Tuesday 6 November 2012

Popes, archbishops and blindfold boys

We continue to await the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury.  Meanwhile, a blindfold boy has chosen the next Pope of the Coptic Church in Egypt from three candidates.  Is there a lesson to be learnt here?

As an interested observer of the Anglican Communion and a friend of many within it, I cannot help thinking that the selection procedure is all about power-play and politics.  Liberal Anglicans want an archbishop, who will see through reforms, which they had hoped would come from the present incumbent.  Conservatives desire one who will resist the tide of tolerance towards what they see as unbiblical practices.  If it were just about the Church of England, a decision might be more easily reached.  But we must also factor in the worldwide Anglican Communion, where even more entrenched positions seem to be taken.  Who is the diplomat who could hold all of these things together?  Deadlock!

It got me thinking.  What if the choice were whittled down to a final three candidates?  Each candidate would have different gifts, skill and points of view, and each would be able to make a valuable contribution to the life of the Church.  That would be the human part of the process.  A blindfold child makes the final choice from the three.  That could be the divine part – the place where the Church entrusts the outcome to luck/chance/God (delete as appropriate). It has its advantages.  No jockeying for position from the final three, no canvassing of votes from their supporters, no accusations of the wrong choice being made.  It might lead to more fervent prayer from all parties that God’s will be done.  That would be a good thing!

That’s the Archbishop sorted – what about the US Presidential election?