Commenting on the Barnum Letter – 4

Bishop Barnum’s letter says:

The feedback came anyway; feedback that would hit the internet and rock the Anglican world with fact, speculation, confusion and opinion. Like a wild virus, the internet took on a life of its own and often led, in a number of cases, to slander, accusation and bitter gossip – primarily directed against our Chairman.

There is a lot to say about this. First, the reason for speculation and confusion is because all official communication was cloaked in PR spin. How great would it have been for Bishop Barnum, Murphy and anyone else to sit down with Anglican TV on air and lay out what was going on rather than leaving us to read the press releases out of Pawleys. A no holds barred, all questions (and follow ups) answered conducted by a source other than Virtue would have been refreshing. Opinion on the internet is just fine (it’s what I do so I am partial to it). The exchange of ideas is integral to our society and isn’t going away unless we turn into China.

Bishop Barnum says that there was slander and bitter gossip about Bishop Murphy. There may have been, but that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the bath water. Barnum has been roundly criticized for his statement here, and I think rightfully so. The internet is not the culprit. Murphy blamed it too (in the form of Conger and others) as if somehow his hand was forced. But there is no logic behind resigning because a letter rebuking you also appeared in the press. A much sounder policy would be to have ignored the press and the blogs, and pressed on working with Rwanda. 

 The result wasn’t for us to step back and slow down as our Archbishop advised. Instead, the frenzy of the internet somehow became our frenzy and everything sped up with speed way beyond control.

This is certainly true. The pace of events was dizzying, and I believe it was driven not by the internet, but rather by the desire to have things wrapped up by Winter Conference, in order to sell the finalized vision to the Conference and keep on rolling. I can’t prove it, but it is the most sound explanation I can conjecture. Events this very week add weight to the thesis, because why would Archbishop Kolini feel the need to get Murphy and Rwaje together so soon? Why the meetings every week and the frenetic pace of travel? The only reason I see is to present a finished product to the Winter Conference. 

2 thoughts on “Commenting on the Barnum Letter – 4”

  1. Would you say Rwaje and Murphy’s joint statement was a work of PR as well?

    Seems to me that based on your time line, that joint statement was in the midst of all of what was going on so unless there is more to the story, both men were lying about everything being OK.

    Rwaje put his name to it. Doesn’t that raise some questions or does Murphy get all of the credit/criticism for it for the legitimacy. Rwanda has been painted pretty in all of this and that may be fair. However, let’s not forget that we were all given a united front from both Murphy and Rwaje up to the point of the “repent or resign” letter.

    1. Yes, I absolutely would say that. In my estimation, it was a shameful episode. I don’t want to elaborate on it publicly but I think it was a total PR move that Pawleys must have thought would be effective and instead it blew up on them.

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