Being a long way from home inevitably makes you reflect on domestic matters with a different perspective. Sitting in a Central Asian capital city, having been in conference with a vast range of world religions, the scandal of Christian division is all the more acute.
Waiting for my next appointment I was catching up with emails and read Bishop Graham Kings’ article on the Fulcrum website at http://fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=437. The questions he poses are astute, but I doubt if he will get any response.
The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans will be established on Saturday (as I understand it from a distance). This is a self-indulgent distraction from the real stuff of Christian mission in a fractured world that cries out for reconciliation. FCA is not needed, is a distraction and offers the world yet another example of Christian fracturing.
After the irregular ordinations in the Diocese of Southwark several years ago I asked a couple of those involved to show me where they find the biblical sanction for lying, misrepresentation and subterfuge. I have never had a reply. Despite protestations of innocence, the scheming behind FCA does not give us confidence that dodgy behaviour will receive the same biblical or ethical scrutiny as is applied to questions of sexual behaviour.
I don’t know who FCA is really for. I am not aware of evangelicals really wanting it and will be interested to see who joins the party. Graham Kings suggests that the take-up for this weekend has not been great – if so, that should not come as any surprise. Most evangelicals – it seems to me – just want to get on with the ministry and mission to which they are called as Anglicans and are fed up with schemes for fragmentation.
The intriguing conundrum that I cannot resolve is how Forward in Faith and Reform can unite despite such serious contradictions in their cultures, priorities and practices. It seems they can only do so with a massive dose of pretence that the world is not as it is: that there is no gay sub-culture in FiF’s constituency and lay presidency does not happen.
I hope Graham Kings’ questions will be answered and that his warnings will be heeded. Maybe, when I get back from Kazakhstan to the familiarity of England my perspective will change. But, sitting here and thinking about the world, some of these internal Anglican shenanigans do look like trumped up, self-indulgent and self-important side-shows.