Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Archbishop Deng: Your Timing Just Sucks

If there's one thing a activist must understand, it is the power of timing. A protest at the wrong moment, a statement against the wrong context is lost.

Today, Archbishop of Sudan, Dr Daniel Deng, made what I believe to be a huge mistake in timing in calling for the resignation of +Gene Robinson.

For those of you reading this, I needn't review the background of GAFCON/FOCA Bishops and their assault on the Archbishop of the Anglican Communion and their self-positing of absolute Biblical understanding and requirement now apparently imposed upon every global Anglican as they see fit and according to their rather bizzare list.

Boys (and yes, they are all male), your timing sucks.

Realize, during Lambeth, GAFCON/FOCA sent out a letter on behalf of everyone of you (that is, the GAFCON/FOCA types) which (as every activist knows very well) is a huge mistake. Voices of majority or not, you have to be, um, "inclusive". Venables didn't seem too happy, but I have to admit, it gave me quite a chuckle to see you off and running with the horse in the barn and Venables left standing wondering where everyone went. Tsk.

I understand, fully, your desire to be opportunistic. After all, the Lambeth Bishops seemed peaceful and contented coming out of several days of prayer, consideration and Bible studies. These protocols, no doubt to open the hearts of all and forge some bonds of love and respect, might have been seen to be within striking distance.

Someone rescued from the spring thaw ice water of Minnesota, best not be tossed into a hot springs. It can cause a violent physical and mental reaction. Nonetheless, this is, essentially, what you did. And therein lies your mistake (amongst many others).

First of all, you need to take stock of where you really are in the scheme of things. After your GAFCON blasting of ++Rowan Williams, your rather pathetic response to Williams response, followed by your dismal, embarrassing and poorly researched response to SAD (covenant), you need to take a breather. You are making a lot of mistakes, which, of course, is common when one is really not well organized or structured not to mention when one speaking the words written (attention Minns) doesn't write them. Minns, my advice: Instead of promoting your own vision, try listening a little better and using their words and concepts. You are mixing cultures that don't express issues and thoughts in the same way. Actually, this is pretty disrespectful and, in the end, you will find that those speaking need to do so in their way. And yes, you are welcome for the advice. Also, get a different PR group. Whoever you are using hasn't a clue. I'd fire them, actually.

Second, your routine is getting old. All good activists know that you must freshen up your devices and language each time you attempt to make a point. Unlike Bush and the Iraq war, you really don't have a wide audience that will hear the message again and again. This makes you look and sound boring (which frankly, you are). What you have is a relatively small audience and your appeal needs some serious work. Besides looking like angry, and frankly stupid, Primates (though sometimes sincere), your desperation trumps your message in terms of take. Everyone knows that those that speak the loudest are often the most desperate. And since the frequency and wording and disposition of your speakers is always so grave and hostile, you are losing your audience. Why not get someone really chipper and happy to say that gays are sub-human?

Third, consider your venue and audience. If you want to be on the world stage for a moment, then do what you did. But realize that change in the Anglican communion comes from within, not from outside and surely doesn't happen in a moment. It leaves you (failed in the end), looking rather desperate and on the short end of things. Oh sure, some bloggers will carry your message (to those that faithfully salute) but you have done nothing to change your situation or position and, I assume, that is what you are seeking. You are at Lambeth. Bishops, ecumenical partners and Lambeth staff are there. THAT is your audience. There is a diversity of opinion, though, as always. If you cannot get them to listen, then just lay down in the main isle and pound the floor. Best to do honestly what it actually looks like you are doing. I would advise pinning your name on your back so the media knows who you are.

Fourth, don't EVER use the Eucharist as a political tool. You insult the Host and everyone else. It is a backhanded and failed way to gain support. Not to mention you look like an idiot in doing so. And please no stupid tirades, ridiculous processing across flags, etc. No hanging of things on doors. If you are going to make a point, make it fresh. Sheesh. Think of something new, and why not do it in a happy way? Use those Eucharistic flat breads as mini frisbees with a taped message on them given you seem to think they are meaningless, anyway.

Thanks so much for reading my thoughts.

Footnote: I am a seasoned and experienced organizer. I know what I see, and not through pink glasses. Part of what I have written here is truth and part is fiction. You can figure which is which, but you might be very surprised at the truth of the matter.

It is up to you to figure out which is which given the lines of what you do are barely discernable either way. But I can tell you this: If you continue in the way you have continued, you will lose, and this is drop dead honest assessment from someone that has no financial involvement on either side and, actually, leaves the weeds with the wheat. Turns out, biologically, that many of the weeds actually fertilize the wheat in terms of nitrogen stabilizing. Just some food for thought.

Spend your money better. Help those that need medical and health relief and food. This isn't about *YOU*. It is all about *them*.