The big tent has now come to an end. It is unfortunate, but it is true, at least for the moment. For literally years, we were able to talk and work things through reaching a compromise with virtually everyone be they evangelical, anglo-catholic, high church, low church and everyone in between. It was not easy and from time to time we would lose one or two or three people along the way, but that was pretty rare. Let's face it, our entire political structure, the House of Deputies, the House of Bishops, the Presiding Bishop, even the Anglican Communion was based on the idea that we could talk and pray and reach agreement.
Along comes what is now known as the Chapman Memo, a memorandum authored by a priest from the Pittsburgh diocese and presumably at the behest (at least tacit approval) of then bishop Robert Duncan. Here is the final answer for those who became outraged at the election of Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori:
1) Our ultimate goal is a realignment of Anglicanism on North American soil committed to biblical faith and values, and driven by Gospel mission. We believe in the end this should be a “replacement” jurisdiction with confessional standards, maintaining the historic faith of our Communion, closely aligned with the majority of world Anglicanism, emerging from the disastrous actions of General Convention (2003). We believe this goal is now pressed upon us by the Holy Spirit as a result of the rejection of the historic Christian faith and the rejection of biblical and Communion authority by the leadership of ECUSA. We will lead our congregations and partners in making the adjustment to adopt this strategy. We seek to retain ownership of our property as we move into this realignment.
In effect, they moved to what can only be called a zero-sum game. What is a zero-sum game? Good question, glad you asked.
A situation in which a gain by one person or side must be matched by a loss by another person or side:
In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s).
Situation or interaction in which one participant's gains result only from another's equivalent losses
In decision theory, situation where one or more participants' gain (loss) equals the loss (gain) of other participants. Thus, a gain (loss) for one must result in a loss (gain) for one or more others. Also called constant sum game. See also negative sum game and positive sum game.
In 2007, the Big Tent changed for ever. In December of 2007 the diocese of San Joaquin voted to leave the Episcopal Church AND to take all the land and the buildings and the assets with them. The zero sum game became a reality. The Chapman Memo was put into play in a way that everyone could see. A few months later the diocese of Pittsburgh under the tutelage of Robert Duncan repeated the process taking all the assets of the diocese with them. Then, the diocese of Forth Worth. Along the way a variety of independent parishes moved in the same direction. Supported by the province of the Southern Cone and Rwanda and Nigeria and Uganda (among others) they found a home away from home, making the opportunity to win everything more appealing and the decision to "go it alone" less alone.
In 2010, the replacement Province was founded by Arch-puke Robert Duncan and took the name Anglican Church in North America. So now the decision to leave is one in which most can leave and go somewhere without ever leaving home (I think that is a commercial somewhere).
Robert Duncan, Leo Jack Iker, and John David Schofield have played the game, and won. Mark Lawrence and probably bishop-elect Dan Martins will/are playing the game and will win. And the big tent will get smaller and smaller and in fact, there is nothing we can do about that. There is nothing that can repair that breach when your win becomes my loss and my win becomes your loss.
We in the Episcopal of the United States of America need to develop a plan the answers that zero sum game in a fashion that creates a bigger loss for them tan for us. We need to create a balance that is not -- that is, the win cannot be as great as the loss. Until that happens, no one will come back to the table to negotiate. Until that happoens the arch-puke will continue his running amuck.