October 9, 2010

Salon des Refusants

or, The Impertinence of Being Ernest
or, Global (South) Warning and Primate Change

Archbishop of the Indian Ocean Ian Ernest has let it be known, says the Church Times, that if the Primate of the Episcopal Church attends the next meeting of the Primates in Dublin in 2011, he will not attend. A few other Global South Primates have indicated likewise, and the cabal will be gathering for a strategy session presently. As I noted earlier, and as the article in the Church Times says, David Anderson has pressed for an alternative strategy — for the Global Southerners to attend en masse and force our Presiding Bishop out. Ernest's note to Canterbury may be seen as a trial balloon, or shot across the vow. The inimitable Ephraim Radner continues pressing for the Global South to sign on to the Covenant, if only to then amend it to their liking by giving the somewhat attenuated Section 4 a set of dentures. (One of the few reasons I see for absolutely everyone to sign on to the Covenant — if only to prevent such mischief-making.)

For while this whole notion of forming consensus by excluding a priori or posteriori those who disagree appears to be an airtight methodology, sure to produce the desired effect of speaking with a common voice, at least on some hot button topics, it does seem to me to argue against the whole point of having a meeting in the first place. Much better to stay at home, or meet only in the conventicle and sectarian echo-chamber, than in anything resembling the breadth of opinion current in the Anglican Communion as a whole. (Of course, that breadth of opinion is precisely what troubles those who want greater uniformity.) Such a partisan assemblage seems to be, to echo Jane Austen, "not so much a church," and more a sect, a caucus which however large in numbers has lost its richness and comprehension.

I earnestly hope that the next Primates' Meeting, even if only a [Some of the] Primates' Meeting, will only be so because of the refusal of some not to attend, rather than due to the forced exclusion of a minority voice. Some will choose to walk apart, but let that be their decision, not something imposed upon them. Meanwhile those who are willing to work together across and in spite of differences of opinion will be able to get on with the real work of the church.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

h/t Thinking Anglicans

5 comments:

Fred Schwartz said...

Tobias,
I respectfully disagree, at least in part. The Epsicopal Church needs to step out in faith with full inclusion as the basis for our renewed strength and energy and with new focus. There needs to be some adjustments to the structural church but allow those who wish to work with us to do so -- those who wish to walk apart to do so also.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Fred, I'm not sure we disagree. I didn't mean to suggest I favor signing the Kovenant, just that the only conceivable reason I can see for doing so would be to prevent its use as a bludgeon. A purely pragmatic, and somewhat cynical suggestion.

I do absolutely think it is time for new wineskins, and the Kovenant is far too much a step backwards to the old false Gospel of hierarchy and control. This is not of Christ.

IT said...

I thought you were more...agnositc on the covenant Tobias. The K suggests you have made a change...

Christopher said...

I think it would be far more instructive to let those who wish take control and use this covenant as they see fit, rather than trying to politick with it at all. in other words, let them use it to begin the purge, first of TEC, and then who knows who thereafter. Rather than get anymore caught up in this, there is a lot of folks and the whole of creation groaning for Good News. This whole Anglican affair has become institutionalism incurvatus se, a proclamation about ourselves as a tradition and an understanding of catholicity and unity that we make ourselves (by cutting out someone) rather than receive as pure gift not of our control. It's very sick, and becomes so obvious in light of bullying incidents this last week.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

IT, I have opposed the Covenant, especially Section 4, from the beginning. I'm speaking here, as Christopher suggests, of the purely Politick and pragmatic issue of what signing on or not might mean -- how best to deal with this Mess of Pottage presented to us as if it were a rich feast -- not a bad image for something that substitutes a bland casserole for a diverse and festive dinner.

I agree with Christopher that the Covenant is not only curvatus in se but a prime example of the libido dominandi at work. It is a classically Protestant sectarian response, masked in the shreds and patches of catholicism.