Wednesday, May 9, 2007

More about the very idea of covenant

One of the problems with the whole covenant process in this time and place is that it seems to be designed to say who is IN and who is OUT and what things we can agree to disagree about and what things we cannot. Now if, one day, during tea break at the 1958 Lambeth Conference someone had said, "I have an idea, chaps, maybe we should have some kind of a covenant among the various provinces" and the other bishops had thought "What a spiffing idea!" and set out to work on it, they might have produced a document a lot like this one minus sections five and six and the Primates Meeting and ACC ... and we might have received it gratefully. We might not have thought "biblical moral values" was a loaded term. We might have thought we all agreed on what that meant or that we could agree to disagree as Anglicans do. They did, in fact, talk a lot about what bases for intercommunion might look like with other faith traditions at that Lambeth Conference. But the whole covenant process in 2007 seems so reactive and as Episcopalians it is tempting to react against the whole process as being deliberately designed to make us second class citizens within the communion or to slap our hands... We can't put the toothpaste back in the tube on this one. But what would it take to create a Covenant that liberal (I am using that word with pride) Episcopalians didn't have a knee jerk reaction to? I can't begin to say how many people I've asked for opinions on the draft covenant whose responses are short angry phrases which are unprintable (by me, anyway).

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