Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Relationships, Rules, and a Reflective Covenant

As I have attempted to follow the sometimes convoluted reports of the discussions happening at the Lambeth Conference, it occurs to me that there is a reality that transcends the hierarchy and the official statements made or not made. That reality is that these bishops value their relationships with one another, regardless of their stance on issues of sexuality. Even after the Archbishop of Sudan suggested that if he were Bishop Robinson he would resign for the good of the church, many TEC bishops and bishops from Sudan stressed their desire to continue to work together and forge stronger bonds of friendship and mission.

If the reality of relationships is accurate, then perhaps rather than an Anglican Covenant of rules and regulations (which is actually more like a contract) there should be an Anglican Covenant that reflects this reality of relationships over issues. The reality is that Christianity is a profoundly incarnational faith and thus requires human contact. That sort of contact, between flawed, sinful human beings, is bound to be messy, imperfect, and full of miscommunication and hurt as well as understanding and healing. From what I've read from various bishop's blogs, those relationships have been what have been the most valuable aspect of the conference, as they are with all good conferences that I've been to.

An Anglican Covenant that is reflective of the vital relationships that currently exist within the Communion and that seeks to strengthen those relationships in spite of theological differences rather than attempting to either gloss over them or legislate them out of existance would seem to the most helpful document for our ongoing life together.

No comments: