What a good idea it was to bring out the RCDC before Easter weekend, just when everyone is at their busiest or looking both inward and outward in a worshipful sense. There has been immediate reaction, but nothing like what would be expected had it emerged next week. Some of it has involved quizzing Ephraim Radner's mind, though I think a document always takes on a life of its own.
I suspect the comment is not like 'burying bad news on a bad day' but rather to dull an immediate reaction. Certainly I was busy, preparing a Unitarian service for Easter Day and for an important job interview.
(People have asked me how it went. Well they asked so many specific questions, some of which were not about how you do study skills and academic writing, and there were some surprises about method, that I answered the questions, and despite all the preparation didn't "shine" like I wanted and had at a previous interview for a similar post elsewhere, and I have no news of the result despite it having been possible news that afternoon.)
The response to the draft is that it moves towards the concerns of The Episcopal Church, and in this it gives proper Christian motivation for change, and also allows for biblical scholarship (not always friendly to surface readings, or that assumed in GAFCON's Jerusalem's Declaration). On top of this, the word Church is emphasised (but seems loose) and so is autonomy and taking up the Covenant from within the Churches. Is this all in order to encourage TEC to accept the Covenant, and sympathisers to accept it? What if, though, the meat of the document remains the same - to centralise to the Communion, to defer/ delay and conserve? What, though, if such meat of the document is undermined by the document's changes itself? Does it do that?
I think it is safe to say that the RCDC is unlikely to achieve what the 2006 talk set out to want. If the 2006 view was for a premier league and a second division, then the RCDC rather wants all in the premier league. It is very sensitive about what constitutes Anglicanism too. Is this a good sign, or not? Even if so, does it render the document incapable of doing anything, or is it so subtle that it actually does achieve a little centralising and a little coming together to be worth having (because it has become more vountary) in its goal?
I read the document quickly, and then I read it to highlight the choice paragraphs and choice text within paragraphs, and have since read it again. My coming Episcopal Café piece will include an appeal to the imagination as a way of picturing the document and it will give a definite view on the usefulness of the document. Just my view: and see if it has changed.
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