Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Relatioships Rock, Issues Bite!

It has been nearly a month since I last put fingers to keyboard and posted to this blog. Of course, Holy Week and Easter were there, so there is some justification for silence. Mostly, however, I wanted to give some time to the random thoughts drifting around my brain to form some sort of coherent whole before "uploading" them to blog text. Friends of mine are far more qualified than I am to opine on the various theological and ecclesiastical goings on right now in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. However, I did want to highlight one particular essay, written by The Rt. Rev. Pierre Whalon, Bishop in Charge of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe. I'm a big fan of Bishop Whalon's, not least because he attempts to chart a center course in an era where polarization is the norm. His latest effort is a reflection on the Anglican Covenant where, among a great many other things, he says:
What matters most is in fact what the Ridley Preamble claims: is this Covenant a means to make our contribution to God’s mission in the world more effective?
Many years ago, a number of us in Gathering the Next Generation (GTNG), what I refer to as a "Generation X mission society" came together for a regional gathering. The unofficial theme of that gathering was an assertion that: "Relationships Rock, Issues Bite!" Though more nuanced, I find that same sentiment in both Bishop Whalon's essay and, interestingly, in some of the reviews of the Covenant itself. Efforts to make the Anglican Covenant into an Anglican Contract and to make it proscriptive rather than descriptive seem to be waining in favor of putting out a document that sets out in very simple theological terms the basis of our common mission and life together--and it isn't that we agree on all the issues, either! I look forward (though with a perhaps too jaundiced and cynical eye) to the debate that will commence with the meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council and, in this country, with General Convention 2009. I hope that it focuses on our unity in Christ and the relatioships we have with one another, rather than any sort of doctrinal conformity. We'll see...