N. T. Wright chooses sides

Updated Wednesday a.m. : Do read Father Jake, who has a much more extensive critique of Wright’s self–aggrandizing babble than I have managed below. See also Mark Harris, who is equally good on the bishop’s faulty understanding of the situation. The Anglican Scotist has joined the conversation. Father Jim Strader’s thoughts are quite helpful, too. And do visit the Admiral.

Ruth Gledhill, who cannot abide the Episcopal Church, has a lengthy interview here with Bishop N. T. Wright, who shares her disdain.

What is at work here is the old strategy of “predicting” what is going to happen in an attempt to influence what is going to happen. Wright purports to be Rowan Williams’ friend. That’s hard to imagine, but maybe using the press to exert pressure on your pals is regarded as a sign of affection within the British episcopacy.

I was going to excerpt the passage from this interview that distilled the essential Tom Wright, but I couldn’t decide between the uninformed condescension he directed towards the people in Episcopal pews—Apparently you poor dim dears aren’t aware that there is a controversy afoot.—or his repeated attempts to appoint himself as the spokesman for the entire Anglican Communion.

Wright’s preening aside, there is a boil on this carcass that must be lanced. Wright puts forth the curious idea that Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh supports the Windsor report because he hasn’t yet joined the Church of Nigeria. But Duncan has extended his congratulations and warmest wishes to every group that has recently left the Episcopal Church for another province, and in November, 2005, he hosted a conference at which bishops from other provinces ordained clergy to work—without invitation—in U. S. dioceses. That manifests an obvious disregard for the Windsor Report, yet Wright gives Duncan a pass.

Why? Because he has decided it is time to choose his allies. And he has chosen to make common cause with the most ardent bigots in the Anglican Communion, siding with the movement led by Peter Akinola and financed by Howard Ahmanson, men whose hatred for homosexuals is a matter of public record.

The great gift of this interview is that we will be spared further prattle about what a balanced and nuanced thinker the great scholar is. Wright was under no obligation to make these statements before the Primates Meeting in Tanzania. He did so for his own reasons, to advance his own agenda. It is now clear that he thinks ordaining a gay person to the episcopacy is a greater sin that advocating that this same person be imprisoned for holding his partner’s hand in public.

I can’t help wondering what his next book tour will be like.

I will be posting other bloggers reactions here: Richard has weighed in at Caught by the Light. Marshall Scott, of Episcopal Chaplain at the Bedside, has spoken up, too. And the Raspberry Rabbit has piped up in Scotland.

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