Just an accident? Or a conscious shift to the ad hominem style?

An observer to our Anglican unpleasantness might well have thought--since around the last HoB meeting in New Orleans--that the various Separatist factions had "overplayed their hands," fracturing among themselves along various lines, losing wider sympathy in the Communion and in our modest province with repeated border-crossing, squandering the prima facie good-will initiatives of Rowan Williams, pursuing the Realignment Agenda at the expense of the Windsor Process, presenting a chaotic spectacle while trying to drag out dioceses, etc.

All that remained was a long, cold burn-out: the sickening vision of expensive court cases going on and on, more finger-pointing and mean-spirited, hyperbolic accusations of apostasy, attempts by very unhappy right-wing radicals to poach congregations, more creative alphabet soup from Asia, Africa, South America, and the UK, etc etc. More of the same, getting more and more boring, more and more tedious.

But now maybe the venomous ad hominem attacks on PB Schori by Dean Turner and the memo now circulating the HoB--aimed at bringing Schori to trial--herald something new, something rather more exotic, something needed to ratchet excitement back up among the jaded Colosseum crowd of the right-wing echo-chamber, hungry for more blood sport.

It seems Bishop Robinson is still Rowan Williams' favorite scapegoat. When the cohesion of the Anglican Communion is at risk, and it falls on Rowan to say something, you can count on him shifting attention to Bishop Robinson being made to pay as an object of blame somewhere in the speech or document. So it comes as no surprise to see Williams trot out the scapegoat mechanism again. Of course, trading in sacrificial gestures can be dangerous--people given over to literalism might get caught up and take that type of thing too seriously; so it is reassuring (I'm being sarcastic) to hear from Williams that literal sacrifices of active gays are not called for; symbolic sacrifices are quite enough. This sort of thing passes for episcopal ministry--no wonder he has to go out and make a case for the mere relevance of the church: golly, don't mention ethical relevance to Dean Turner: who knows what he'd say next? Anyhow, the problem of relevance is rooted pretty close to home; his text does not show much awareness of the bitter irony. Is laughter appropriate?

How many times can Robinson get scapegoated before the scapegoating loses the desired cathartic effect? It doesn't turn the head and catch the ear like it used to, perhaps. A new scapegoat is needed; certainly the right needs a more attractive lamb. This is where PB Schori comes in.

If she doesn't start looking out, they'll make damn sure she gets...a shearing.

Make no mistake: for Wingers of all persuasions pushing this crap, millions of dollars in assets are involved on top of millions already throne in, careers are on the line, an awful lot of face is at stake given the rather dark means employed--without a shouting throng in the Colisseum willing to pony up for these hucksters, it will all dribble down the toilet, circling the tidy bowl with exquisite slowness at ten year, supersized Lambeth-style intervals.

What better sacrifice, what better scapegoat than PB Schori? And in a year where Senator Clinton has a high profile too, it seems to me the prospect of leading her to the Altar must promise the right wing quite a strong measure of cathartic release from strife, anxiety, infighting. Surely, and this is the true measure of its effect, the right wing, having failed to unite around Christ, can at least unite around Schori.

Maybe it is so; I could well be wrong. It could be intentional right now, or it might still just be coincidence, something taking shape, a new message, a new promise of unity, a new hope for the disaffected, a new focus and context for old Scripture:

And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

Do you, dear reader, really think Dean Turner and the rest of the throng will relent--much less repent or apologize--when they read this from PB Schori? In her Pentecost letter she seems to go out of her way to reassure anxious conservatives. That is the right thing for her to do. Even so, I can't help, suspecting Turner's "black is white, white is black" style as indicative of what's typical, to fear the worst.

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