Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Anglican Covenant, Round 3

Today the Anglican Communion Office released the third draft of the Anglican Covenant. [Note: At the bottom of that page, you'll need to scroll from page 1 (the introduction) to page 2 (the text of the covenant draft) to page 3 (which includes a list of the group members and links to the provinces' responses to the previous draft).]

Well ... I think I've already buried the lede.

This one is named the Ridley-Cambridge Covenant, because it was written during a meeting at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. The previous version was the St. Andrew's draft, because they all played golf instead of engaging in ecclesial dialogue. [Yeah, that's a joke.]

So far, a couple of my favorite blogs have offered some news and reflections about it:

Episcopal Café's The Lead has a story here. And several people are posting thoughtful comments.
Thinking Anglicans has it here.

More will surely weigh in soon, and I'll try to link to them.

I like MadPriest's simple analysis:
There is nothing controversial or limiting about most of it and this fact, of course, makes it completely unnecessary as those of us, no longer subject to the law, have said all along.

However, there is just one sentence, right towards the end of the lengthy document, that will change our lives forever. Basically it takes the church away from the people of the church and gives it to something called "The Joint Standing Committee of the Anglican Consultative Council and of the Primates' Meeting." From now on this piece of primate controlled beurocracy [sic] will be our pope.

"If a Church refuses to defer a controversial action, the Joint Standing Committee may recommend to any Instrument of Communion relational consequences which specify a provisional limitation of participation in, or suspension from, that Instrument until the completion of the process set out below."

But does the covenant give us an option if we do not want to be told what to think, by this new dictator, on all matters that it deems controversial?

Of course, it does.

Evidently, we can lump it.

MadPriest nails it. The Anglican Communion is being asked to give short shrift to the creeds, the Quadrilateral, our historic ties to scripture, reason, and tradition ... and to bow down before the golden calf of the Anglican Covenant.

I am reminded of the quotation attributed to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. When asked what defines the Anglican Communion, it is reported that he said: "We meet."

I am mindful of Archbishop Akinola who is again supporting draconian legislation that targets gay men and lesbians in Nigeria and may have abetted the slaughter of Muslims in Nigeria. I am mindful of Bishop Kunonga in Rwanda, who is complicit in genocide with Mugabe's government. I am mindful of Archbishop Gomez, Chair of the covenant drafting group, who presides over Jamaica, which the U.S. State Department says has a terrifying record of hate crimes against LGBTs. No doubt, these men will all sign onto the covenant, claiming they are holding fast to the "faith once delivered to the saints." After all, the authors of the covenant have no problem with genocide; they simply hates queers.

Is there any real provision in the covenant under which we can say to them: You are failing to uphold the Word of God? See Mark Harris' reflections about whether a basic support for human rights might be a worthy prerequisite to any covenant.

Perhaps the Episcopal Church (U.S.) and some others will decline to sign on this bit of pottage.

The Anglican covenant as now conceived by the Windsor Continuation Group and the Ridley Cambridge drafters seems merely designed to shun those provinces that recognize LGBTs as members of the faith community. They're fine with genocide; they just don't want the queers to get uppity. Otherwise, why all the hullabaloo?


Blogger Ann said...

And who voted on the Instruments of Unity - originally just a convenient term for the AC web site. Oh the power of words to become real.

4/08/2009 7:44 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Ann, I just know you're setting me up ... but ... my guess would be: Nobody voted on them. Am I correct?

4/08/2009 7:50 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

No we never voted to make them that - it is a fiction of webmasters at the AC

4/08/2009 8:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks, Ann. I thought so.

But Ephraim and his boys have been working fast and furious to make the fiction into reality, haven't they?

4/08/2009 8:27 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Yes -- a sample of him on T1:9 todayhere.

4/08/2009 8:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

ENS has now issued a press release which includes this from covenant-drafter Katherine Grieb, New Testament professor at Virginia Theological Seminary:

"As members of the communion read the Ridley Cambridge Draft, Grieb said, she hopes that they remember that 'there's some give and take in communion discourses in general where there is sacrifice and self-limitation required of all the parties to this proposed covenant.'"

Lisa to Ridley Group: Please enumerate to me what provinces (aside from TEC and ACC) are being asked to offer any sacrifice or limitation?

4/08/2009 8:53 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Thanks for that T1:9 link, Ann. I believe Radner makes his prejudice fairly clear there: He is looking for a way for GAFCON to sign on. He shall have his reward.

4/08/2009 9:01 PM  
Blogger Lapinbizarre said...

Thank you, Ann, for the link to Radner's T 19 post. The ACI's response to the Armstrong/Grace Church business still leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Connoisseurs of "reasserter" weaseling and doublespeak treasure Saralaughed's detailed analysis of Christopher Seitz's scatter-shot squid-ink response to the Grace Church scandal.

Radner's T 19 comments, sections 3 & 4 in particular, suggest near-Leninist intent towards the future accumulation and shaping of power - "A covenant to which members of the ACC and Primates Meeting, for instance, are party, will however and eventually (perhaps quite soon) alter the criteria, dynamics, and goals of decision-making among these members and (if they gain a majority) the Instrument itself ...... Non-covenanting churches, even if still members of an Instrument, will not be party to such consultation and decision-making."

The devil is in the parentheses -
"(if they gain a majority)" "(perhaps quite soon)".

4/09/2009 5:38 AM  
Blogger Leonardo Ricardo said...

They continue to ¨know not what they do¨...except, I think they´s about´s about reality vs. insanity...the Gafconners are scared to will be dark tomorrow but then there will be light...hopefully some will see better and undo what they ¨do.¨

4/09/2009 4:38 PM  
Blogger Caminante said...

I keep praying for (and working toward) the understanding that though The Episcopal Church will continue to analyse these drafts, when all is said and done we will NOT sign onto any covenant.

And I hope that we will be able to quash any attempts at GC to vote up or down on the RCD.

All this draft did was move the hateful appendix into section 4.

I can't help but be cynical imagining their hope that by releasing it during Holy Week, we'd all be so busy praying we would not pay it any mind.

Say things long and often enough and they will become reality. That is what the proponents of the 4IU (I just can't stop thinking of a marching band) hope. After all, there they are enshrined on the AC website home page.

The covenant represents an attempt to establish uniformity at the cost of unity and conformity at the cost of communion.

Endeth rant.

4/10/2009 7:18 PM  
Blogger Laura Toepfer said...


Did you see the article at the Lead on the background of the Instruments of Unity? (I mean, I'd be astonished if you hadn't, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.)


4/11/2009 2:10 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Caminante, I'm glad to know what you're thinking about this document. I don't see you as a person much given to knee-jerk reactions, so your comments buttress my own concerns.

4/11/2009 8:57 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Yes, Laura, I did. I check the Episcopal Cafe every morning. They have written a lot of good stuff about this! I'll add a postscript to my post.

4/11/2009 8:58 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

I changed my mind. There was so much new information that I created a new post. Thank God for the folks -- especially those at Episcopal Cafe -- who are doing analysis and research and commentary!

4/11/2009 10:17 PM  

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