Hallo again to all.
'Someone In Egypt Ordered a Pizza For the Protesters in Wisconsin'. Posted by a friend on Facebook, the brief article noted: 'Ian’s [the pizza shop in Madison, Wisconsin] gave away 1,057 donated slices yesterday and delivered more than 300 pizzas. The blackboard behind the counter now has a running list of places where donations have come from, and it includes China and Egypt'.
It's easy, on the one hand, to dismiss this as frivolous; an easy stand of solidarity through slices, with no true commitment and no true meaning. But that would be as wrong as weighting an act of culinary camaderie with a gravitas it may not entirely deserve. But forced to choose, we'd be on the side of pizza slices = political solidarity.
If confronted with the option of sending a pizza to, say, Singapore or signing a Covenant with Singapore, we know our choice. This isn't meant to be airily dismissive of whatever good will may lie behind the idea of the Covenant, but to suggest that the concept itself is wrong and out of sync with the world that is and that is becoming.
The old ways of ensuring alliances are passing. The old certainties of known allegiances and predetermined interest groups is giving way to the power of like-minded people connecting and assembling in one place, for an agreed end, in the flash of a few tweets. When everyone in the world has a mobile phone with video cameras, are television studios needed to report news?
The world is becoming nimbler, fleeter, more connected, and more volatile. Structures are being rethought and certainties are crumbling. There will always be bonds and boundaries, but they will be perforce more elastic and more transparent. The rigid structures that have characterised church governance and legislation will change as a result. How can they not?
The very looseness of the Anglican Communion (at least until the Tedious Years of the Anglican Covenant Discussion) is what will give it strength to move with relative ease in this new world. The gentle, unlegislated bonds of affection and the tolerance for variances of custom, behaviour, churchmanship, hymns, divorce, prayer books and the like are far more aligned with the way we live now. The old-speak of the proposed Covenant hearkens back to a world that is passing away, one of rigidity, structure, and complex mechanisms of governance.
It's tiresome enough that we've been considering a Covenant when there is so much about the very concept that flies in the face of all that's been characterised as Anglican. That it could be adopted is, to our mind, one that will signal the death knell of the Anglican Communion as we have known it. (And frankly we don't want to know any other kind.)
There are now wide and considerable differences amongst the provinces of the Communion about matters of importance. There have been so in the past. We just didn't know about them, really, before the Internet. And in that past, we managed to continue on as a Communion, even if every ten years at a Lambeth Conference we were surprised by (in a mild Anglican sort of way) some of the goings-on in other national churches. In the past, the constituent members of the Anglican Communion have been willing to tolerate the right of all to order their lives as may be best for them. Sydney is not Sao Paulo; Dublin is not Abu Dhabi. As long as the Anglicans in those places work through their ecclesial structures to proclaim the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of Heaven as seems right for them, we think it far too Roman to demand that they answer to an Anglican curia for their decisions. Since the late 19th century, the Lambeth Quadrilateral has served brilliantly as a strong and supple web of connection for us all. In our opinion, it's all that is needed.
Here it is, all 108 words of it (five tweets).
In the nearly 20 years that this website called 'Anglicans Online' has existed, we've tried to be a place outside politics, a via media centre where Anglicans of every stripe, opinion, background, and churchmanship (remember that word?) could come and be at home. We shunned the shrill, avoided invective, and cleaved to reason, moderation, and what we've trusted is a genuine Anglican sensibility. We've not voiced our opinion on controversial matters, holding to that fact that reasonable people can disagree — and we're proud to call many of those reasonable people our friends.
But it's time for Anglicans Online to state that we're not in favour of the Covenant and cannot imagine a Communion bound by it.
At the end of its cumbrous process for approval, we hope it will fail and be heard of no more. If such isn't the case, we fear for what the quondam Ecclesia Anglicana will become.
See you next week.
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