UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that the recent installation of the new Archbishop of ACNA has been well supported by Anglican Primates, from GAFCON and Global South, thus when ++Justin says he will be guided by the Anglican primates about the future, likely he will be reckoning with a significant number of primates (at least 10/38?) urging that ACNA be included in the future of the Communion.
In England a book is making a few waves as the Archbishop of York is being called the Archbigot of York and Reform is going on strike, in part as a response to the diatribes of the author of the book.
Bishop Alan Wilson (of Buckingham) has written - with a nod to the US constitution! - More Perfect Union: Understanding Same sex Marriage (and Commented for Free at the Guardian). In this book (and column) he argues that the Bible is nonsensical on homosexuality and the CofE structurally if not dangerously homophobic. Two sane reviews (from conservatives) are by Andrew Goddard and Ian Paul. Through all this, following on from yesterday's post, we are blessed by seeing what the predominant future of global Anglicanism will not be.
On the specific future of the Anglican Communion, a degree of vagueness emanates from the ABC himself. What the future of the AC will be is vague right now but we can be sure about what neither the AC nor any 'new wine' global Anglican fellowship will be, thanks both to Bishop Alan and to Reform.
First, there will not be a future majority global Anglican fellowship which specialises in demonizing some of its constituent members. 'Homophobic' and 'bigot' will not be in the vocabulary. Nor will language which casts the Bible as peddling nonsense. Whatever else Peter Tatchell is trying to achieve with his 'Archbigot of York' line or Bishop Alan with his book, it is not a contribution to building or rebuilding global Anglican fellowship. Contributions of that kind require respectful conversation towards a true inclusion of hermeneutical diversity.
Secondly, a future majority global Anglican fellowship will not be attuned to one end of the Anglican spectrum, neither to the end which endorses same sex marriage as something the Bible endorses though mysteriously withheld from our eyes for millennia nor to the end which seeks to de-license if not expel members who have entered such marriages.
Reform is right to express what it believes and to highlight what it sees as current inadequacies in C of E attempts at conversation. It raises pertinent questions about the role of Bishop Alan Wilson at this time. (Why, indeed, does he wish to stay in an awful church he sees as 'structurally homophobic'?) But is Reform and its thinking on the complexities of human relationships charting the future of the C of E? Does Reform think the C of E, en masse, will settle on these matters according to the charts of Reform? Surely not!
Despite criticisms of ++Justin's desire for 'good disagreement' over such matters, isn't he right about what the C of E will settle for? A 'good disagreement' generally fits what the C of E has done through the centuries as it has disputed various matters. Despite one gaping failure to engage in 'good disagreement' with Wesley and the Methodists, on many matters the C of E has found a way to hold together differences so sharp that they have amounted to disagreements. It is more likely by far that the C of E will find its 'good disagreement' on homosexuality than agree wholeheartedly with either Bishop Alan or with Reform.
Working back to the future of global Anglicanism from the internal turmoil of the C of E, the strongest probability for the predominant formal global Anglican fellowship is that it will be one which enables 'good disagreement' across the Anglican world.
Whether the Anglican Communion is now able to do that remains to be seen (in my view). It is a fractured union and may not be able to be healed. The damage done (mostly) by bishops to the Communion - strident and scornful from both ends of the spectrum - may have mortally wounded a once great institution.
We in the West must not mistake the importance of 'good disagreement' being a hallmark of Anglicanism for 'the amount of good disagreement we tolerate is the amount a predominant global Anglican fellowship can tolerate.'
That is why I am not confident that the Anglican Communion as presently constituted will continue to be the dominant form of global fellowship. It might take (a) the West to get out of the driving seat of the movement and (b) greater limits on diversity than we are used to in our 'from Spong to Stott' broad church.