Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Peter Jensen isn't sleeping with any of my friends.

At the start of August the Sydney Mornig Herald ran a story amusingly headlined ”It’s s PJs at PJ’s as clergy seek to bed down Anglicanism” about Archbishop Jensen inviting Sydney clergy for overnight retreats at Bishopscourt, the spectacular mansion in which Sydney Anglican Archbishops reside, in order to explain his Connect 09 mission strategies.

The article mentioned that “Detractors suggest the visits might be used by the archbishop to micromanage parishes and subtly test the orthodoxy of diocesan rectors.” and it should be no surprise to learn that I was indeed one of those detractors. Yet at the same time part of me really did hope this was a genuine attempt on the archbishop’s part to get to know how clergy on the ground are feeling; to hear their thoughts and ideas, and to gain an understanding of their hopes and needs. I’d intended to blog about it, but as I’m currently at home caring for two small and quite severely asthmatic children, while at the same time trying to complete a programming project on the side, life sort of got in the way. Then when Father David Heron gave the matter his usual brilliant attention there didn’t seem anything more I could add.

Then during the course of lunch last week with a dear friend whom against all odds is still ministering in a Sydney parish (which is growing like gangbusters, although with typical modesty he dismisses this as “just transfers from all the Matthian parishes driving people away with their soul-destroying Gnosticism”), his wife, and another mutual friend, a profoundly wise and much-loved Roman priest. Remembering the Bishopscourt sleepovers, I asked my friend if he’d been on his yet, and how it had gone.

“Me?” he exclaimed. “No, I haven’t had an invite, and nor have any of the people who talk to me. It’s only the party-line guys who are getting invited to that. The idea is that they get hyped up and come back to tell the rest of what to do. The Archbishop isn’t interested in hearing what people like me have to say.”

Our Catholic friend was shocked. He’s got his own problems with his local bishop – Cardinal Pell – but can still never get over the way dissenting Sydney Anglicans are treated as if we simply don’t exist. “What do you mean?” he said. “Neither of you are invited? He doesn’t even want to hear what you have to say?”

My friend’s wife laughed. “You’ll get an invitation before Jensen has the slightest interest in hearing what any of these two have to say.” At which we all laughed until the people at other tables were staring at us, and then ordered more wine.

Unless you’ve lived here it’s impossible to understand how hilarious what she said was; and sometimes if you don’t laugh at life in the world’s most conservative Anglican diocese you could just start crying. And then you'll probably never be able to stop.


Wormwood's Doxy said...

I ought to be shocked, but I'm not.

OTOH, I think about inviting someone like Matt Kennedy or Peter Akinola to spend the night at my house, and I wonder if I would behave any differently? Would I really want to spend the night with those gentlemen?!

Of course, I am not their bishop...so I suppose that DOES make a difference...

But it raises the issue for me of how often I lock myself in an echo chamber. I have stopped going to "those sites" because they are an occasion of sin for me. Most of my friends agree with me about theology/politics/whathaveyou, and the ones who don't, we don't talk about things that really matter.

That's why this Christian business is so hard. Love your enemies! Pray for those who hurt you! What WAS Jesus thinking?!?!?!? ;-)

Alcibiades---On a different note, I am quite worried about you and your little ones! Is the baby asthmatic as well? Poor wee babies! Poor, tired daddy...and I suspect mommy too. Blessings on you all, my friend.

I know you've got a lot on your plate, so I make this comment with trepidation...but I am looking forward to you finishing your series on pornography. The two friends I mentioned in an earlier post are as well. No rush---but just wanted you to know that your early analysis was so intriguing that some of your readers have not forgotten. :-)


FranIAm said...

Basically... what Doxy said. She's great -isn't she?

So are you.

Love and prayers for all of you- oh dear, health is a challenge. Light upon you all.

PseudoPiskie said...

I'm sitting here wheezing in sympathy tho I could take something to get rid of the breathing difficulty. Someday I'll get this house shovelled out...

Meanwhile it is gorgeous in NWPA. Sunny in the mid 70s F. A little needed rain coming tomorrow we hope. The weather for the Crawford County Fair was wonderful. School starts tomorrow in Meadville.

How are your projects coming? Did you ever hear from Sean? Did you ever email him?

Since I've been visiting around, I've met lots of very nice Episcopalians in the Dio NWPA.


Lapinbizarre said...

"PJ" was, and may still be, the familiar name of a popular US campus "bathtub" drink made from grape Kool-Aid and clear grain alcohol. The initials stand for "Purple Jesus". "Purple" for the colour of the mix, "Jesus" for what you mutter as you flop all over the place when you've drunk a gut-full of the stuff.

Or so I was told many years ago.

Brian R said...

God preserve us from these conceited prelates who lack any charitable feelings.
Prayers being offered for the children.

Doorman-Priest said...

Good to come home and discover that the art of good blogging hasn't diminished.

FranIAm said...

Just checking in to say hello, send good thoughts and wishes and to let you know that you are missed.