Last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald featured an article which should be required reading for anyone interested in Archbishop Jensen’s dreams of a key role in the murky world of schismatic Anglicanism. Written by author/lawyer/journalist/human-rights spokesperson David Marr (I can’t be the only straight man in the world who finds him sexy ;-), it offers a fascinating insight into the strange brew of Puritanism, gnosticism, Calvinism and Billy Graham arminianism which constitutes Sydney Anglicanism – or rather the sect known locally as “Matthianism” (named after Dean Jensen’s former parish) - currently controlling the diocese.
Any who missed the article can download a copy here - the whole piece is a whopping ten pages, but it’s well worth taking the time to read, since it offers those outside Australia an opportunity to get to know the man who’ll be at the centre of the fighting when schismatic Anglo-Catholics discover they’ve unwittingly opened the door to lay presidency in their own dioceses. It’s also a window into the way Sydney diocese really operates – maybe we’re not as different to Nigeria as I’d hoped.
Of special interest to those of us on the ground is the article’s news that not just one, but two of Jensen’s suffragan bishops privately opposed the move to boycott Lambeth: see the first paragraph on page 9 and the second paragraph on page 10
Rumours abound about that the identity of one of them is “Bishop Falstaff” – who is unquestionably disappointed to miss sipping Beaujolais Nouveau with the who’s-who of Anglicanism, and is well aware that with retirement looming he’s not going to get another chance to hobnob with Her Majesty at the Lambeth garden party. However the second man’s identity remains a mystery. My guess is “Bishop Taskless”, who’s said to be developing a liking for the pointy end of a plane, and clearly seems to prefer being anywhere other than in a region the big end of town considers too hard and “unstrategic” to worry about – but I’m open to alternative candidates.
What’s really disappointing is that these two – whoever they are – lacked the courage of their convictions to speak out. They’re clearly not going to advance any further in their careers, but instead of seizing this chance to display some degree of integrity by leading the call for dialogue and common sense, they’ve instead pulled their heads down low and acquiesced to the party line. But then again: if they took the Gospel that seriously the Anglican Church League wouldn’t have given them their jobs in the first place, would it?