Monday, May 23, 2011

The "Good News" Within the Anglican Covenant Process

Is it possible that there is any possible good that could come out of the long and arduous process of reviewing and voting on the Anglican Covenant?  Well, after much thought I would have to say, I think so.

Let me begin by saying that this Covenant ought to be rejected out of hand.  Enough time has been wasted and enough ink has been used and enough breath to float a lead zeppelin (Pun intended?).  But what has it pointed out?

Well, it has pointed out that it is time for the Episcopal Church in the United States to change it's very foundations.  Want to do something really worthwhile then let's spend some time re-constructing this thing we call the Episcopal Church.  Let's take a look at  what William White originally proposed and perhaps reinvigorate the Episcopal Church in the United States with less political authority in the hands of bishops and clergy and more in the hands of the laity.  Bishops, at at their very core, are pastoral beings, not politicians.  We need to reconfigure their role in the diocese so that they can take care of the clergy and the pastoral needs of the community. endlessly worrying about the next great heresy has given many a false sense of superiority and it seems to have overwhelmed their ability to understand and operate in the real world.  Re-focusing on the issue of pastoral care for the flock will, I hope, rekindle both clergy and laity in their quest for the two great commandments.

A governing system needs to be constructed that provides true equality for all persons.  A unicameral house with equal votes with equal representation.  Yes, we could call it radical inclusivity!  What a concept!  It should be flatter and meet more frequently, perhaps every two years.  Eliminate the concept of province and reconfigure diocese to reflect a current and practical application.

Why all the hubbub?  Well, one thing for sure has been crystallized and that is we (the Episcopal Church) is not enamoured with anything that looks like a hierarchical church, structure or theology.  The Anglican Covenant discussion has given us that much.  So, lets scrub the Anglican Covenant and get down to the basics.  We construct our church on the basis or radical inclusivity, the idea that Jesus, the savior came for all people -- Jews and Gentiles; men and women; straight and gay; he came for us all and he will not leave without all of us going with him.  So let's construct the basic foundation of the Episcopal Church on that idea and create our mission so that everyone can see and no one can mistake what it is we are doing. 

In the end, those that join us join us and those that do not do not but we are neither hindered by those that join nor those that do not join.