Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Covenant: is it dead yet?

This bishop wants all of us to sign on to the proposed Anglican Covenant:

One really doesn't want to discourage him, but things aren't going too well for it. As usual, the folks at the Episcopal Cafe are all lining up to denounce it, and while they are at it, Rowan Williams for daring to suggest the thing in the first place. They even have a special guest appearance from Louie Crew, while Tobias Haller has devoted seven out of his last nine blog posts to discussing/denouncing it.

It doesn't get that much more support from the other end of the church-political spectrum (though anyone calling Williams "the Archdruid" has utterly squandered their moral credibility, at least as far as I'm concerned). The only people who seem to support it are a group of stubborn moderates-to-conservatives.

What dooms the covenant is that the sin has already been committed. The Americans press upon the communion as a whole their internal solution to these theological disputes: the progressives present a fait accompli, and everyone else is put in the position of having to either welcome the repudiation of the past, try to live with the unacceptable, or make some sort of break, the latter then being characterized as the only real sin in the matter. But simply as a reaction, I would not call it sin at all. In a sense all the covenant does is put the organization in the position of supporting the resisters instead of the radicals. And that's not going to fly because (a) the Church of England has lots of bishoprics who want to be numbered among the welcomers to the various innovations, (b) everyone in ECUSA understands that the existing pressure we exert on the communion is gong to be the first target of the "disciplinary" provisions in section 4, and (c) nobody in ECUSA cares about keeping the conservative provinces in the communion.

ECUSA's leadership is hopelessly disfunctional anyway. Here we are, looking at a proposed budget which is almost impossible to amend at GC, and even the liberals can see that defunding youth ministry in favor of the central offices is dumb. Meanwhile the state of Virginia is giving the separatist buildings back to the ECUSA diocese, which I am reasonably sure will not be able to keep them all open. And presumably GC will approve same sex marriages this summer, so as not to embarrass the bishops of Maryland and Washington when they permit those rites to go forward in January at the behest of the state.

After that, what is there left to do? Assuming that the Occupy movement lasts that long, no doubt there will be many in the hierarchy urging us to speed it on, and never mind that our church depends on all those upper middle incomes not just for money, but for our social milieu. They will urge us on in the battle against climate change, thought really there isn't a lot the church can do in this. And that is fortunate for it, as again in this one we are mostly the enemy whom we are to combat. Increasingly there is little reason to stay Anglican except as Anglicanism is defended from, well, itself; my church increasingly offers little in the way of religion, and as for the rest, the heathen do as much.

1 comment:

Cradle Anglican said...

Thanks for the good work you are doing keeping us up-to-date on what's going on in the TEC. God is still on His throne despite the shenanigans of the false shepherds and unregenerate pew-sitters in the professing Church. I was encouraged recently after a brief meeting with Lord Carey who has been in the US preaching. Despite some disagreements with him, he is a true Christian trying to remain faithful to Christ in an increasingly apostate Communion. I encourage everyone to get a copy of his new book and to earnestly contend for the Faith! A genuine spiritual awakening is needed in the Anglican Church. Prayer and a rediscovery of the authentic Apostolic Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only hope for us.

Under the Mercy,
Cradle Anglican