So two days after the end of the Primates meeting, the general position becomes a bit clearer. But not much.
Sitting in the middle, I wonder why I even care about either of these bunches of extremists. The liberals are ready to jump all over their (until very recently) darling Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori because she, apparently, is something of a good diplomat. Which means, sometimes you figure out what will work and go with it. You don't stamp your little feet and hold your breath until you get your own way. Which is what Father Jake and commenters seem to think is wise. Well, until the Ash Wednesday liturgy wised him up, I guess.
I can only guess that TEC liberals have never actually read any books about leadership and change, because they seem astounded that everybody isn't swayed by their dazzling (lack of good) arguments.
I imagine their script went something like this in their heads:
TEC liberals: "Hey, we think you should do this."
Rest of the world: "Uh, OK, if you say so."
Imagine their shock when a large number of people actually dares to not only fail to follow the script, but actually questions them! I can thoroughly recommend Ron Heifetz's book Leadership Without Easy Answers to them. (His other book Leadership With Easy Answers is much harder to find - apparently the only copy is in the Bush Library. Believe it or not, "Never get involved in a land war in Asia" is actually in there...)
The bottom line is that the onus is on anyone who wants to change the status quo to demonstrate that their change is valid. And to persuade enough people to their point of view by reasonable means. If they act before that point, then they will meet opposition not only from those with diametrically opposite point of view (which will always happen anyway) but from the people in the middle that they alienate because they haven't given them the space and time to think about the issue. Impatience is the cause of most failures to effect change. It's a huge mistake to focus your energy on those opposed to you. It's much more important to work the middle ground, which TEC liberals have generally failed to do over the years. If I lean to that side of center these days it's despite their arguments and actions, not because of them.
KJS understands that one must go slowly and that the middle ground is important, I think. I've been very impressed with her apparent calm amid a pretty delicate situation. Even if she cried at some point, so what? If I had to spend a week cooped up with the likes of Akinola, I'd probably cry too at some point. It will be interesting to see how the Episcopal House of Bishops reacts. I'm sure she has a workable plan in mind. Whether she can make them follow it is another matter.
As I've noted before, it would be nice if the Bishops could actually come up with that theological justification for ordaining active homosexuals that Frank Griswold commissioned a long time ago, but I guess that actually putting it down on paper might be a bit much for them. It's much easier to arm wave and stamp one's feet than actually explain oneself. (That whole, "it seemed like a good idea at the time" probably doesn't cut it even as a Master's thesis). I'm in the middle of reading a Gene Robinson biography right now, and it's, well, OK so far, if a bit fawning.
The one laughable thing about much of the debate is that the liberals really seem to think that General Convention accurately reflects the mind of the Episcopal Church at large. The liberal faction hijacked the entire superstructure of the church years ago and are now apparently delusional that it is a fully representative body. Imagine the hilarity that would ensue if I were to imply that the US Congress is fully representative of the American people. And that George Bush obviously has the full and undivided support of all Americans.
The eight General Convention deputies from my diocese last time were all from Seattle bar one, who just happened to be a relative of a Diocesan officer. Combined, their political views would be somewhere just to the left of Karl Marx. Even for a Diocese like Olympia, they were 6 sigma liberals. So it will be interesting if people start acting on bad assumptions like that...
Oh well, plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...