Observable on this and other sites are comments critical of 'sola scriptura' Anglicans (i.e. Anglicans who decided things solely on the basis of Scripture) and affirmative of 'tradition' (i.e. a number of things are important to Anglicans because they are part of the tradition of the universal church, or part of tradition of the Church of England, or of our own local church).
But how does 'tradition' work out for us? I read comments here which (in my own words) invoke 'tradition' as a kind of general authority: it's tradition so that settles it. In a way such invocation is very similar if not exactly the same as invoking Scripture as an authority: it's Scripture so that settles it.
But some commenters invoking tradition also espouse Anglicans making changes (e.g. in respect of blessing same sex relationships). One Anglican 'move' behind such espousal can be invoking yet another authority, 'reason' as in (again, my words characterizing the situation) 'Reason now tells us that Scripture and tradition are wrong on such and such a matter.'
Somewhere in here I think Anglicans are entitled to check in as to whether or not we are confused. How do we know (or 'know') that on matter X we can say 'X is right, tradition teaches it' but on matter Y we can say 'Y is right, reason tells us so (P.S. Scripture and tradition are wrong on this one)'?
Should baptism come before communion or is that an optional sequence?
The tradition is quite clear. For example in the Didache we read,
'5. But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs." '
(There is also a strong Scriptural case for baptism then communion, though not one simple text to cite).
Andrew Reid a commenter here has pointed us to this George Conger article which highlights a member church of the Communion seeming somewhat ambiguous re sticking to the tradition and enforcing its own canons (canons, let us remember that are enforced stringently in respect of property and related issues re dissidents).
How does tradition really work for Anglicans? When may we invoke it to settle an issue, when may we set it aside to make progress on another issue?
On a very positive note I welcome our Dean here in Christchurch, Peter Beck, standing firm on tradition: our Cathedral is the Anglicans' Cathedral and not about to become a multi-faith centre.