Comments: Has the Covenant already sunk?

One can only hope that this is true. A punitive Covenant would be the death of big ten Anglicanism (that is the point, after all).

Posted by Prior Aelred at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 4:51pm GMT

As Pluralist and others have posted, any covenant which attempts to add something of force to the gracious covenant through which God already holds us all in Jesus of Nazareth as Risen Lord, despite and across all our believer differences, is either redundant or likely to be power driven by some partisan hidden agenda ... or two ... or three ... or four?

Those believers who have not the generous heart or mind to dwell comfortably within the Chicago Lambeth Quadrilateral - not to mention the dedication to work out their own salvation without aspiring to power for dominating others who are also working out their own salvation - will not be satisfied by any covenant which lacks policing and punishment powers to utterly conform Anglican ethics and theology worldwide in a sorry and self-serving conservative Anglican direction (which many think is not necessarily even Anglican, but rather owes too much already to USA Reconstructionist and/or Dominionist presuppositions?).

Anglican believers tend to be resilient, having already been through repeated rounds of just these types of conformity campaigning - since the beginnings, nearly? The mean narrowing and hindrance of both empirical and scholarly research which would the main effects of a suitably conservative covenant are even more toxic and wasteful. A conscience capable of learning and correction is difficult, not least when deprived of the best practice tools of modern inquiry and new data.

Will all higher degrees henceforth be scrambled egg honorary Doctorates of Divinity and such, self-perpetuating among all the conservative Alpha Males? All women to the church kitchen immediately? When was the last time any of the realignment campaign leaders bothered to read and think through a respected peer-reviewed empirical research report? Is the topography of human embodiment - especially in its contested sexual orientation hot button domains of the nasty moment - really as flat and neatly laid out as we once believed the earth, indeed the whole cosmos, to be? Is AB Gomez way too facile about the appearance or the actual substance of a considerable conflict of interest as he cheers on a nasty realignment campaign while also presiding over the drafting of covenant language as cover for that same nastiness of heart and mind?

A DOA covenant might be a blessing? So would it be marvelous as a help of the good Lord, given our healed eyes to behold?

Posted by drdanfee at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 5:33pm GMT

I believe the good prior meant "big tent" Anglicanism.

Having graduated from the University of Michigan, part of the Big Ten Conference, Anglicanism is certainly alive and well in its Episcopal chaplaincies and churches. :-)

Posted by Rev. Kurt Huber at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 6:28pm GMT

We live with hope. So many biblical passages, so many repetitions.

Yet still we try

Jeremiah 2:8-14 "The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me... my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the LORD. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder?"

Romans 4:13-15 "It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression."

Isaiah 51:1-7 "“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing… The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm… my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. “Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults.”

Posted by Cheryl Va. Clough at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 7:05pm GMT

A straightforward and useful summary of events does tend to show that this thing has not got legs of any use - Fulcrum argued against me very recently that this is where the centre of Anglicanism now is found, which is surely naive given the absence of responses and that they have hardly been an endorsement. Nevertheless until Lambeth, and probably a little after, it may be necessary to keep banging away against it. It has such an effort going into the leaky thing it to pump it up that the argument has to be made to keep the air coming out.

Recently the Bishop of Lincoln said he was excited by the process - and he heads a group that opposes it. It is a sort of all aboard despite being a dead duck, and this is why the crash when it comes will be all the more divisive.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 17 February 2008 at 10:14pm GMT

'All aboard the motor car!
Are we going very far?
Will the day be bright & sunny?
Don't you think our car looks funny!'

Posted by L Roberts at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 12:22am GMT

Rev. Kurt Huber --

ARGH! Spell check fails me! But the Big Ten is overrated! (Brits, et. al. we are referring to American football -- like Rugby with "armour" & LOTS of "times out")


I do hope that "The Covenant" becomes a dead letter -- like every other big idea from Lambeth (reality really does move along faster than the Anglican bishops every ten years -- SHEESH!)

Posted by Prior Aelred at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 1:22am GMT

The choice is quite simple, really: the death of the "Covenant" or the death of authentic Anglicanism.

No, not a hard choice at all.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 2:43am GMT

One hopes after the car crash that there will be some sort of open ended review of what constitutes Anglicanism, so that relationships within and between Churches can be understood on this basis, rather than a forced Catholic ideology with evangelical content as is the case now. The emphasis would need to be on a 'simple Anglicanism' and not an effort about one lot trying to make the other lot like itself.

Posted by Pluralist at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 1:02pm GMT

Wasn't there a quiet existence & implicit covenant granted in the creation of the Book of Common Prayer?

Oh, so if you don't get your way, you hound others to get a new written agreement to coerce others to keep the big tent (three-ring circus???) going. 'Ya think?

On another note, it would be so good if a certain American collegiate football team could actually win at the championship games.

What's that choking sound? Is it coming from around the Anglican Communion, or just from the north side of Columbus (Ohio)? From New Orleans six months ago, or from the nearby Superdome last month?

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 4:50pm GMT

LOL, Prior Aelred and Rev Kurt Huber.

The Big Ten may be overrated (I can't say 'cause I'm from elsewhere and don't keep up with football), but the Big Tent of Anglicanism is not! I am ready to suit up and play for that team at a moment's notice. Go, team, go!

Posted by Mary Clara at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 7:08pm GMT

I'm with you Mary Clara.

I'll suit up for the Anglicans (in the big tent and Big Ten varieties!).

Our mascot has to be: the "Battling Bishop"

(which is the mascot for Ohio Wesleyan Univ.)

You can find an image of their mascot here:

Posted by Rev. Kurt Huber at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 9:45pm GMT

Kurt, I could happily sign on with the Battling Bishops. And I've got the Wesleyan cred to qualify (Southern Methodist, class of '63).

Posted by Mary Clara at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 10:46pm GMT

With or without a Covenant - the last Advent Letter to the Primates confirms to me that the present leadership of the Communion having misdiagnosed the "illness" and almost killed the patient with their treatment remain determined with the appointment of a new “Windsor” group to continue in the poisonous way they have set for themselves.

I wince painfully when I read that nice man Graham Kings’ laudatory jingles with regard to the present course – it seems that there are so very few who want this and who believe in this process – I pray that they too will see the writing on the wall!

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 18 February 2008 at 11:42pm GMT

They'll see the writing on the wall when either the Covenant is no use to anyone (though I suspect there will be some lauding it as another show of eagerness to become the present centre) or when it is rejected by Church after Church and rendered redundant.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 19 February 2008 at 1:37pm GMT

An excellent summary, Simon. However, I would like to offer one clarification. Under Canada, with respect to the General Synod meeting of June 2007, you say:

"Another resolution providing pastoral provision for same-sex blessings in the Church of Canada was very narrowly defeated by only two bishops’ votes."

The resolution in question was to affirm that diocesan synods have the authority to authorize same-sex blessings, which is rather different from providing a pastoral provision for them.

Much ink has been spilled, and many electrons shot about, unpacking the meaning of this defeat, but the most informed opinion is that the General Synod declined to say who, if anyone, has the authority to authorize same-sex blessings, and most certainly did not prevent dioceses from moving ahead. Hence, the actions of the three dioceses you mention is perfectly in line with the outcome of the General Synod process.

Posted by Nom de Plume at Wednesday, 20 February 2008 at 2:44am GMT

The football team at Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec is known as the Bishop's Gaiters.

Posted by Malcolm+ at Wednesday, 20 February 2008 at 7:08am GMT
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