Monday, 2 February 2009

Primates Meet and Anglicans Sleep

How interesting. The Primates of Anglicanism meet in Alexandria and there is a huge absence of interest, or at best a dulled absence of interest.

I admit to being uninterested, but this may be related to falling down a blow hole that does have an exit sign attached to it, though I'm actually in the hole and haven't fallen out the bottom yet.

There are other reasons why the Primates gathering is showing an absence of interest. It is because of the recognition that all these Instruments of Communion are somewhat neutered. Someone, somehow (suspect it is a chap at Canterbury) has kicked them all into touch.

Plus a boil was burst when GAFCON walked off, and with this attempt to set up its own Church with a skin condition (ACNA). It is up to GAFCON and its Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA) to show how successfully or otherwise it can expand. It will probably find it is unsuccessful as it pierces the Anglican marshmallow and only picks out little bits for itself.

Then there is the resistance to the Covenant, or how it is being neutered in order not to be juridical in any sense, nor to change the nature of Anglicanism. Here is what The Episcopal Church stated in its response to the St. Andrew's Draft:

[87] The Anglican Covenant idea thus is linked with both the hopes of our ecumenical [88] partners that we might better speak as one and the hopes within the churches of [89] the Anglican Communion that we might speak with authority to one another as [90] Anglicans. The burdens this places on any such text are enormous. Care needs to [91] be taken that our conversations around an Anglican covenant do not draw us [92] necessarily toward a hierarchical model of a church union or even the perception [93] of Anglicanism as a singular global church.

This is probably the position of most Churches, especially the perspective of Western ones:

TEC commits [111] itself to the process but this commitment does not implicitly commit TEC to [112] ultimate approval of a covenant.

There are a couple of interesting passages which attempt to push the basis of a Covenant towards a more middling Anglican position, away from literalism as the basis of Church to Church judgment of membership:

[234] The reading of scripture in our personal and corporate lives by the whole people [235] of God (in liturgy) has historically been the way by which Anglicans engage in [236] biblical interpretation. We suggest "the teaching and initiative of bishops and [237] synods" be deleted and the words "corporate prayer and individual study [238] informed by rigorous scholarship" be inserted (Lex orandi, lex credendi).

[239] 1.2.6: Deputations raised the question if it is possible to discern once and for all [240] God's Truth? This presupposes that churches in the communion can know fully [241] what God is doing in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We recommend [242] that this sentence read, "to pursue a common pilgrimage that enables people [243] from all nations to be set free to receive the new and abundant life in Jesus [244] Christ" with the words, "to discern the Truth" deleted.

That improves the position of scholarship, and turns Christ from a truth-proving matter into a pilgrimage.

Finally TEC corrects the assumptions about the Lambeth Conference and the Anglican Consultative Counsel that have gone along with the centralising tendency:

the [304] Lambeth Conference does not "guard the faith and unity of the Communion" - [305] we suggest that the words "expresses episcopal collegiality worldwide, gathers the [306] bishops for common counsel, consultation and encouragement and equips [307] bishops as leaders in God's mission" be substituted; 3) the ACC represents the [308] Provinces of the Anglican Communion and not the provincial synods ...

If these were put in place, and the juridical material removed, then much of the force of the Covenant would be corrected and removed, but then it would be pointless.

Such matters as these may be why the Primates Meeting in Alexandria is associated with a certain amount of sleep. Either that or the Presiding Bishop of TEC has been absent so far and only when a woman arrives will other primates feel uncomfortable.

3 comments:

JayV said...

attempt to set up its own Church with a skin condition (ACNA) Very cute!

I read your blog and TA/E Cafe regularly, but I'm so sick of this shit. There's so much more... we should care about being a church, by living out our baptismal covenant.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Yes I have become one of the casualties of the long running disputes, with less concern to report and comment on them.

dmk said...

It takes so much time to keep up with all the manoeverings (no idea if that's spelt right) that I gave up a while ago. And now there is so much catching up to do that I really can't be bothered. I don't know what the Anglican Covenant is, and I really can't be fussed to find out. I blame the blogosphere, too much stuff to read!