By now, you’ve probably heard: ++Rowan Williams will be stepping down in December as the Archbishop of Canterbury and the leader of Anglicans worldwide. In that I have only read a few of his books and more than a few of his sermons, I’m not capable on making a judgement on his character. Nor do I have the perspective of history to make a judgement on his time as Archbishop. Frankly, I don’t think anybody can make that sort of judgement.
But, of course, that didn’t stop oodles of people who tweeted, blogged and commented derisively about him and his tenure as Archbishop. Most of it is quite saddening. Stupefying, even.
For example, the President of the House of Deputies couldn’t congratulate the Archbishop without this cutting little jab, “Though I was frequently disappointed at the cost he expected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Christians to pay on behalf of the wider Communion . . .” As if the Archbishop wasn’t clearly aware of your disappointment. Other comments are far worse, of course.
Really? Really? Really.
You couldn’t just say, “Congratulations, ++Rowan, you were put into an impossible position and you did the best you could. We didn’t envy you in the slightest! Best wishes to you in your new job and we can’t wait to listen to what you have to say and write in the upcoming years. You’re a better, more patient Christian than any of us could ever hope to be!” But, no, we can’t just say that, can we? We have to make our points, don’t we?
Blech. Blech to the whole lot!
Yes, I don’t like the Anglican Covenant and, yes, I’m for full inclusion of LGBT members. But, for God’s sake, let it alone for a minute. For now, just congratulate this imperfect man of God, wish him well and promise to keep him in your prayers. Do it because I have a sneaking suspicion when the Queen announces the new Archbishop, many of us in the Episcopal Church will be longing — perhaps, even yearning — for the days of ++Rowan.
More importantly, though, do it because it is the Christian thing to do. Don’t forget, that’s what we are. We are Christians, first and foremost — not politicians.