About that letter

The recent rush of events in the Anglican Communion brought a premature end to discussion of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advent letter, but not before the Anglican Scotist weighed in. He finds it “good enough to work with,” yet his essay is filled with cogent criticism:

Going over the Archbishop’s latest missives, I found myself reading not with the expectation of cogency, but with respect for–even fear of–his power. Who reads or listens to the Archbishop with the expectation of finding a convincing line of reasoning or a persuasive articulation of some as-yet largley unseen picture?

What is important is rather that he wields an enormous amount of power with regard to both left and right, and whichever way the wind happens to tumble him about, he will end up having enormous influence. Whole provinces stand or fall, form or are finished off on the basis of what he says and does not say–and it seems his style of communicating has only intensified the spectacle of Communion-wide focus on his every nod and arched eyebrow.

What does the habit of such a focus do to a community? It is not as if there are principles to be found underneath the words that guide what he asserts with some formal argumentative force. The power of this office is wielded without a set of discernible reasons, but with great reliance on the relevance of the person of Williams and his contingencies, as well as a rhetoric of persuasion based on fear.

Read it all.

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