04 June 2007

Learning from the Global Center

Lots of bloggers have commented on the recent statement by a number of Anglican bishops from Central and South America. I think we can learn much from these bishops. They are not agreed on some significant issues, but yet they have committed themselves to staying in fellowship, Eucharistic fellowship in particular.
[O]ur concern has grown because of the polarization regarding the biblical and theological positions manifested in the Anglican Communion, during the last years; positions known as Global North and Global South, non reconcilable in their character and putting the unity in the Communion at risk.

In the midst of this painful controversy, we do not identify with either side, because they don't fully represent the spirit of our thoughts.

It has been proven in our relations that we greatly represent the plurality and diversity that are universal characteristics of Anglicanism and that we hold different positions on the themes that are presently discussed in the Communion. However, we have also experienced that the plurality and diversity we represent has become a rich source for growth, rather than a cause for controversy and division.

We unanimously express our determination to remain united as members of the same family and will continue to come to the Lord's Table, together.

I'm with Greg Jones+ on this one: "this statement from the Anglican bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean is perhaps the finest statement of 'Anglican Centrism' I have seen in some time." It's not just Anglican Centrism, I would argue, but authentic, plain Anglicanism.

This is how the church should work: while we are in (sometimes painful!) disagreement with one another, we draw together at the Holy Table to be reminded of who we are, of what the church is, and of our relationship to God.

Also, at the risk of coming off as pedantic, I note that sundry commentators have complained that these bishops do not include among themselves the Southern Cone or the West Indies. I guess the conservatives are upset because of a definite article: "We the Anglican Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean..." It would have been more accurate, granted, if they had said, "We, some Anglican bishops..." For the record, the so-called Global South does not include every province in the Southern Hemisphere, but it does reach into the Northern a bit. But I think the real cause of conservative angst could be that so many bishops, including a few primates, would sign a letter calling the Global South to account. And many of these bishops have the temerity to be...from the actual global south.

Now, back to non-pedantic mode: this statement reflects a kind of intentional focus that our Communion needs right now. I'll repeat it again, as I often write and preach, we will not solve this "crisis" by shunning one another. We will move through this, by the grace of God, as we gather in prayer, study, fellowship, and -- most important -- at the Holy Table in the presence of Jesus Christ.


Ann Marie said...


Reverend boy said...

As a gay man, I totally second that. I hope more voices like that continue to be heard.

Amen and Amen!

Scott Gunn said...

Yes, amen indeed. Tell all your friends and neighbors to pray for the Global Center. Offer the Global Center your support -- whether through a letter, a donation, or a prayer.

We need more of these voices to be heard, and that requires us those of us who can to amplify this important message.