Under the surface I also took his method as a good one to copy, where you only speak of others using terms they would use of themselves, putting yourself in their position. This makes a refreshing change from some of the hostile suspicion and namecalling that has taken place, which is in itself unworthy of the people concerned.
Our group this morning felt we needed to begin with reality. We can all fixate on “if only’s” — if only the US bishops hadn’t proceeded, if only Lambeth 1998 hadn’t been so mismanaged and poorly led, if only the Nigerians had come. All this is fantasy. The Chief Rabbi’s holy pragmatism was a better starting point. Rowan is inviting us to be more humble, to listen, to repent, to enlarge our hearts. This means dying to our fantasy rallying points and hostile preconceptions, so that we attain a state of reality, responding to the call to life of the Lord who called Lazarus to life. If, on the other hand, we just cant let go of that stuff, then we stay in the tomb. The life of Anglicanism does not depend on the institutional wellbeing of Anglican structures, which will plainly have to morph, bend and perhaps even break. It’s a simple spiritual choice, really.
To think of Rowan as some master-technicial whose job is to develop some bolt-on solution, like perpetual motion or nuclear fusion, is a cop-out. What he can do is
- to put us back in touch with the healing resources of Scripture and core Christian tradition
- cast honest and godly visions,
- bring home to people the realities of what they are really saying,
- model the processes he commends,
- scope the realities of this passing world for us, but also those of a world which will never end.