Thursday 4 March 2010

Verbose Governance

Just what is it about evangelicals and verbosity? Students have asked me, "How many words should this essay be?" My answer has been the question, "How many words does it take with sufficient relevant detail to answer the question?"

There is something about the Anglican Communion Institute and now the ACNA based American Anglican Council that wants to write a lot to give the appearance of gravitas. The Rev. Prof. Stephen Noll, Vice Chancellor of the Uganda Christian University has written about Communion Governance. He has done it in a 'History of the world from year dot' approach, as if every time there needs to be an argument about the Covenant the whole sordid history of the institutional manoeuvres needs retelling all over again. We know them, or can find out. So let's cut to the chase.

Following the resignation (but will still be around) of Mouneer Anis from the Standing Committee and the rapidly followed up enormous essay of the ACI, to try and 'shenanigan' (a verb I've just invented) a new Covenant-signers only Standing Committee into being, Stephen Noll has now changed his mind about his own recommended rush for Global South Anglican Churches to sign on to the Covenant. He now wants tactics to fit in more with the ACI schemers, but in fact goes further to say that there should only be a one track Communion, that is made up from signatories who sign up in spirit and letter to the Covenant as a disciplining document along with these changes:

  1. Replace references to "The Standing Committee" in section 4 with "Primates of churches that have adopted the Covenant."
  2. Change the wording of section 4.1.4 to read: "Every Church of the Anglican Communion is expected [instead of "invited"] to enter into this Covenant according to its own constitutional procedures.

The trouble is, this goes exactly against that video statement made by the Archbishop of Canterbury, that this is precisely not what the latest draft of the Covenant is supposed to be about.

So the question is, is the Covenant to be about what Noll wants or what the Archbishop wants? Who will succeed in defining the Covenant? The problem is, once a Covenant is accepted it becomes a 'thing' subject to manipulation. It becomes a football to kick. Anis, the ACI and now Noll may get their way, or perhaps the Archbishop can do another Lambeth 2008 control job or Jamaica ACC blinder (by switching arguments and leaving everyone utterly confused). It's a bit risky though. If there is no Covenant, then Anglicanism continues as before, with nothing to focus upon. Of course ACNA, GAFCON and the ACI need the political football to come into being in order to kick it their way (or they have to play on another created pitch - failure then is disastrous). The Archbishop may be a better dribbler and goal scorer than all of them, but is it worth the risk, and is it worth two tracks of insiders and outsiders as has been the Archbishop's previous argument (if it is previous - you see, he's so good with the dribbling the ball that like with a Quantum Weevil you've either no idea where he is or no idea where he is going!).

Oh what fun with the ongoing Anglican Wars, and how destructive they remain.


Anonymous said...

But does any one really give a shit ?

(No disrespect to Pluralist who is very conscientious)

I'm fed up with it all L


Anonymous said...

They need your word creator from here ! They d be better orff with words like jantakoo and the joy they bring !

Jantakoo thru and thru !!