So the Windsor Report that nobody really authorized has now called for an Anglican Covenant which nobody has authorized. Neither of those idols has any authority ... except that the whole Anglican Communion has been dancing to their tunes.
So they have been commanding a fair bit of attention.
Please read Bishop Carol Gallagher's marvelous comments on "constancy and covenant." Because she is "only" a suffragan bishop, she's not at Lambeth, but she well articulates what I have been sensing about the move toward a legal "covenant." Let me quote at length the opening of her essay:
At The Lead, Jim Naughton wonders:
We have a cat named Darla (the dog's name is Petey) who has just turned six months. She is still a kitten in some senses but she is approaching that age when she will be considered fully grown. The dog and the cat (both girls) love to play together, fighting without hurting and chasing each other around then flopping down and sleeping side by side. They are constant in their companionship. And every morning, Darla, without fail, will scratch on our bedroom door for admittance, and find her favorite spot on the bed, rubbing her nose against who ever might be closest by. Constancy in relationship. She is persistent and soft, willing at all times to be cuddled and scratched. Petey likewise follows me around, sits in the office with me and want to go for rides in the car, especially to the train station when Mark is commuting home. Constancy and faithfulness. Yes, they respond to us because we feed them and care for them, but there is something more. The bond is deeper.
The conversation at Lambeth has been focused on Covenant. I am concerned that covenant is how we legislate when we don't have the desire for constancy and faithfulness. We have decided that prescribing a written remedy is better than finding a way to be constant in our love and care for one another. We maybe haven't fed each other enough, we haven't depended upon each other enough, we haven't wanted the companionship enough to evoke constancy and faithfulness. Have we spent enough time listening to each other, both in demands and in purring, in light and in darkness? Have we held each other close as the world closed in around us? Constancy and faithfulness don't need a covenant, they need a loving desire for the presence of others.
If, like me, you are beginning to worry that this interminable dispute is bad for the member provinces of the Anglican Communion--that we may be damaging churches in order to save the organization to which they belong--then you may take a dimmer view. Is it possible that relationships among members of the Communion would actually improve if the Communion did not exist? That is what I am starting to wonder.Mark Harris expects the Anglican Communion to die in its present form, that something new may be born:
Something is going to give soon, and it will not be pretty. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Afterwards there will be a place of refreshment. But afterwards we can get on with the things that make each of our churches an instrument of God's unfolding will for the people of God.I have watched the events of the Anglican Communion too closely over the past five years. Frankly, I am ready for the present reality of the Anglican Communion to die. It has become a mechanism of oppression and death. Nowadays, I do not want to admit to being an "Anglican," for that term has become synonymous with a sexuality-obsessed mechanism of hatred. Too often now, when talking with friends, I have to clarify that I am an Episcopalian, but not an "Anglican," for I have to distance myself from the hatemongers who have captured the "Anglican" brand.
Please God, let something new and life-giving arise from the ashes.