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Don't repeat the mistake on page 847 of The Prayer Book . Here is what God really requires from the chosen people:
A series of essays in the Episcopal Church
THE LAMBETH INVITATIONAL GULP_ TOURNAMENT
This Week in the Anglican Communion
Satire by The Rev. Robert Russell Smith
This last week saw the Anglican Communion in a uproar, which means, it was a pretty normal week for the church.
The Church Crisis of the Week: Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sent out invitations to over 800 bishops worldwide for next summer’s once-per-decade Lambeth Conference, a shared experience of worship, study, and discussion, BUT, missing from the list of invited bishops are two notables: The Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop, Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, and Martyn Minns, first Missionary Bishop of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA)
CANA was formed in protest of Robinson’s 2003 consecration. CANA is a missionary arm of the Church of Nigeria and its powerful Primate, Archbishop Peter Akinola. Moreover, the creation of CANA and Minns’ recent installation as its bishop drew strong objections by the Episcopal Church’s leadership as a violation of its jurisdiction.
The non-invitations of both bishops was protested by each of their respective churches. Robinson’s supporters consider his exclusion from Lambeth 2008 as an affront to the Episcopal Church, while Archbishop Akinola said Minns’denial of an invitation equals a non-invitation of the entire Nigerian House of Bishops.
Amid rumors of Lambeth boycotts as well as calls for calm, both sides requested that Williams reconsider inviting both bishops.
“And that is where the slide down the slippery slope begins,” said a source close to the controversy, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“It’s a real Catch-22_ If the Archbishop of Canterbury invites Martyn Minns, Akinola would be appeased, but you Episcopalians would be upset. If he pleased you Episcopalians by inviting the first openly gay bishop to be heard in the Lambeth listening process, Akinola would suffer a bloody nasal joint dislocation - if you know what I mean.”
“Right,” I smiled. “Or at least he’ll have to change his pants.”
So what is the correct course for the Archbishop of Canterbury? Who should he invite or not invite, or dis-invite? At what price to church unity and the future of the Anglican Communion?
My source sighed, “Well, Reverend Bob, these questions can be answered only by taking them to the Most Reliable Authority on...”
I interrupted, “Well, of course, we should all bring our troubling questions to God.”
“Who said anything about God?_ I was trying to tell you, you have to ask these questions of the oddsmakers_”
“What you Yanks call ‘bookies.’ In the London betting houses. Our British oddsmakers could teach your Las Vegas bookies, they’re that good_ Who do you think MI5 British Intelligence goes to in order to make sure of their intelligence estimates?_”
“The London betting houses, huh?”
“Why, I’d wager odds that your bleeding CIA intelligence analysts also use the oddsmakers in the London betting houses_”
I replied, “Does that explain why both our countries are bogged down in Iraq?”
We both had a laugh, while he poured me another cup of tea. I asked, “Why would London betting houses be interested in intelligence estimates or who it is the Archbishop of Canterbury does or does not invite to the Lambeth Conference? I thought those London betting houses only made odds on sports.”
“Precisely You see, the London oddsmakers view everything as a sport_ In fact, they call this church crisis,’The Lambeth Invitational Gulp Tournament.”
I nearly spilled my tea. “You Brits do have a way with the language.”
“‘Twas we that gave the world Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare. Some day you Americans should learn English and read them. But about the Lambeth Invitational Gulp Tournament, before you interrupted, what I was getting at was that I already have asked my oddsmaker what is the best course for Rowan Williams to take.” Looking quite satisfied, he handed me an email printout from ThamesBestBets.uk.com. “Here’s what my ‘bookie’ says is the odds-on best scenario for the Archbishop of Canterbury.” Text follows:
First, odds are good to hold the church together if the following course is taken: the Archbishop of Canterbury (hereafter, ++ABC) will announce that he changed his mind and now Bishop Martyn Minns of CANA (hereafter, +Martyn) is invited. That will grease the squeaky ++Akinola-wheel (Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria) who has already stated that +Martyn's dis-invitation he (++Akinola) equates with a dissing of the whole Nigerian H of Bps.
After appeasing ++Akinola, only then should the ++ABC deal with the Americans by inviting Bishop Gene Robinson (hereafter, +Gene) to Lambeth.
Actually, it should be called un-dis-invited_ Or since we're talking also about +Martyn, it should be un-dys-invited_ (Lyttle humour theyr for the ++ABC_ :-)
Y fynd Oldye Englysh spellyng rather charmyng. Ysn’t yt?)
Now, where was I - - Oh, yes...Only after his act of appeasement of un-dys-inviting +Martyn should ++ABC invite +Gene - or rather un-dis-invite +Gene.
Here’s the rationale on good odds for this working: By un-dis-inviting both +Martyn first, and then, +Gene, what ++ABC has done is to push ++Akinola to the wall.
You see, ++ABC put ++Akinola’s own horse (+Martyn) back into the race.
++ Akinola will have to be grateful to ++ABC. Of course, when your
Episcopalian horse (+Gene) is un-dis-invited back into the race by ++ABC, of course ++Akinola will be outraged. He will feel pressed to stick to his word and uninvite himself and the whole Nigerian H of Bps. But he won’t do that. Because, you see, ++Akinola is not daft. If he stuck to his threat and pulls himself and the Nigerian H of Bps out of Lambeth, he knows his ungraciousness to the ++ABC will be plain for all to see. He’ll look like a four year old throwing a tantrum to the whole Anglican Communion.
Besides that, odds are, ++Akinola wouldn’t want to stomp off and thereby lend credence to the rumours that he’s trying to form his own Parallel Anglican Communion w/himself as Pope. He’d have to back down. The Anglican Communion is preserved intact. Simple as that.
I asked my source, “So odds are favorable that the unity of the Anglican Communion will be rescued by the Archbishop of Canterbury if he takes this course of action, right?”
“According to ThamesBestBets.uk.com, yes_”
“Maybe the 800 bishops at Lambeth should make use of ThamesBestBets.com in their decision making.”.
“What makes you think they haven’t been using the bloody betting houses all along?”
We both had what my source dubbed ‘a jolly good laugh,’ but Y didn’t neede oddes makers to tell me to praey: God save our bogged downe Anglycan Communyon.
The Rev. Robert Russell Smith
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Perryville, MD USA
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