March 8, 2012

Not again: Golden Apples

Yes, this is another comment on the Covenant. (Contrary to what some say, I do not spend all my time thinking about this. I'm a fast writer; what can I say.) I do want to clarify something I've said before, and that is, I am not opposed to the idea of a pan-Anglican Congress to explore some kind of common agreements. I am clearly opposed to the current Covenant Proposal because I think it was drafted, revised slightly, and proffered in too much haste for something as important for our life together as a Communion of churches. It's tepid reception is evidence of others similar thinking.

I and some of those others have suggested in its place a series of Anglican Congresses with all orders of ministry, including the laity, and representing the whole Communion. It is vital to understand that this is not necessarily to come up with a more centralized government. The concern is finding effective ways of working, and the reliance on Lambeth, for instance, which might have been of use a hundred years ago, is not helpful in the present day. The Primates' Meeting is even worse — the notion that one person can speak effectively for an entire (in some cases multi-) nation-church is a bit absurd. I would if anything see a beefing-up of the ACC as a mission-oriented body more concerned with facilitating relationships between the provinces — not governing them.

The point is that the world is moving away from pyramidal or hub and spoke orientations to networks — and the Anglican Communion is ahead of the curve as an essentially networked structure to start with. We could be the Christian Polity of the future and not even know it — or squander it in a premature grab at a dazzling prize: a golden apple of distraction in the race towards the higher goal! 

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG


Pfalz prophet said...

I noticed that forty advertisers or so abandoned Rush Limbaugh in a matter of three or four days. This phenomenon was the result of a confluence of technology and community. Christianity has always been a religion of community, of relationships; technology is helping to facilitate community, we should acknowledge and rejoice in that.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Thanks, P.P. We are invited to make use of all of these networks of connection, and isn't that what the church should be?

Erika Baker said...

But technology has also increased our exposure to the previously unfamiliar and shortened our response time.
It's not really surprising that this can result in powerful conflicts.

It's one thing to look for mechanisms to deal with conflict after it has arisen. I hope that we will eventually find a way of not allowing the negative aspects of technolgoy to push us into conflict in the first place.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG said...

Erika, I think the increased pace and reactivity is another reason we need to chill and not rush to approve a half-baked covenant. If this is that important, let's take the time to work it through. I believe that even the Global South will come around eventually -- but it will take time.