N.T. Wright: “It is gloriously confusing at the moment and slightly worrying in that one has no idea what’s actually going on”

BB NOTE: The Bishop of Durham, N.T. Wright has told the London Telegraph that the Lambeth Conference lacks direction and the Anglican Communion is a “slow moving train wreak,” and telling the Telegraph that there is deep unease over the future of the communion and an atmosphere of mutual suspicion among bishops.

Questions are also being raised as to why the bishops who consecrated Gene Robinson are present at Lambeth. “A lot of people here have a lot of questions about why the American bishops are here,” he said. “Those questions are in the room.”

What is fascinating about Tom Wright’s comments is that they are dramatically different than the happy-talk we’re getting from Episcopal bishops who seem to be pleased as punch. Christopher Johnson comments:

The Americans know that Dr. Williams has structured the Conference so that the most pressing issue facing the Anglican Communion will not be addressed. The Americans also know that they will have a free hand effective immediately since their “official” Anglican standing is safe for another ten years. So the Episcopalians can hallucinate any kind of Conference they like.

Bishops like Dr. Wright, on the other hand, who claim to have been shocked by the American and Canadian actions of 2003, may finally be coming to the realization that Rowan Williams has structured this Conference so that the Americans and Canadians will get away with it. And they may realize that, Anglican Covenant or no Anglican Covenent, the controversy is not going to go away. Indeed, it will probably get even worse.

So we should expect more “happy talk” from the Episcopal bishops who appear to be trying not to keep their heads down and not rock the boat (including locking Gene Robinson out of the gathering of bishops with jurisdiction on Tuesday, much to the Bishop of New Hampshire’s shock) while Anglican bishops like N.T. Wright start to smell all that coffee the lobbying Episcopal activists at Lambeth keep reporting in their blogs they are drinking. We almost start to wonder if the happy-talking bishops under the Big Blue Top and the Episcopal activists out on the streets are not in such happy accord after all. Otherwise, what are they doing there?

Here’s an excerpt from the article by Jonathan Wynne-Jones for the London Telegraph on Bishop Wright:

Bishop Wright said that there was mistrust between the different factions over who was going to make the next significant move. “It’s like a very odd game of cards,” he said. “We’re all being very civil and talking politely, but people are wondering who is going to play which card next and hence what responses may be possible.”

Bishop Wright added that the summit was lacking direction and questioned how effective it would be.

“There’s a sense that we’re all not quite sure where this is going. That’s the mood of the conference. It is gloriously confusing at the moment and slightly worrying in that one has no idea what’s actually going on.”

Read the whole thing here.