Seeking Solutions in Communion

What is the “real problem” before the Anglican Communion as it seeks to move forward into the 21st century? The Rev. Tobias S. Haller, BSG, and The Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner of the Anglican Communion Institute, each reflect on the idea of Covenant, the solutions the covenant offers and the dangers inherent in it.

Tobias Haller in his essay Rearranging the Chairs critiques Radner’s analysis in Vocation Deferred: The Necessary Challenge of Communion and offers another way to look at the Anglican Communion and our relationships.

Radner’s essay postulates a systemic problem between “confessionalists” and “localists” with the Covenant becoming a “school for communion.” This is why —

… the proposed Covenant is so important – if the Anglican Communion can survive long enough to articulate it and receive it. For with a clearer sense of its peculiar mission, Anglicanism now needs also a “rule” by which to order its formational existence, which stands at the heart of its vocation. In this sense the Covenant needs to be revised in a way that better expresses not only the vocation itself – communion in the Gospel and Body of Christ – but also the formational means by which obedience can mold the virtues of this missionary life.

Haller responds:

What I would suggest is that we do not in fact have a systemic problem, but a particular disagreement about a fairly narrow range of issues, most of them impinging on sexuality. The heated denials that it’s really about Scriptural authority can no longer be taken seriously: after folks saying the Windsor Process wasn’t really about sex and the Primates meetings weren’t about sex, ultimately the only concrete matters that get laid on the table at the end are about sex — oh, and boundary crossings (but as the boundary crossers will assure us, it’s really about sex.)

Seeking a systemic solution for a particular problem is like the old, “The whole class will sit here until the one who stole the pencil comes forward.” I suppose it works, but it’s not very productive; especially when it turns out no one took the pencil — it just rolled under teacher’s desk.

At the same time it is no use pretending we aren’t in a difficult situation in the Anglican Communion. The seams are bursting, and there seems to be a kind of hastiness and ire in the air. So I’d like to offer for reflection something I wrote some decades ago about the renewal of religious communities. I mean, communities are communities — and renewal is renewal. What I’d like to suggest is that by an appeal to systemic change (rather than renewal) the Anglican Communion is in breakdown mode.

Read Haller’s suggestions HERE

And Radner’s complete essay HERE

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