Thinking Anglicans

Covenant alternatives: are there any?

Alan Perry has written Yes, Virginia, There is an Alternative

TINA: There Is No Alternative.

The slogan was used so often by Margaret Thatcher that my English friends tell me her detractors began to call her Tina.

TINA can indicate a number of possible things:

At times, it is true, that options are in short supply. And it may seem there are no choices but a single proposal on the table. But that is not the usual meaning of TINA.

TINA can also indicate a failure of imagination or initiative. In this case, it’s not so much that there are no alternatives, but rather that whoever is in charge is unable to think of any, or simply couldn’t be bothered.

But in its usual sense, TINA is an ideological assertion. It’s not that there aren’t any alternatives, but that whoever is saying TINA is unwilling to entertain any other options than that which is being pushed. In this sense, TINA is a slogan. It’s propaganda, which dismisses any attempt to suggest that alternatives should be imagined and explored. It’s a slightly less impolite way of saying, “my way or the highway.” TINA is the slogan of what is euphemistically called strong and decisive leadership, or bullying in plain English.

TINA has taken a central place in the narrative in support of the proposed Anglican Covenant. We are told that it is the Covenant or the demise of the Anglican Communion. We are told that there are no other options, so we’d better get on board with the right side of history and support the Covenant. I’m not here launching an ad hominem attack on the leadership of the Anglican Communion. I’m not calling them Margaret Thatchers or bullies. Nor am I suggesting that they are deliberately engaging in propaganda. I am prepared to believe that they honestly believe that there is no alternative to the Anglican Covenant as proposed.

But they’re wrong. TINA isn’t true. There are alternatives…

In the same vein, Laura Sykes penned Is Archbishop Rowan fatally dependent on his sat nav?

Notify of

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Father Ron Smith
13 years ago

“In other words, Lambeth is not to be a venue for exercising power, but one for careful listening and deliberation, particularly with regard to those who normally have no voice in Church and society” – Alan Perry – In his commentary on the ‘Virginia report, alan Perry draws due attention to what perhaps ought to be the agenda of every Lambeth Conference. In the paragraph above-quoted, he states that ‘Lambeth is not to be a venue for exercising power’. Perhaps that is why certain of the Heads of the Provincial Churches failed to turn up at the last one. They… Read more »

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x