In the Wake of the Chancellor's Letters
When he received his Chancellor's letter, Jack Iker, Bishop of Fort Worth, reacted swiftly: he immediately faxed a copy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who at the time was meeting with Presiding Bishop-Elect Katharine Jefferts-Schori. Iker writes that he faxed the Archbishop so that the Archbishop might know that he had just gotten a letter from the Chancellor and that he immediately thought to fax the Archbishop. Very good.... And? It's the sort of thing a younger person might do when he is caught in the act of disturbing a nest holding a precious, delicate egg--go to the favorite (sometimes odd) uncle and tell him, "I didn't mean any harm, I've been doing this for years, oh it's been very fun."
Of course, the matter of the Episcopal Church and its relations and status with the dioceses who have signaled that they think the Episcopal Church is to some degree heretical and its new Presiding Bishop unacceptable, is not a question of fun or of business as usual. No doubt, this last inference is what so troubles many of the dissidents.
In this delicate environment, Bishop Iker has delighted in playing the ornery bully and in inciting and encouraging others to do the same. His favorite behaviors to this end include getting up and leaving when certain other bishops speak or enter a room; directing his clergy to not include (+)+Katharine in their prayers for the people; refusing to participate financially or otherwise, in the work and mission of The Episcopal Church. And of course, altering his constitution to make continued inclusion in The Episcopal Church, his decision. In the matter of the letters, he has again reacted in the worst way: with a shrillness and a sullenness that calls into question the authority and grace he is expected to possess, and display.
The general principle informing all of this is that he doesn't want anything to do with The Episcopal Church, all the while being, of course, an Episcopal Bishop. Make sense? No. Not much sense at all.
If Iker wishes to be an ass, that is his right, and his right to make a mockery of himself is hereby defended. But since he is a bishop, the Church who ordained him and which he swore to serve, has a right and obligation to make certain he is a good and faithful steward of her.
The chancellor's letter suggests something else, too. It suggests that neither Iker nor his friends in The American Anglican Council and their front group, The Network, will be permitted to alter the historical status and relation between the Church and a diocese it's created. This is all very common sensical and simple. Yet it seems to have been lost in the months and years of back and forth semantics. If you belong to an organization and you no longer like the organization, you leave it. You don't get to break up the organization. If you try, the organization probably won't let you. Any freshmen in logic understands this, or at least, anyone not interested in making as much trouble as possible.
For years, Iker and the other mutineers have been inching along trying to get away with as much as possible. Iker himself notes that it is absurd, when he has been undermining The Episcopal Church for so long, for the Church to send him a letter now. He is correct. It is absurd. It should have been done long ago. But of course, (+)+Katharine wasn't in charge before.
Bishop Iker and his friends in the Network, have gotten passes for playing alone up in their trees. At a minimum, the letters suggest they are going to have to explain themselves to the satisfaction of the new Presiding Bishop, if they want to start breaking things.