A wry reflection from Lambeth 2022.
We are a society increasingly in love with a conspiracy theory. Territory once the preserve of a fringe minority obsessed with the moon-landings and Kennedy assassination has, via 9.11 and Barack Obama’s birthplace, become crowded - occupied by believers in some form of vaccine induced, Deep State, Great Reset, initiated by a fake Ukrainian war, run by Mossad.
As the draft text of the “Lambeth Call” on “Human Identity” was published and debated last week conspiracy theories abounded.
Had the Call been secretly amended without the consent of the Drafting Group?
Was the reference to the Lambeth Conference of 1998 Resolution 1.I0 a late insertion? That who did it and why was unknown bred suspicion- was it as suggested a patriarchal plan by ten exclusively male authors?
Was the Archbishop of Canterbury behind it or had he been blindsided?
Was any amendment the result of pressure, or worse, from the global majority?
Weren’t bishops being “bounced” even as they were in the air?
Surely the timing was deliberate - coming after the point of episcopal no-return?
To some it was tempting to think that there was indeed a last minute, unapproved insertion after careful triangulation- Liberal revisionists with a priority to seize the structures of the Anglican Communion could hardly leave, whereas the orthodox might by happy creating their institutions- so the line went, if anyone had to be irked, go for the Liberals.
Others smelt a different rat: the Call was far too weak for the orthodox- it had no reference to the sanctions/consequences with which errant Provinces had previously been threatened, no reference to the immutability of sex, without which 1.I0 would become a dead letter or to the authority of the Bible. But the Call was also too weak for the “progressives”- with its anachronistic references to the views of a quarter of a decade and more ago. To the believers in this rodent, the whole thing was designed to create statis - episcopal deadlock with nothing resolved except an intention to keep talking while “doin” “walking together” “down Lambeth way”.
Then it was announced that rather than just being able to affirm the Call or suggest further reflection there would be a third option- to vote it down. Nothing could have provided more grist to the Anglican conspiracy theory Mill.
Had the twin suggestion that there would be no Resolutions or binary votes been a double-blind to get people to Kent?
Did this mean that now the powers that be finally knew who was attending they had calculated that there was a majority to abandon the historic position?... or affirm it?… or did three options mean that the combination of any two would produce such an outcome?… or not?
Who was the Machiavellian Psephologist who could perform such feats of prophesy or was it just his/her/they/them/their bias?
Once a redrafted call was announced Twitter went into meltdown- where did this fit in the narrative? The plot thickened.
Was it true that the Episcopal Church of the USA promised a new roof
for Canterbury Cathedral?
Wasn’t the key factor traditionalists not being on Twitter?
Of course, some could see exactly how it would all fitted together- it was the delivery of a long-term plan- a daily new jigsaw of “bait and switch”, ambiguity, shifting sands, circumlocution, stoking of rumours, narrative and counter-narrative, the total, clear picture of which was only known to the invisible hand of “the Organisers” who were playing the attendees like a Symphony Orchestra before a “grand reveal”.
And then… how did that happen??!!
Having “declared” the “mind of the Communion as a whole” last week, the “Communion” has totally changed its mind. Apparently the “old” mind was the product of the mind of a rogue operator or was designed to show that prove that the strength of feeling for
There is, of course, always an alternative to Conspiracy… And it is always more likely.