Friday, November 4, 2011
How Time Flies: Happy Birthday, NACC
The goal was simple: an online campaign to educate the global Communion about the dangers of adopting a document designed to centralize power in the Anglican Communion to a group of bishops and others in the hierarchy who would dictate what's what, and sanction any Church that doesn't do as they say. It is, in my opinion, a throwback to the days of the Oxford Movement and this idea that somehow we had lost our way and need correction for "orthodoxy" sake. And, much as the supporters of the Anglican Covenant have tried to deny this, it is a punishing document that attempts to do the unthinkable: streamline thinking in the Anglican Communion.
Study the history of the development of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion and you'll see that we, those who have bought into communal relationship, have always been a motley crew that were held together by belief in a Triune God... and conviction that one should apply reason to scripture and church tradition (thank you, Richard Hooker). To suddenly decide that we need to agree to "What is an Anglican" is absurd and arrogant. And it seems from accounts around the world, the only ones who can agree to the Covenant's terms are the ones sitting on island nation in Europe, sipping their tea and repeating the line that the Covenant is "the only way forward." As MadPriest notes, this insistence will be the death of the Church of England.
I have not been as active a member in the No Anglican Covenant Coalition during the past several months. I care about what's happening and I'm impressed with the work our group has done to assemble documents and arguments, not to mention the countless blog entries all of us have written. Our international leader, Revd. Dr. Lesley Crawley, has done well to keep our message out there as has our stateside leader Lionel Deimel. There is a certain soap opera-like quality to the Anglican Covenant storyline that allows me to check in and out and still know--roughly--what's happening while I continue to eek out a living and participate in the church as a member of the laity. My own contribution to the Coalition has been the occasional bit of humor as expressed through the Bishop YellowBelly series which can be found HERE. Between me and Mr. CatOLick, I think we have used comedy to the best effect of pointing out the ridiculousness of the Covenant.
The latest news is that yet another Maori member of the Communion has rejected the Covenant. In the United States, dioceses are rolling out their rejections of the document as we countdown to our General Convention in Indianapolis next July. I haven't heard what the Diocese of Florida wants to do with it, and we usually don't get that news unless we call Jacksonville and ask for it. I probably won't make that call until early next year. I have a feeling that as much as our Bishop enjoys the Lambeth Conference too many on this side of the pond are seeing the Covenant as a ham-fisted way to solve a perceived problem. And those of us who have lived through the schisms and the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the "more orthodox than thou" believe that this document only continues to stir pot whose contents have already been emptied.
The only way forward is simply to move forward. Boldly and bumbling as we attempt to run without stumbling to obtain the heavenly promises of God. Nix the Covenant and let's get on with it.