Friday, January 8, 2010

Scott Gunn Urges Anglicans Not to be Afraid

Scott Gunn wrote an excellent essay on the current state of the Anglican Communion. Read it here.

Here is a very choice sample from his essay:
I continue to maintain that the Covenant is not needed. We have the Bible, the Nicene Creed, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, and Anglican liturgical life as our standards. Any relationship which cannot be sustained by those pillars will not be strengthened by a Covenant. Moreover, the Covenant is powerless. Any Covenant which the Church of England can sign will not be able to perform the tasks that the secessionists want it to accomplish. Nigeria wants a sledgehammer to crush progressives and England wants a doily to cover the stain of open disagreement.

Remember, the sin of ECUSA and Canada is not that we have a gay bishop or that same-sex blessings are performed. Those things happen in several other provinces. The sin of ECUSA and Canada is that we are honest about who we are and what we are doing. If Anglican leadership wants to move toward a church of deliberate ignorance and puritanical moral teachings, they will find themselves without much company.

As far as I'm concerned, the Communion is already broken. It broke when certain primates refused the share Table Fellowship (the only kind that really matters) with our Presiding Bishop (first +Griswold and then +Schori). They have effectively excommunicated themselves.
I agree with Gunn that this whole crisis is primarily bishop driven, that there are much stronger "bonds of affection" between the laity and lower clergy of the many churches.
What also strikes me about this crisis is the naked anti-Americanism of the whole thing, especially from Americans financing and driving this schism. There is an almost seditious glee in their hatred for this church and for their fellow citizens who decide to remain in it. As Gunn points out, our official position on the gay issue is about the same as that of the C of E. And yet, same-sex blessings on the sly are far more common in the Diocese of London (under ++Rowan Williams' jurisdiction) than in all of North America. However, it is the USA and Canada that are singled out. Resentment of the American Empire may be justified, but is it right to use the Episcopal Church (which opposed a lot of the more imperial policies of the US Government) as a punching bag for those grievances?

I won't venture any predictions on how it will all turn out, but if we find ourselves booted out of what's left of the Anglican Communion, it won't be the end of the world. There was an Episcopal Church long before there was an Anglican Communion. There will still be an Episcopal Church long after that Communion. I strongly suggest we leave the initiative for our leaving to the schismatics. It is better to be thrown out than to walk out and hand the whole store over to the far right. However we leave, there will be no more Anglican Communion, even in rump form, after our departure. As Gunn points out, any "bonds of affection" that need to be held together by legislation are no "bonds" at all.

Hat tip to Mark Harris at Preludium.

1 comment:

Scott Gunn said...

Thanks for the kind words about my little blog post.

While I certainly agree that anti-Americanism is a part of this present crisis (and I've written about that), there's another aspect. Especially around 2003, I think we behaved badly. I don't think we listened enough or showed compassion for those for whom progress is challenging. That's been rectified, as shown by the large presence of Anglican visitors at General Convention -- we have belatedly realized the importance of relationship building.