Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How Guests Behave

In January of 1692, a regiment of Campbells received the hospitality of MacDonald of Glencoe. After several days as guests, and acting on a royal warrant, the Campbells arose in the earlier morning and undertook to slaughter all the MacDonald men they could find.

More than 300 years later, the story of the Massacre of Glencoe continues to resonate. Even in those violent times, even among the partisans of the 1688 revolution, the perfidious actions of Campbell of Glenlyon were seen as an appalling violation of the laws of hospitality. You just don't rise up in the morning and kill your host. It's not on.

Certainly I'd be put out if my guests rose up in the morning to kill me.

I'd even be annoyed if they just stole my stuff.

Heck, grumpy old curmudgeon that I am, I'd even be ticked if all they did was trample my xeriscaped front yard.

We have certain expectations of how guests ought to behave. And those expectations apply especially to uninvited guests.

If you invite me to your house, I don't necessarily guarantee that I'll be the best guest you've ever had. But I absolutely promise not to trample your lawn, snoop through your medicine chest, steal your possessions, be reckless with your expensive crystal. I certainly won't rise up in the morning to kill you.

Perhaps most importantly, if you tell me that now isn't a good time to visit, I promise to leave. Or if you call me in advance to tell me, I'll change my plans to leave you undisturbed.

That's because I know how a guest behaves.

The Archbishop of Abuja, apparently, does not.

Last month, Peter Akinola and all the usual suspects announced a conference for the "orthodox" to be held in Jerusalem in advance of the Lambeth Conference.

Lacking even the basic idea of how to behave in public, it never actually occurred to any of them to call the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem to see what he thought of the idea.

It's not like Bishop Dawani of Jerusalem is one of those evil hell-bound liberals (tm) that Peter Akinola and his Manichaean cum Docetist friends believe they should treat rudely. Dawani's views on "the" issue are certainly closer to Peter Akinola's than to mine.

But Peter Akinola has no manners. Oh sure, there was the proforma letter mailed on Christmas Eve, a full two days before the faux-orthodox made their big announcement. The kindest interpretation one can put to Akinola's behaviour is that he was too stupid to realize that a letter mailed internationally to Jerusalem over Christmas would take more than two days to arrive.

I don't think Akinola is stupid.

Peter Akinola simply doesn't give a rat's backside what Bishop Dawani thinks.

Akinola's arrogance, once again, had led him to overplay his hand. As the backlash to the conference (aptly named GafCon) grew, he was forced to make some concession to Bishop Dawani's concerns.

The minutes of Peter Akinola's meeting with Suheil Dawani make for interesting reading.

I don't have much use for Archbishop Jenson of Sydney either, but Jensen at least manages to appear like something less than an utter prat. He gives the appearance of actually taking Dawani's concerns seriously.

Akinola, on the other hand, is true to form. He dismisses Dawani's concerns as being fanciful and of no import. He implies that Dawani's failure to fall into step constitutes some infringement on the freedom of the "orthodox." He dissembles (at least) about the agenda of the conference and then, in a frenzy of Orwellian Newspeak, denies the conference is a conference at all.

As an Anglican who believes the historic strength of our Communion has been its capacity to accept internal disagreement, I find the attempts to impose an extreme Calvinist fundamentalism to be disturbing, distasteful and frankly dishonest.

But then I consider the arrogant buster of the Primate of Nigeria, and I consider myself blessed in my opponents.

As Akinola's arrogance drives away his natural allies, I wonder what the faux-orthodox might have accomplished with effective leadership.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Two interesting tidbits from the Anglican blogosphere.

First of all, the American Presiding Bishop has inhibited the Rt. Rev's John David Schofield. John David was the Episcopal Bishop of San Joaquin. About a month ago, he and his synod declared that Fresno, California and the surrounding counties were now part of South America, and he now styles himself the Anglican Bishop of San Joaquin.

Second, with thanks to Mad Priest and the Times of London. Apparently a motion has been tabled in the British House of Commons calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England. It is motion #666.

My darling wife and I depart in a few hours for a winter holiday. Anyone know a decent church in Los Angeles close to the Westin Long Beach?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Jurgen Moltman?

I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I took the What Theologian Are You? quiz, and here were my results.

I don't know much about Jurgen Moltmann, but a quick read on Wikipedia suggests to me I'm okay with it. I'm a bit more distressed that I scored so high of John Calvin and so low on both Anselm and Augustine.

I must go ponder this.


Which theologian are you?
You scored as a Jürgen Moltmann
The problem of evil is central to your thought, and only a crucified God can show that God is not indifferent to human suffering. Christian discipleship means identifying with suffering but also anticipating the new creation of all things that God will bring about.
Jürgen Moltmann

John Calvin

Friedrich Schleiermacher

Martin Luther

Paul Tillich



Charles Finney

Jonathan Edwards

Karl Barth


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Archbishop of Canterbury's New Year's Message

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has released a New Year's message in both text and video formats.

Techno-amateur I am, I don't know how to embed the YouTube video here, but it is at the bottom of the text page.

I particularly like the emphasis on God's faithfulness in relationships.

Perhaps that is why his Church has always viewed schism as a bad thing.