Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Growing into Communion

I like and agree with this Living Church editorial:

"What the archbishop’s letter does achieve is the continuation of a conversation about Anglicanism, bounded by a disciplined order, for everyone else —for the Anglicans who know that the global Communion is not an accident of history or merely a federation of Christians who love unfettered pluralism. Anglicans have an identity, and a godly calling, to grow into. The archbishop’s letter points us toward one way of behaving as adults rather than irate children deprived of their toys."

Read it all here.


Mark Harris said...

Peter... how is it that we agree on so much and have to disagree on this?

I thought TLC editorial was trash talk. It is part of what seems to be a critique of TEC's actions that considers objections to Papa's discipline as childish, and that calls on us to grow up.

I will grant that some reactions have indeed been of the whine sort. I hope mine have not, but who knows?

The issue here is (i) the ABC chose to disciple only TEC and did so by removing its members from ecumenical conversations where they might "poison" the talks, and (ii) he identified the members of those committees by their root Provinces rather than by their specific skills, abilities, and knowledge. But interestingly they were chosen for those, and not for which Province they came from.

So the ABC expelled persons who were not on committees representing TEC, and he expelled only persons from TEC. Meaning? He doesn't give a fig about the persons involved at all. The child being wacked is not the members expelled. It is TEC.

So the ABC considers us children to be soundly disciplined.

Well, there it is.

So sometimes if we are treated as children some childish things will come out.

But listen good friend, beneath the little excursions into our collective unconscious there is an other reality. Papa only gets to play that role if he thinks he is Papa. Get it? If there is child like rage there is paternalistic foolishness. The dance is always for two or more.

You are the best of the best out there in moderate conservative stuff. I honor you and your work.

You may think me a liberal, but I am not. In my best moments I consider myself a visionary. And I have a visionary sense that we are dancing older dances than we can imagine and will dance into the future in new tempos.

Meanwhile, perhaps we are all children wondering where the piper is taking us, and what the dance will be.

The word verification is


Is that like lighting fire? or is it like taking my place in a series?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Mark,
No, I do not think the TLC editorial is trash talk (though I acknowledge that the words at the end, "behaving as adults rather than irate children deprived of their toys," are unhelpful ... though not without catalyst in some comments I am seeing around the traps). For me the key words in the editorial are, "Anglicans have an identity, and a godly calling, to grow into." That growing "into" is not about a growing up (child to adult) so much as a growing into the fullness of what we are meant to be, a Communion. (Nevertheless, to the extent that some reactions are, frankly, childish (e.g. casting aspersions on ++Rowan which border on the irrational if not the defamatory), there is some call for encouraging adult behaviour).

I sense from your last remarks that you have a vision also summed up by the words "Anglicans have an identity, and a godly calling, to grow into", but your understanding of what we would be growing into would be different to me/TLC.

Again, I think I part company with you - respectfully and in a friendly-spirit - in the way you read the editorial. The second most important words in the editorial are these, "Anglicanism, bounded by a disciplined order". You will know from my own writings that I am not keen on the idea of Anglicanism being a "federation of Christians who love unfettered pluralism", preferring a Communion of Christians who recognise limits to diversity (= "disciplined order"). In this perspective ++Rowan is not acting as "Papa" but is speaking with discernment for the collective will of most Anglicans.

To be honest, I do not understand what you mean when you say the ABC chose to "only" discipline TEC (Southern Cone, for instance, is clearly in sight), nor that Provincial background is incidental to choice of people for key Communion committees. If the twenty best Anglican Communion theologians live in NZ I do not expect they will all be chosen for a theological committee ... other member churches will be represented, some sense of the global Communion will be present in the membership chosen.

Well, I could analyse what you say about such things at greater length, but that might not help your concerns much.

As I ponder these things, and, please believe me, it is not without much thought as to whether this lead by the ABC is the right way to go, I am still troubled by two outstanding issues in respect of TEC's "dance" (if I may borrow that from you) with the Communion: (a) what kind of Communion exists if all members are stringently autonomous? (b) has the Spirit of God in fact led TEC along the path it has travelled? (For if this is so, the remainder of us are under serious judgement).