Car crash or train crash, the imagery of where the Anglican Communion heading is not particularly life enhancing! To reiterate my own position, even if it is held by a minority of one, the Communion ought to hold together with TEC in it, and ACNA brought into it. Despite many jaundiced comments against it, based, it must be said, on appearances to the contrary, TEC has not actually repudiated the creeds or authorized liturgy worshipping other gods. To do this would be a challenge, and would involve some walking apart, for a while at least. The analogy, since we are talking about sexuality in the church of Henry VIII, would be that some separation might be necessary for the relationship between TEC and the Communion, but divorce does not need to be the outcome.
Realistically, however, there will be people with aspirations to be train drivers keen to get onto the locomotive, with a view as to the destination the train ought to end at. Steer a train off the rails and there will be a crash! See Ruth Gledhill's post, for example, to get a sense of prognostications being made. Will God be gracious and assist us to keep the train on the track? Here are my set of talking points for their Graces the world over to consider:
(1) Did God ever give up on Israel? Will he ever give up on the church? God did not. God will not. We should not either!
(2) We can, with God's help, love TEC with a love not only as deep and broad as the ocean, but willing to understand each aspect of their decisions, including the aspect of care for the human dignity of gay and lesbian members of their church. Out of that love we can find a way to live with disagreement - a way that will, for a time at least, be different to the way the Communion has been till now. (Note: to not love TEC because they appear not to love their African sisters and brothers is childish).
(3) We should focus in our own member churches of the Communion on our own processes for engaging with the reality of difference in our midst. Where we think TEC has taken the wrong pathway for welcome and inclusion of gay and lesbian people, what is the alternative we are offering which is theologically orthodox and graciously loving?
(4) We must face squarely the challenge of being truly inclusive. This inclusion is both about those supporting same-sex blessings and those not, those supporting the ordination of women and those not. One critique of TEC is that it has included one group of people at the expense of another. If the Communion cannot do better, then we shall split!
(5) One sign (but only one) of a different breadth of inclusion by the Communion would be to hasten the full membership of ACNA in the Communion. (However ACNA would need to drop all talk of aspiring to replace TEC and ACCan). Note: once ACNA was included, 'cross-border' excursions by bishops should fade away as ACNA elects its own bishops.
(6) Lambeth 1.10 and the Windsor Report should be reaffirmed by the ABC and the Primates so that the Communion is clear that TEC's continued membership is precisely acknowledging of their disagreement with Lambeth 1.10 and the Windsor Report, rather than pretending otherwise.
(7) A new climate of appreciation of GAFCON, FCA, and the like should be encouraged! The health of the Communion depends on communication and relationships. Let the conservatives meet together with joy and not suspicion. Likewise the liberals and the moderates, the Anglo-Catholics and the evangelicals. But let all such meetings dismiss talk of separation and talk instead of how their particular perspective can enrich the life of the Communion.
(8) Learn from the Roman Catholics! We seem so frightened of things which might help us, such as 'alternative episcopal oversight'. For centuries Roman Catholics have lived with 'alternatives' in their midst: Marist priests and parishes, for example, mingling side-by-side with diocesan priests and parishes. To be sure there is only one bishop of the diocese, but they are not completely in control of all their appointments!
(9) Commit and re-commit to study, to listening, to learning about Scripture and being human. This point is brilliantly made by More than a via media.
(10) Let God be God ... gracious, loving, forgiving, patient, merciful beyond our conception.
What do you think?