... know what they are doing?
Interesting to me that Michael Poon's article published at Fulcrum, noted two posts below, has generated less than heart-warming comments here. Could be a sign that no one from Fulcrum visits here!
My own thinking has been that Poon is putting his finger on something very important when viewed from the perspective of 'risk': who and what is putting the Communion at risk?
Let's start at the beginning with two simple propositions. (1) The Anglican way of being Christian is worth living and dying for - it is the way of catholic Christianity without a papal hierarchy, the way of protestant Christianity with bishops, a way of being orthodox that incorporates the voice of laity, a worshipping Christianity committed to the developing liturgical tradition of ancient Christianity. (2) The Anglican Communion is the attempt to hold all Anglicans in the largest (widest diversity, most global geographically) organisation possible - if you like, the Communion is the 'big tent' for global Anglicanism (and the Covenant is the door into the tent!).
This blog is about these propositions: Anglican Christianity is good, the Anglican Communion is worth fighting for as the means of both associating Anglican Christians in global fellowship and of maintaining the distinctive character of Anglican Christianity, steering it away from reabsorption into Roman Catholicism and from evolution into other forms of Protestantism.
Poon reminds me that various forces within global Anglicanism are putting this great vision for Anglican Christianity at risk. Here are the risk-takers (in no particular order of demerit):
(1) GAFCON and its local expressions in national churches
(2) TEC (and to a lesser extent, ACCan)
(3) Nigerian, Ugandan, Rwandan, and Kenyan Anglican churches These churches, in my view, have demonstrated capability be disruptive of Communion life apart from organisations such as GAFCON.
(4) Global South
Each of the above offers some argumentation in favour of their approach to pan Anglican life on this planet. But none of the above has demonstrated that it is reasonable to view their approach as having the full width of the Anglican Communion.
Does anyone really imagine that (for instance) the future of global Anglicanism is along the pathway of excluding women from ordination, or of the full inclusion of the GLBT community in ordination and blessings of relationships, or via an Anglicanism in which one national church takes it upon itself to remedy perceived deficiencies in another national church, or that a 'South' Communion can have true global reach without the 'North' as well?
I suggest we who love and value Anglican Christianity, yet have strong commitments to certain matters, might think about the possibility that a many splintered Anglican Christianity is not a future worth fighting for. Sure, within my 'splinter' I might feel good that I have a space to pursue what I think is right and true, to see the fulfilment of 'my vision'. But what if 'my vision' is just that, a vision limited by my own limitations as a theologian?
The point of 'big tent' Anglicanism is that it allows for many 'my visions' to jostle together, out of which emerges a larger vision for the present and future of Christianity.
A commenter here rightly noted the future of Christianity is heading in a Chinese direction and raised the question whether current Communion life is geared to welcome that new future. Probably it is not so geared. But it could be. If we can get over our ghettoes, mend the fractures, and reconstitute ourselves.
Too big an 'if'?