Saturday, October 23, 2010

I Bet St. James Would Have Cried Foul

Grant, O God, that following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.--Collect for St. James of Jerusalem

The readings assigned this morning for St. James of Jerusalem, thought to be the brother of Jesus, seem so on point as I read of next month's pending decision in the Church of England to vote in favor of the Anglican Covenant (thus supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury) or to defeat it with less than a majority vote (which would seem to be a slap to ++Rowan). In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus reminds the disciples that he is sending them out "like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." In other words, there are hardships coming. They will be reviled and brought up on all kinds of charges, but they must keep the faith and endure to the end. Don't worry about what you'll say to all of this; God will do the speaking.
I think this is what has troubled me about this whole Anglican Covenant nonsense. It is true that not everybody in the Communion is seeing eye to eye on a variety of social justice issues. But rather than accepting that we are not all of one accord, and trusting in the spirit that has kept many of us praying and working through our temporal differences, the Archbishop is proposing a plan that cuts off discussion, and attempts to smack about the head any member of the Communion who might do something that another member of the Communion finds troubling enough to "impair" relations between members. For those of us in the Episcopal Church, we can't help but read into this language in the Covenant that we are getting set up to be sent to the wolves for our willingness to treat all persons as equals.
In a post on Bishop Alan's blog, Bishop Alan Wilson gives a couple of metaphors for the Covenant: you can see it either as a Swiss Army knife or a Turkey Turner. I prefer the latter. And this is one bird that is far from done!

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