19 February 2007

What is the Communion worth?

Today will be the telling day. Right down to the wire, the primates are working to craft a single statement. Some reports indicate that a minority statement will be issued by the so-called Global South primates. Other sources expect a single report that chastises ECUSA and demands immediate repentance.

Today we'll finally have some answers, rather than another day of unending schism-is-nearly-upon-us articles. Depending on how things shake out today, we may begin a cycle of will-ECUSA-grovel-enough-to-stay-in-the-Communion articles.

So we should all begin asking ourselves what the Communion is worth. The Akinolites seem to feel that putting pressure on +Rowan is more important than feasting in the Eucharist. Yesterday, they chose to use this sacrament as a political weapon in their struggle, so their value on the Communion must be high, though I still can't quite fathom it.

Akinola has said that the Church of England may not be Anglican enough. Hello? What is the definition of the Anglican Communion other than communion with the See of Canterbury. So, +Peter, if one of you isn't Anglican enough, the problem isn't +Rowan. So again, what's up?

Then there are haunting questions for us progressives. +Rowan may tacitly endorse a second province in the US, which would be a disaster. The alphabet soup of dissident groups would only proliferate once disunity is built into our polity. And what would stop me from traveling to Lagos to set up a missionary parish for moderate Nigerian Anglicans (which may represent a sizable portion of +Peter's church)? Already, the dissenting statement has begun to exact a price on Communion-wide relations. Is the Communion so precious to us that we would ask our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ to make further sacrifices? Can we ignore our vision of a Gospel mandate of complete love and radical inclusion live in a law-based Christianity?

I hope, for the sake of our mission -- and the fullness of the church on earth -- that we can find a way forward together. We need to talk with +Peter, and he needs to talk with us. Rowan sent a clear message yesterday about humility, repentance, and love. Let's hope everyone was listening. It's a pity +Peter wasn't there to hear. I hope he does not continue to walk apart.

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