relate. The problem is that two different religions occupy the same organization. This situation is unsustainable. The underlying premise of your argument is that there is some legitimacy to Liberal Christianity. There isn't. It is the unwillingness of institutionalists to face this reality that perpetuates the slow inevitable disintegration of the AC. It doesn't matter who becomes the AoC. He cannot reconcile mutually exclusive religions into a coherent whole.

As I have said many times, you must choose which religion you wish to follow. You can't keep one foot in both camps because the two sides are pulling apart, and you can only stretch your lives so far.

carl

Janice said...

Carl,

Look up "Peter Carnley".

Simon said...

George Pitcher's article in the New Statesman is the most insightful and perceptive of the recent coverage Peter has listed. The others are inclined to rehearse what has been said for months.

He quotes Andy Flannagan of the CSM who says "Rowan led with the nuance necessary, rather than retreating to the safety of a tribe." Irrespective of what we were personally disappointed that Rowan did or didn't do during his time in office, my hunch is that in a few years time members of the C of E and Anglicans worldwide will begin to realise what a quite outstanding A B of C he was, and we will be missing his wisdom, intellect and holinees at the helm.


And as Fr Perry Butler has noted elsewhere and Bishop Pete Broadbent has attested (on TA, I think), since the Canterbury diocesan reps on the CNC number six, if they are in agreement over a particular candidate and can get a few others on board, their favoured candidate will be an almost certainty.

Anonymous said...

Peter,The protocol of which you speak is not laid down anywhere, and has operated "sort of" since Donald Coggan followed Michael Ramsay ( I think Fisher's churchmanship defies labelling).None of the men currently talked about are "party"men, certainly none are extremist..no diocesan bishop in the C of E is ( can you think of any?)Sentamu / Jones /Welby /Cocksworth all have evangelical roots but frankly none were ever conservative evangelicals and all have moved considerably in embracing other traditions..all are now more sacramental and liturgical than when they were as curates,one or two are probably more liberal on some issues than they were. Since what you wear seems to figure rather more in the C of E than it does elsewhere...then all wear chasubles when asked, swing incense and even in some cases preside at Corpus Christi Processions!!..and they all sing worship songs too!The problem ( if it is that) with those under 60 is a lack of experience. They are still finding their feet as bishops.
Sentamu has charisma and a popular touch with the laity..but he has weaknesses.Jones has clearly won plaudits with the recent Hillsborough report and has done a good job in Liverpool.James I suspect doesnt relish the job but does at least know what it involves...he is ,of course, a liberal catholic ( old style)and has been so all his life.Chartres has presence and is articulate both in speaking and writing. He is "politically"astute. He has eccentricities not least a liturgical style that seems to owe a lot to Russian Orthodoxy!He is traditional but not,I would judge, a traditionalist in a reactionary sense...he has a historical mind and an excellent grasp of the nature of the C of E's role as a National Church.To be honest, there is no obvious successor this time, just as there wasnt when Ramsay retired.The Commission will have to weigh the situation up, and the needs of the time, very carefully. Over the next three days they need all our prayers.

Perry Butler

Father Ron Smith said...

"As I have said many times, you must choose which religion you wish to follow. You can't keep one foot in both camps because the two sides are pulling apart, and you can only stretch your lives so far."

The (oft-repeated) suggestion that there are 'two different religions' involved in the Anglican Communion is rather silly.The fact that there are (at least) two points of view about particular aspects of the Christian Faith does not constitute an argument for 'two different religions'.

If the writer of the original (and endlessly following) comment feels that he represents one particular 'religion' while other Anglicans represent another, I would suggest that he needs to lighten up and smell the flowers.

Because one person feels alienated from the rest of us Anglicans - on account of what s/he perceives as a being of a 'different religion" - I would think they need to re-think their faith basis & affiliation.

Shawn said...

I agree with Carl that one of the problems facing the AC is that two different religions are trying to occupy the same institution.

This is not a matter of different points of view. On the issue if the rwssurection, there is only one valid view. Christ rose bodily from death and now lives and reigns forever at the right hand of the Father. Any Christian minister who preaches otherwise is not giving a different point of view, but espousing a different religion altogether.

Two radically different religions cannot occupy the same institutional space.

We need an ABC who recognizes this and is not afraid to offend those who preach the false religion of Liberalism.