And so, I have encouraged my readership here to seek out information on this Anglican angst-ridden Covenant by heading over to Fr. Mark Harris' PRELUDIUM blog. He has the information. He breaks it down. And he doesn't become inflammatory about it.
On the other hand, Mad Priest at OF COURSE, I COULD BE WRONG has reduced the basics of this meeting in Jamaica down to its sum and substance. This post is quick, and worth it! MP doesn't pull punches ever... and I'm afraid the more I hear and read, the less I feel inclined to hold back from doing a little pounding myself.
Words fail me. At MP's OCICBW, I listened to a 35-minute press conference with the Rev. Canon Phillip Groves of Tanzania and England who is assisting in the leadership of the Continuing Indaba and Mutual Listening Project. Briefly, for those who didn't tune in to this blog or follow any of the big Bishop Bash at Lambeth Palace last year: Indaba is an African listening tradition that the purple-shirts practiced during their two-week meeting last July as they tried to learn about cultural differences within the Communion. It is NOT designed to come up with easy, knee-jerk answers; hence, I think it's a good exercise as everyone tries to learn from each other.
Anyway, there's going to be more "listening" is what I gather... and Canon Groves seemed quite pleased with how these straight, mostly male, people can "listen" on the topic of human sexuality. When a reporter from the Anglican gay-rights organization Changing Attitude asked a question about the lack of gay people involved in the discussions and listening at the ACC... Groves stumbled, bumbled, fumbled and seemed flummoxed at the idea. And in his answer, he committed the sin of sarcasm... noting that there were no youth members present either because you can't really have "a 15-year old Primate". (Please, sir, stay on task and answer the man's question!)
Since he couldn't give much of an answer, I will say that it is impossible to have an honest dialogue about me if I'm not in the room. And this listening process, which I think is very important, will only work if there is a good faith attempt to listen to the LGBT community. Sadly in Africa where, in some places, homosexual behavior is a crime... it's going to be hard to find people to dialogue with on human sexuality. Meanwhile, a great opportunity to have such a dialogue last summer was made much more difficult because the Archbishop decided he didn't want "the gay bishop" at Lambeth. How much further along would the Indaba process have been if they had included +Gene of New Hampshire, and not reduced him to a "fringe event"?
Rev. Canon Groves made a remark about how difficult this listening process is, and how things are not as simple as I had previously suggested about reading the Baptismal Covenant. He didn't elaborate on that point, and I was not there to challenge him. I believe he is correct in saying that the listening process is difficult because in order to hear, and not simply listen, requires an effort to let go of ego and assumptions. But I maintain that the Baptismal Covenant is the covenant that we need to define ourselves as Anglican.
So take your Ridley Cambridge Draft Covenant... and Windsdor Group Report... and B033 and all the other mularkey and toss it in the toilet. They are stumbling blocks, folks!