Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Denied but Important Aspects of the Proposed covenant

Recent discussions of the proposed Anglican covenant largely ignore certain aspects of the proposal that need airing; specifically the affect of the proposal's adoption upon LGBT persons and upon TEC's ministry with, of, and to LGBT persons and couples. I've noted once or twice a suggestion that LGBT persons should just wait for now, as though discrimination is acceptable for a while longer (!), but, rightly so, this suggestion has been challenged and put down.

But largely the conversations have ignored the origins of the proposed covenant in both misogyny and homophobia. One need only remember that it was the ordination of priests who are women that led to the "crisis" identified by the Archbishop and his Commission on Communion and the Ordination of Women, which then led to the Virginia Report and its suggestions of a "universal authority;" and that it was the "crisis" of the election of an unapologetically gay man to be a bishop that led to the Archbishop's appointment of a Lambeth Commission on Communion.  I hope people are seeing here a top-down reactionary response to the autonomy of TEC (and of the Church of Canada) in the identification of ministries of which the Archbishop disapproves as subjects of 'crisis.' So influential has the ABC been in the processes of these Commissions that he has been able to set the terms purely by fiat. Without conversation, dialogue, or debate the Archbishop has taken extraordinarily presumptuous privilege in naming these ministries as crises in the Communion. And his approach has been quite effective, because the rest of us have been on the defensive ever since.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Myths behind the proposed covenant

In conversations about our relationship as the Episcopal Church with other Churches of the Anglican Communion, it seems to me important that we recognize that we need not allow our attention to be taken hostage by the attempts of some to focus us on the proposed Anglican covenant.  It is merely a proposal and we can do a lot of good for our sister Churches if we reinforce this reality in our conversations.  In like manner, we can do a lot of good also by recognizing that our relationship with sister Churches of the Communion are not different in any practical sense from our ecumenical relationships with Churches of communions other than the Anglican.  
The proposed covenant is rooted in many false assumptions.  And its sponsors and authors seek to perpetuate many more.  The claim that the proposal is voluntary may be legally true; but more accurately described, it is coercive.  It seeks to perpetuate the myth that the Anglican Communion is a single Church, rather than an association of constitutionally independent Churches.  It seeks also to perpetuate the myth that there are four Instruments of the Communion.  The idea of four "instruments of Communion" was introduced in the Virginia Report of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, published in 1997.