The weather in London is awful, so it must be time for a summer holiday. We are going up north to a place where there is probably no wireless internet connection and poor mobile reception. So, I might be quiet for the next couple of weeks. The day after I get back, I fly to Zimbabwe for a week or so – and I am not planning on getting any blog posts out from there with any regularity.
But, if the rain is pouring in the real world, it is also pouring in the Anglican world. By deciding (and the bishops endorsing) to allow for the consecration of actively gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex relationships, the Episcopal Church in the USA has consciously decided to walk away from most of the rest of the Anglican Communion. That is their prerogative and one can understand the rationale behind their decision even if one profoundly disagrees with it. Furthermore, it is entirely within the remit of the polity to do such a thing. But, regardless of the content of the decision, the fact of it means that a line has been crossed from which there seems to be no going back.
In one sense, this is not a bad thing. After years of the phoney war, something has now happened and positions can be taken either with or over against it. That is life… and at least we all now know what we are dealing with. (Of course, real life is a bit more messy than this and TEC still contains clergy and people who strongly disagree with the General Convention decisions, but do not wish to leave their church.)
What isn’t true, however, is that the ‘Covenant is torn to shreds’ – as the Church of England Newspaper puts it in its front-page headline. TEC might well have decided not to engage with it, but that doesn’t mean it has no future or that TEC’s presence is crucial to its success. If anything, its imminence could be regarded as having forced the issue within TEC and the ground has now been cleared. I wonder why the CEN prints a misleading headline like that over a report that says no such thing. The Covenant – whatever one thinks of it – is not designed simply for TEC, but for the Communion.
Since when is there ‘a drift of appointment of bishops… who must be ‘politically correct’ … on all things from Islam to sexuality?’ I challenge you to publish a full list of diocesan bishops appointed under the present Archbishop and say which of them come into this category. It would be interesting to compare this with an equivalent list of those appointed under the previous Archbishop.
Monochrome? Hardly. If there is anything uniform about the appointments to dioceses over the last seven years, it is an energy for mission, a robust theological and ethical orthodoxy, and a willingness to articulate the challenge of God’s kingdom across this country in the face of secular, postmodern and relativist revisionism. Doesn’t fit the FCA mythology does it?
I am glad Tom wrote this. I was sorely tempted to do something similar, but am getting fed up with using energy fighting stupidities within the church instead of using energy for the work of mission and ministry. I wonder if such lists will be forthcoming – or if we will just continue to get this lazy and misleading unsubstantiated insinuation.
I won’t be holding my breath.