- Yes, because I’ve been invited. Since 1867 it’s been the Archbishop’s personal bash. Does it have to be a Big Boys Business meeting for it to be worth my while? I am just not self-regarding enough to mind. If Rowan wants a Vatican Council Theme Party, fine. If he wants to partay by showing us his Simpsons Videos, fine. It's his party, not mine. There is a self-important little prat in me who feels business meetings matter more than parties. Jesus disagrees. The Sanhedrin has business meetings on Thursday nights. Jesus has a meal with his friends. This is a matter of substance as well as style. The 1662 Book of Common Prayer says how grievous and unkind a thing it is, when a man hath prepared a rich feast, decked his table with all kind of provision, so that there lacketh nothing but the guests to sit down; and yet they who are called (without any cause) most unthankfully refuse to come.
- Actually, there are bishops with whom I don’t look forward to sitting down. They say some of my African brothers are systematically breaking the Ten commandments, indulging with their governments in envy, false witness and theft. These are primary moral laws. How do I feel about sitting down with people like that? Well, hang on, how do they feel about sitting down with me? The real question here is, who do I think I am? God? Perhaps we all need a bit of a reality check, here. We all have consciences, and we must all render account. How about I render account for my sins, and they render account for theirs? How can I comment on my zealous but misguided sister Vivien's Matthew 7:1 / I Corinthians 4:5 free zone, and then forget what an old Evangelical street preacher told me years ago — when you point your finger at someone else, three fingers point back at you? If I overcome my pride and we sit down together, I can listen to their side of the story, learn whether what people say about them is true anyway, and then we can pray together, and God will help us both to help each other to walk faithfully as disciples in our different circumstances.
- But what about the Windsor report and Lambeth 1:10? Well, this kitchen is full of dark pots and kettles. I don't believe in gay weddings, but have I worked as hard as Lambeth 1:10 asked, to listen to and understand gay people’s experience? Honestly, I doubt it. Has the Episcopal Church complied with the Windsor/primates process? They seem to have tried, a damn sight harder than brothers who have ordained other provinces’ dissidents as bishops, flying directly in the face of the Windsor/ primates plan. Why should I be a hypocrite and apply a double standard? All this proves is what I knew all along, that I am as big a sinner as my brother, and we all need grace, and we all need to talk. That's an argument for coming together, not walking apart.
- I'm not an Anglican for the sake of being an Anglican, but in order to be a Christian. You always need a higher vision of the kingdom than of the Church, or you cannot begin to understand how to be Church. There are many interesting discussions to be had about contemporary anthropology, post imperialism, and moral theology, but none of those things matters as much to me as what Jesus did on the cross, breaking down every dividing wall, and showing me how to think differently. Why can I not sit down with my colleagues? Hannibal Lecter could talk with Agent Starling. Less facetiously, Ian Pasley can work with Gerry Adams, and F. W deClerk could talk to Nelson Mandela. Thank God. One reason they could, was because Jesus sat down at the Last Supper two along from Judas Iscariot.
So who can I NOT talk to, and why not?