Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oh no, say it ain't necessarily so ... the things that you're liable to read in the Bible and in Sydney Anglican tracts ...

Now you might wonder why the pond has turned to The Border Mail this meditative Sunday - Albury Wodonga is a tad distant from inner city chardonnay swillers - but really The spirit of unity brings peace to a fractured flock is too delicious to resist.

It seems Julia Baird harbours some resentment of the Jensenist conspiracy.

But it was even more startling to learn of the new archbishop Glenn Davie's love of Jeffrey Archer audiobooks - not so much because Archer's a convicted criminal as he should be convicted as a criminal author - but Davies redeemed himself by also fancying a Jane Austen audiobook.

And then, after getting the domestics out of the way and explaining how Davies sat down for a prayer and a cup of tea after winning the vote, Baird went on:

The innocuousness of this story only underlines how extraordinary the Sydney Anglican Synod was this week. 
Three astonishing things happened. 
First, kindness and decency punctured old-style bullying and politicking. 
Second, openness and transparency trumped harmful innuendo. 
Third, young men pushed powerful old men off their perch; and they did so with forcefully gentle arguments. The old way of doing politics in Sydney - at least that which has ruled for the past 20 years - of number crunching, backroom deals and character assassination - was stomped on by rhetoric and reason. 
Those who have long defined the diocese as hardline, insular and in opposition to the world, suddenly found they no longer controlled a majority of the synod; not even their old, reliable clergy voting bloc. The long-dominant factional leader Phillip Jensen had made two unfounded attempts late last week to deride Davies as mediocre and theologically suspect on his blog, but this backfired. He is now widely perceived to have lost his influence.

Naturally the pond is devastated.

All this idle chatter about the end of the Jensenist dominion, or was that the Jensenist supremacy, or the Jensenist imperative, or the Jensenist identity, or the Jensenist deception or the Jensenist betrayal or the Jensenist legacy or the Jensenist ultimatum? - has Glenn Davies ever considered the charms of a Robert Ludlum title? - sent the pond into a right old tizz.

After describing the proceedings, Baird got personal: person was absent from his usual chair that night: Phil Jensen. He had spent Sunday at St Andrew's Cathedral handing out print copies of another blog claiming, with no evidence, that Davies was biblically dodgy. 
It didn't work, and a furious Jensen spent Tuesday afternoon reeling from the loss of the clergy vote and talking to supporters about whether he should turn up to synod at all. He was spied by only one or two people. He has now deleted the two essays he wrote deriding Davies, inserting one containing fulsome praise instead. 
The Jensens gravely erred by failing to groom a successor. They also sidelined much of the emerging talent, as they viewed it as being too confident, generous, and too engaged with the world. This talent now has a voice.

This is shocking news.

What on earth will the pond write about on a Sunday? These young Anglicans are clearly totally self-centred and selfish, and have absolutely no regard for tradition. They should be doing a John Osborne and looking forward in anger (and back and behind, and around the corner):

Davies is a true conservative, but is kindly, more tolerant of female preaching than his predecessor and, crucially, of dissent. People will not be blacklisted for airing different views. This could be the greatest sign of what promises to be a fascinating sea change in the Sydney Diocese.

Steady on, steady on, the pond still has hope.

After all, there must lurk festering discontent deep in the hearts of those who mounted such a spirited oranges and apples campaign for the defeated opponent, as you can read in the Australian Church Record here.

Will dissidents find they have an urgent speaking appointment in, say, Tasmania? (Remember a speaking engagement in Antarctica to convert the heathen penguins is always an option).

And what to make of Phillip Jensen's welcome, here?

We need to be praying for Glenn as he takes up his role as Archbishop as he will have some very difficult decisions to make in the coming few months. The Endowment of the See has not recovered from the financial collapse of a few years ago. This will require some serious restructuring of the diocese, especially in the number of assistant bishops we will be able to afford.

Yes, we completely fucked it up but if he doesn't fix it, it'll all be his fault ... that'll learn ya's.

Never mind, it turns out that thanks to Google cache, the articles deleted from Phillip Jensen's blog, proposing all the reasons Rick Smith is so much better a candidate than Glenn Davies remain on the full to overflowing web, with perhaps the juiciest and the most bizarre to be found in Comparing the Candidates, and it will probably stay up until someone explains to the Jensenists how to take it down. (you can also find it here at the cached St Andrews cathedral site)

The pond offers this as a service for bewildered punters who turn up at sites like The Briefing and are suddenly confronted with dead links.

What does this tell you about the Sydney Anglicans?

Well they clearly play the game hard, but they also play it in the manner of petulant teenagers, putting things up on the web, then taking them down and pretending they never existed and nothing happened (what next? Will they be matching Queensland politicians doing penis-dunking in red wine?)

As the pond is always interested in the question WWJD, we have to ask what the brave lad would have done about making a posting to Facebook, and then deciding to take it down... because the words came out wrong ...

But if you think all is forgiven and forgotten, look beneath the surface of these words:

Some people, especially those not present, need to be wary of repeating charges that certain speeches were ‘character assassinations’. To make such accusations may be a character assassination of those who in good faith and with much prayer felt that they had to inform the synod of what they knew of the candidate. I am reliably informed that when I was a candidate in 1992, certain people made some dreadful accusations about me in the synod debate. It was right that they did, not because I believe those things to be true, but because it was important for synod to hear how people felt about me, and if they were true to know why they should not vote for me. I hold no grudge, nor do I believe other candidates do about such assessments. It is just part of the process. In general it is those who supported candidates that did not get elected who find it hardest to get over these speeches. You do not hear much about the negative things that were spoken against Peter Jensen in the last election because he was the one elected so most people have forgotten them – and just as well. (here)

Oh there's no grudge all, not a grudge or a grimace in sight, and yes, winners can be grinners and losers can be schemers.

Lordy, lordy, look at the time.

In all the fuss, the pond quite forgot to mention the current front page of the angry Sydney Anglican website. Cue cheesy grins, and a cheesy piece of praise from Phillip Jensen please!

Meanwhile, it's been an astonishing week for the Pellists, what with the new Pope daring to suggest that gays are people too ...

But don't expect anything from Cardinal Pell along the same lines, especially as his understanding of race is as acute as his understanding of climate science, as he headed off to a junket in Brazil:

The different races have intermingled during the five hundred years of European presence and Brazilians are now among the most handsome races in the world. Did I glimpse the urban Australian population one hundred or two hundred years into the future? (here)

The great Australian race! Right up there with the great and amazingly handsome Brazilian race? Who knows, maybe every country is now a race ...

Is it possible to carbon date this sort of mumbo jumbo, about as casually racist and as scientifically stupid as some of the chatter arising from phrenology? The pond proposes circa 1925 when the first volume of a most scientific work slid out into the world (its author also had a thing about race).

Meanwhile, the local mob did their very best to pour cold water on the Pope, saying it was just business as usual, though a few desperate souls tried to extract a glimmer of hope:

“It’s true the Pope’s comments signal no real change in Church dogma but what’s new is a Pope vocalising this,” said Mr Flanagan, who attends St Peter’s Catholic Church on Devonshire St. 
“No previous Pope said things like ‘gays are our brothers and sisters’ so it’s a change in tone from the Catholic hierarchy.” (here)

Personally the pond thinks you'll get a change of tone from the Pellists when hell freezes over. They and the angry Sydney Anglicans are at one with Buzz Lightyear and his never retreat, never surrender ...

Finally the pond proudly announces that it has boycotted Russian vodka.

Sadly the pond didn't actually drink Russian vodka before deciding on the boycott, being a chardonnay swiller from way back, but still, it's a gesture, and at least it allows the pond to ask why anyone who is gay or gay friendly or simply human rights friendly or simply human, would allow Putin's mafia to get away with its recent antics without let or hindrance...

Should a business be persecuted for the behaviour of its political overlords? You ask this of the pond, which boycotts everything Chairman Rupert produces?

Damn straight ... to hell with the vodka, and if only we'd intended watching the Olympic Games so we could avoid watching them and so teach the wretched advertisers a lesson or three ... and if you find it ironic that Obama could think of boycotting Putin but took a stand about boycotting the Games, well there's your dose of irony for the week.

May it help keep your red blood cells strong enough to cope with all the nonsense in the world ...


  1. DP - this seems appropriate -

  2. Thanks Anon, "da bishop", just so others know they'll be going the full Monty!

  3. So, Pell thinks Australians are as ugly as a hat full of arseholes, compared to Brazilians? GlenH

  4. DP - about time you got stuck into Hillsong again.

  5. I had a Brazilian once. Didn't turn out as I thought it would.


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