Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Question Three: Why are we doing this?

One of the questions I ask a lot is, "Why are we doing this?" When we are planning something at church, especially if we are making some kind of difficult decision, the "Why?" question can be clarifying. Question 3 is that kind of question, asking of the Preamble, "Is this a sufficient rationale for entering into a Covenant? Why or why not?" The preamble is not very long, so I'll quote it.

We, the Churches of the Anglican Communion, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ , solemnly covenant together in these articles, in order to proclaim more effectively in our different contexts the Grace of God revealed in the Gospel, to offer God’s love in responding to the needs of the world, to maintain the unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace, and to grow up together as a worldwide Communion to the full stature of Christ.

In my opinion, this would be a fine reason. Obviously to the extent that the church can live out the gospel by living in unity and by striving for reconciliation in the conduct of our common life, everything we do should help us in this aim. The rationale acknowledges that we are not all proclaiming the Grace of God in the same way or offering God's love to the neds of the world in the same wy but each "in our different contexts." The difficulty I see is that the covenant as a whole does not seem to be an agreement to "stay in relationship" as each of our provinces struggles with what it means to proclaim the Good News faithfully in our distinctive cultural context but an agreement designed to exclude and restrain some provinces from doing that unless the primates of all the provinces (each very different culturally) think it is okay.

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