September 6, 2009

The Heterosectual Communion

The soi-disant Anglican Communion Institute has a knack for inverting the old Latin tag, "the mountains labored and bore a mouse." In this case the gang of three, augmented by an attorney and a bishop, have given birth to a mountain of verbiage which in the long run, fundamentally flawed as it is, amounts to less than a mole-hill.

The attorney in question, Mr. McCall, of whose eccentric writings I have commented elsewhere, is apparently retired from the field of international law, in which, one hopes, he had some skill in practice. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, when your only tool is a hammer everything looks like a nail, and so this paper applies the international law definition of the word autonomy to the very different ecclesiastical context, in which it has an almost antithetical meaning, and the more basic one, "self-governing." The notion of comparing the autonomy of a member church of the Anglican Communion (there being no superior synod as of yet) to an autonomous indigenous people living within the borders of another superior state — well, that is not the closest parallel I think most Anglicans would light upon. But as I say, Mr. McCall has trod that path before, with that peculiar leapfrog of governance from diocese to communion without recognition of the provincial authority that is, in fact, at the head of the governing hierarchy.

The more serious problem with this paper is its failure to understand the essential premise under which the Anglican Communion is actually working — pace Bishop Wright's and Ephraim Radner's insistence otherwise. That they both have worked at the behest of the Archbishop of Canterbury does not necessarily indicate that they have fully grasped the intent of his program — which is unity in difference, not division because of it. It should be clear to anyone but the most heart-set on purity of doctrine that the Archbishop desperately wants to keep the Communion together, not preside over its division.

The purpose for drafting a Covenant is not to ensure that all who agree to it will think and act alike and so because of that uniformity of thinking and doing stay together . (If that were the purpose, it is doomed from the start.)

The purpose of the Covenant is to ensure that we will stay together precisely when we have differences — that we won't start flying apart the next time some contentious issue comes along, as no doubt it will. The Covenant is designed to deal with future disagreements, not to settle the differences of the past or present. (Some suggest that this cause is equally doomed from the start.)

But the bright light at the tunnel's end is not, I think, a train heading our way. I sense a greater willingness in the Communion to hang together, to accept some of the differences of the recent past and present as not "communion-breaking" and certainly not as rendering participation by the majority of the member churches — including TEC — impossible. This is why the folks at ACI expend such futile energy in painting a very different picture — a picture of an Anglican Communion no longer inclusive of TEC, or anyone else who thinks otherwise than they do on an assortment of topics.

Fortunately, the language of the Covenant is not about settling the controversies, but about living with them. It is about the manner of life to be followed by the Communion as a whole, its chosen lifestyle, if you will: shall it be one that embraces difference of opinion under a loving and overarching charity; or shall it give in to the old fissiparousness that has plagued Western Christendom from long before the Reformation?

In short, How best can the Many be One.

Paul the Apostle provided one answer: unity in Christ in which the various organs of the body retain their different gifts and functions, and yet are part of one body, under one Head, who is Christ, and in whom unity emerges not from uniformity, but through fellowship, a vibrant fellowship that relishes its own heterogeneity and delights in its manifold gifts.

The ACI provides the other sort of answer, the uniformity that seeks to place some other thing in God's place -- unity itself idolized into a Golden Calf, to which difference is sacrificed, beaten to a homogenized pulp.

Little ones, keep away from idols.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

33 comments:

R said...

Thank you, once again, Tobias, for illuminating an otherwise circular debate that revolves around questions perpetuated by the ACI and others:

Does their interpretation of the Covenant suggest the process of its development was poisoned from the start? Put another way: Despite the ABC's best intentions, did an intended organ of unity manifest as an instrument of punitive action?

The California Deputation found itself recently discussing these questions in light of the Ridley-Cambridge Draft, and we are far from alone. I remain concerned, given Jenny Te Paa's concerns articulated in the Chicago Consultation and before the House of Deputies at General Convention, that the Covenant process remains dangerously close to being unsalvageable.

God's grace will out, of course, but the latest ACI mountain does nothing to help.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thank you, Richard. I believe, if one charts out the trajectory of the various drafts, that even though what was plainly wanted was a real Covenant (an agreement to remain together), certain participants in the drafting process had a more exclusionary end in view -- and that as reactions were formed to the various drafts, they began slowly to migrate back in the direction of the original intent, as the punitive elements were pared back or reframed. Thus the present draft has had its "tail" removed for even further attenuation, and the first three sections are far less problematical. I encourage people to read those first three sections with care, and ask themselves, 'What, specifically, is wrong here?' and 'What would happen if we were to sign this document?'

Obviously the most irate of GAFCON have already walked away from the table -- literally. The ACI folks, paradoxically, seem not to want (or hold it impossible for) the Episcopal Church to enter into the Covenant -- thus betraying their underlying desire for exclusion (as if Radner's and Wright's other public comments left any doubt.) They are still trying to spin the Covenant as if it was what they really wanted in the first draft -- and it plainly is no longer what it was.

So we should be dealing neither with their spin nor the past incarnations of the Covenant, but what it actually says now, and consider whether it is worth engaging in for the good of the wider church. My sense is that it is now a relatively tame paper tiger, and we risk little by committing to it.

But I'm in the process of reviewing it once again myself. I urge all to do that, with eyes as fresh as possible.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Bravo! In Sweden the Lectionary reaches Christian Unity next Sunday...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I read the Draft again. Part I seemed all right. In Part 2, I didn't like the tone of the evangelism section. It had a fundamentalist ring to it. "Repentance", "judgment". It did not sound like the Episcopal Church that I know, even the church in the conservative South.

Part 3 seemed heavily focused on bishops and primates, with a nod to clergy, and the laity nearly squeezed out of notice. In truth, I don't see the church I know signing on to this covenant with conviction.

Bryan Owen said...

Regardless of what anyone thinks of this particular paper by Wright & Co., I do think that Rowan Williams' question from his 2006 statement "The Challenge and Hope of Being an Anglican Today" is on the mark: " ... are we prepared to work at a common life which doesn't just reflect the interests and beliefs of one group but tries to find something that could be in everyone's interest - recognising that this involves different sorts of costs for everyone involved?"

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Mimi, those are fair critiques. On the Part II observation, I think it fair to note that the Evangelicalism in much of the Communion is far more extreme than what you are likely to find even in the US South of forty years ago. I think one would be hard-pressed to find large segments of TEC with anything like a Sydney-mentality -- a few individuals, perhaps, but not large swathes of the church populace.

The question is, I think, and as Bryan's quote from Rowan suggests, "Are we prepared to live together in a church that has such a wide range of opinion?" The Sydneyites have already given us an answer -- as Puritans generally will. They want no part of a Covenant that will include views at opposition to their own. My challenge is to ask if we "liberals" can be truly liberal in maintaining the big tent from which the rabid reactionaries will flee, or shall we be just as intolerant as they. I think progressives can live with moderate conservatives (if they are truly progressive) but arch-conservatives can't really live with anybody: which, as I noted in an earlier post, is why such groups tend to self-isolate and calve off of the main body. (The same is sometimes true of "wifty" liberals, of course, but their departure is usually much less involved with stamping of feet and slamming of doors, and so they pass from the scene and into obscurity rather more quietly.)

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I suppose those of us in TEC could continue our manner of evangelizing even if we signed on to the covenant, but what about the centralization of power in the primates and bishops? That section of Part 3 is quite disturbing to me. Certain primates and bishops already seem intoxicated by their sense of power, and we are asked to yield more to that small, mostly male group in the covenant. Clergy and laity are pretty much left out of consideration as having much of a voice. As I understand it, the text of the first three parts of the Draft is pretty well fixed.

The laity pay for the operations of the church, yet I get the sense from the Draft that we are to be quiet, give our money, and let the primates and bishops decide the weighty matters that will so much affect lay folks and priests. I'd think that the clergy might be concerned by the small role laid out for them in Part 3.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Mimi, I guess I'm just not seeing "power" at work here. Yes, there is some emphasis on bishops, but we are, after all, an Episcopal church. It seems to me that paragraph 3.1.2 offers a decent description of how each member church of the communion is to govern itself, joining with other churches not rhgouth some centralized government, but as a fellowship who choose to remain together. The Instruments of Communion / Unity do not govern, but provide the forums for conversation and fellowship. The language in the current draft has deliberately moved away from "governance" language to "sharing, discerning" and so on. And all the orders of ministry are involved, both sacramentally (3.1.1), in the synods (3.1.2 -- yes, led by bishops, but well, they are, arent' they?), listed out as the "ministers" (= service 3.1.3), in the consensus fidelium (3.1.4). Moreover, significant recognition is given to the ACC, where laity and clergy have equal votes, and the descriptions of the ABC and Lambeth, and even the Primates, circumscribes them to tasks of worship, counsel, and cooperation. As to Primates, their "authority" is strictly spelled out as connected with their own position in their own province, deriving from that position and answerable to it; and primarily ordered towards collaboration in mission and addressing matters of communion-wide importance. That does not give them "power" but it calls them to service -- that is how I read the whole section of the document.

I think the question for us is the same as the one Frank Griswold asked the HoB prior to the vote on the consents to the election of Gene Robinson: Do we live in fear or in hope?

Personally, I am not afraid of the Instruments of Communion; and I have the confidence that the Truth of the Gospel will prevail. So for me it all depends on whether Section 4 will be re-cast in a direction that supports the call to service rather than the imposition of power. That would make it consistent with the rest of the Covenant.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I understand that we are an episcopal church, and in many ways, I consider that a good and helpful way for a church to function. I see many advantages to that structure over a congregational structure. I accept that TEC is structured with bishops and dioceses, even as I see certain bishops in TEC making mischief and undermining their own church. I don't like it, but I accept it a consequence of our polity.

However, I'm not willing to cede control of TEC to bishops in other countries, for good or for ill. If the bonds of affection and the instruments of communion already in place are not enough to hold us together, then so be it. I'm not willing to give away more.

To speak plainly, (and perhaps I shouldn't on your blog, perhaps I should save this sort of comment for my own blog, where I can rant freely) I think the covenant is a cockamamie idea, and that we have already wasted far too much money, time, and attention on it that could better be spent elsewhere.

Tim said...

I like the idea of it being an idol.

The Scottish Episcopalians got it right, I think: we don't want a covenant (auto-governing rulebook, cf most of scripture on "legalism"); we want a concordat (celebration of what unity we've had to date).

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Dear Mimi,
I welcome plain speech, especially from one who speaks so clearly.

At the same time, I don't see the present first three sections of the Covenant ceding any "control" to the outside. The only thing the Communion can control will be things like invitations to Lambeth, the structure of the ACC, and so on. All the rest -- in fact, 99% (or more) of what each church does, will be completely unaffected by the Covenant -- and all "submission" to decisions of the Instruments will be, of necessity, voluntary. The Covenant is only intended to govern inter-Anglican relationships (and that not entirely, since individual groups of provinces will still be able to form their own clusters for mission). This is one of the reasons that the "dioceses signing on" is a non-starter.

Tom, yes, Concordat is a better description of the Covenant than "covenant."

Doorman-Priest said...

I'm with Mimi!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I had a thought. (Always a dangerous undertaking!) Suppose after 49 years of marriage, Grandpère said to me, "Sweetie, I know that we have been joined in the bonds of affection for 49 years, but now we need a covenant that says this, this, and this." If he asked me for a covenant now, wouldn't that be an indication that he believed that our relationship was somehow lacking? Wouldn't he be putting our relationship to the test? Suppose I said, "That is ridiculous and insulting. I won't do it. We've been married for 49 years! What on earth have we been about?" What then?

I know that all analogies fail at some point, but this one comes close to describing how I feel about the covenant in the Anglican Communion. It's setting conditions on an already established relationship.

As I see it, we are in communion if we share Communion at the table of the Lord. Those who choose to stay away from the table are those who are out of communion.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

That is a helpful analogy, but not a complete one in this case. Because you and GP did have a written, legal covenant that you entered into when you married, not just an affectionate union. A better analogy would be the couple that live together for a long time and then decide to marry. In fact I usually see this as a sign of trouble -- or rather a reaction to trouble that simply isn't out in the open, and an effort to overcome the trouble. That, I think, is a damn close -- probably too close -- analogy to the covenant exercise.

However, as the Covenant that is being proposed is less than a marriage, I do think it worthy of exploring on its own merits -- not for the spin that folks on the conservative side place: in fact, they know that the Covenant will not "discipline" TEC, and that's why many on that side don't want to be part of it, and continue their blatant violation of the Windsor recommendations -- and among them are those who have also walked away from the Communion Table -- literally. I think it is worth the effort to explore adding a bit of definition and structure to the relationships that continue among those who are willing to remain together -- and that can include us, contrary to the ACI's recent assertions. (They still want to see the Covenant as the mechanism of discipline rather than as a movement forward from -- I won't say from engagement to marriage, as the Covenant isn't that strong, as I said before -- but from dating to going steady, or maybe even going steady to engagement. At this point that is all I think we can do, and maybe it is all we should do! That's why I remain open to the Covenant: I think it will help us in mission and cooperation with the rest of the Communion; and I see value in that. As to the angry disciplinarians -- they are welcome to walk apart in their own "tier" or "track" and continue as Anglicans, but without participation in the Instruments -- as in fact a number of them already have withdrawn from Lambeth participation. As you see, I'm looking at this very differently from the way it is presented by the "Right."

Grandmère Mimi said...

Tobias, I agree that your analogy of the couple who live together for a long time and then decide to get married is much better and closer to the mark.

My word verification is "minkloo". Imagine!

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Rabelais comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

So, the question to ask is, what if Gene Robinson were elected in a post-Covenant Communion? What would have been different?

If nothing, then what's the point?

If he would have been blocked, then is that really what you want?

--IT, who is traveling

MarkBrunson said...

I can think of nothing that more seeks to promote one group while laying the cost at everyone else's door, nothing that more determined pursues the interests and benefits of one group than the vision of "communion" that Rowan Williams and his covenant present.

Erika Baker said...

Well, if we're looking for analogies, isn't it rather the case that one of the partners is happy to continue going steady in a relationship marked by mutual respect, whereas the other partner is insisting on something more legally binding, because he feels that that is the only way to discipline the other?

Whether the legal framework of the engagement in fact provides for disciplining ones partner or not is almost irrelevant. Important for the true spirit of the marriage is that one of the partners would like it to be so.
This couple needs relationship counselling to see if there is a way towards re-establishing the love and respect for each other they have clearly lost. Simply imposing a new framework is not a helpful solution.

In real life, statistics show that couples who marry after long periods of cohabitation are much more likely go their own ways within a few short years of marriage than those who married early on in their relationship, or those who continue to cohabit.

Here, too, you can already see the future arguments shaping up. Those will want to over-interpret the Covenant will do so, regardless of what it actually says, those who will want to sit lightly to it will also do so, thinning its purpose to less than it might have to be to be an effective tool in holding the parties together.

The Convenant will only ever be truly successful if all signatories want it to be. For that, they will have to compromise…. and this whole muddle only arose because that is the one thing they cannot do.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

IT, safe travels. As to the question about Gene -- this fills in with what I see as the overarching intent of the Covenant, and indeed of the Listening Process (with which I am now officially involved). The Conservatives want to see the Covenant as a means to stop such things happening. The ABC and the Listening Process people see the Covenant as a way to allow such developments to happen without the chaotic tears in the fabric. This doesn't mean they will succeed, but that is the intent. Had the Covenant been in place, we would have had some guidelines on how to deal with the issue: including "No one is to sever Communion." That might not have flown, but that is the goal, the vision, for the Covenant -- not about agreement in all things, but about commitment to stay together in spite of tensions.

And. Erika, in partial response to your question, I think the majority of the Provinces are capable of doing that. Those that can't won't, Covenant or no Covenant. They have already left the table.

Erika, I think we have to realize that the Covenant conversation no longer includes the extremists on the right. They will not adopt a Covenant that includes TEC. They want discipline and punishment, and that is not going to happen.

I agree entirely -- I've said so many times -- that a time of tension is not the best time to try to set down rules. A couple with troubles should not marry in the hopes that marriage will "solve" the troubles. But the Covenant Process is slow -- it's the Conservatives that want to keep their feet on the gas, as they know that time is against them; and the deliberately slow process of the Covenant will winnow out a good many of the most irascible, who simply cannot wait for the establishment of a Puritan State -- which ain't gonna happen.

You are also correct that the Covenant will not "solve" many issues simply because already people are interpreting it in myriad ways -- we can't even agree about a means to agree! (It reminds me of the Vietnam era debates about the shape of the conference table.)

But I think you have it right in your last comment, and MarkB, that is what my hope is, rather than your more pessimistic view: that those who sign on will be willing to live with tensions and disagreements -- not in "compromise for the sake of peace, but comprehension for the sake of truth." That is a vision worth pursuing.

Marshall said...

Well, Siblings, since we've opened up the analogy of relationships, we also need to remember that whether dating, "pinned," engaged, or married (have I left any reasonable possibilities out? And I don't consider "friends with benefits" a reasonable possibility), relationships have to be discussed, engaged, and re-evaluated. When I do premarital education with a couple, I'm clear that good relationship is work: blessed work and literally a labor of love, but work. I know the old punny aphorism about the word "assume" is trite; but I remind couples that it is the issues that we don't talk about that come back to bite us - and that's where they bite!

So, I do see come possible benefit to this Windsor Process, this Covenant Process, this Listening Process, in helping us be clear about how we understand our relationships, our own needs, and our abilities (and limitations) in responding to the needs of others. Whether that includes benefit in a Covenant itself is a separate issue (and especially a strong "NO" on Section 4). And certainly proclaiming that one particular conclusion is the only and permanent conclusion isn't helpful; indeed, it's simply another assumption. But if we're going to be in relationships, working to understand those relationships more clearly is worthwhile.

(The verification is "spliu" - which looks to me like a disordered "split" indeed!)

Grandmère Mimi said...

As to the question about Gene -- this fills in with what I see as the overarching intent of the Covenant, and indeed of the Listening Process (with which I am now officially involved).

Tobias, good news, indeed, that you are officially involved in the Listening Process. That gives me hope.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Marshall, that's it in a nutshell. It is about understanding diversity, not demanding conformity or uniformity -- except in those matters all agree require a uniform view -- Salvation matters.

I commend to all Phil Groves' volume on "The Anglican Communion and Homosexuality" particularly the opening chapters about the Listening Process. I'm afraid we in the US have been misled a good deal by hearing too much from people like NT Wright -- who, just because he was part of the Windsor Process doesn't mean he speaks for it as a whole, any more than Peter Akinola actually speaks for all Anglicans in Africa. (Rowan Smith of Cape Town put that falsehood to rest at G.C.) He and folks like the ACI have spun the Windsor Process, the Primates' Statements, and other documents (Rowan's recent "reflections") to their own ends.

Mimi, yes: I'm off to London this weekend for the first meeting of a Reference Group designed to assist with the Listening Process, or as it is now called, "Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening." The important thing is that GLBT people are actually being included rather than being talked about -- as Phil Groves' book makes clear.

David |Dah • veed| said...

Marshall, you forgot "living in sin", because in some jurisdictions, that is all we have.

Christopher said...

Another way to look at this is to think of this as a winnowing process by which we are determining which interpretations are within the bounds of faithfulness and which aren't in relation to "inclusion." This will likely span a range from those who would require celibacy to those who would uphold faithful unions. What will likely not be acceptable is coercion or violence on the one end or promiscuity on the other. Since we have no singular official means to determine what is acceptable interpretation, as Stephen Sykes reminds that our authority is dispersed (not a bad thing), we have conversational processes.

Marshall said...

Well, David (Dah-veed), I acknowledge your point. Still, those couples would do better to be explicit about their relationships, too - especially when there's no other way the relationships will be recognized. At that point, no small part of the sin is ours, not theirs.

On the other hand, so few who do have options actually see themselves as "living in sin" that it would be hard to make the argument to those who need it most.

(The verification word is "clogram" - not unlike the program to prevent by overloading the system such needed changes as universal access to health care or marriage equality.)

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Yes, Christopher -- I think that's exactly it: an evolutionary process rather than a program. It is a pilgrimage in which all are invited to make a contribution -- a modern Canterbury Tales, in one sense.

Thank you, Marshall. I think it important to continue to work for the external recognitions of faithful relationships -- in church and state -- but at the same time to recognize that in terms of what little there is to the doctrine of marriage (in the West, anyway), that a couple who intend to be married are married. (I admit there is some confusion in the RC canons on this, tangled with notions of validity and licitness; but the marriage itself is made by the couple.)

As to health care, I sense a great missed opportunity passing us by... but still hope for better than I fear.

R said...

Tobias,

Best wishes on your journey and thank you for contributing to a discernment with the wider Communion that I hope will benefit all of us for years to come.

Disciplinary matters aside, I remain uncomfortable with the Covenant in its draft form because of its length and complexity. Covenants that work are simple and elegant -- if we are to use the marriage analogy, marital vows are relatively simple in structure (not easy, mind you!) Another example in classical Anglicanism is, of course, the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral -- while not necessarily a Covenant, it provides the broad strokes that accommodate. Or our baptismal covenant, while relatively long, is rooted in the elegance of the apostle's creed.

I worry the present draft, which reads more like documents of various church party movements, suffers from the weight of its own detail. One example, noted by a member of our deputation, is the fluid use of the word "Church," which appears to mean everything from the local parish/mission to the Province, to the Church of England, to the Church Catholic and Apostolic -- and can be construed, as it is in some circles, as the "Anglican Church." While this complication might not be fatal, I worry the draft itself is a mountain in its own right -- creating a number of sticky wickets for virtually every part of the Communion.

Put another way, the more copious the details, the more reason provinces may find reasons not to sign on. . . I, for one, remain concerned that even if it became the norm for today, it might not bear the test ot time.

Paul (A.) said...

If it is in fact the case that there is a place (the "second tier" or however it's termed) within the Anglican Communion for those members who do not sign off on the Covenant, then (modus tollens) the Covenant is wholly unnecessary.

Or am I missing something here?

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Richard and Paul both raise excellent points. The present draft shows all the signs of the work of a committee, and an international drafting process; as well as being subject to the very same hermeneutical grilling that Scripture suffers; witness the ACI essay that gave rise to these comments. Still, the first three sections are compact enough to fit in a small booklet or tract, and for a concordat or covenant that is not bad. Think of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example.

Paul's point is equally significant. What, if anything, will this Covenant accomplish? I can only say that it will give marginally greater structure for those who agree to sign on to it. It will not, as the Archbishop made clear (!) in his post-GC reflection, define membership in or out of the WWAC, but it will bind those who sign on to a more definitively collaborative model of working. Naturally ad hoc cooperation will continue among those who do not sign on.

A similar example from Canonical history might be helpful. When a revised canon on religious life in TEC was adopted in 1982, the various orders and communities in existence at the time had the right to sign on, or not. It was not required, and little was gained in doing so, other than "official recognition"; and the "cost" was small: certain requirements for having a Bishop Visitor, but little else. Most of the orders/communities signed on quickly, but there were a two hold-outs (that I know of), who said almost exactly what Paul is saying here: what difference does it make? and something not unlike what some are saying about the Anglican Covenant: We don't need this. Since then one of them has passed out of existence, and the other eventually agreed to sign on. What difference has it made? I would say it is largely symbolic; and I think the same can be said of the Anglican Covenant: not important for its juridical powers (it really has none to speak of) but as a symbol of a willingness to be an intentional part of a greater whole.

So while I can say that the AC is "unnecessary" I would not preface it with "wholly."

And now, I'm about to pack for London!

Paul (A.) said...

And again, I do not see that the Communion needs either a "marginally greater structure" (probably it could well do with less) or some "symbol" of unity where the essence of unity is lacking.

So I'll stick with "wholly". A covenant like this may have some uses, but certainly no necessity.

Travel safely, Tobias.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

That is finely diced, Paul, but I agree. There is certainly no necessity in having an Anglican Covenant -- we've done well without one for ages. But it might prove useful, in ways few (especially among the ACI-mindset) imagine.

I just wish we could step back and discuss the proposal apart from the ferocious spin generated from the far right. They don't want TEC to sign the Covenant, and that in itself gives me cause to consider it more carefully. (And I don't think they are strategically sophisticated enough for a Briar Patch Strategy -- there is too much genuine raw emotion at work.)

Now I really must pack!

Geoff said...

In Sweden the Lectionary reaches Christian Unity next Sunday...

Isn't Christian Unity a funny observance to keep at a different time from most of the rest of Christendom?