Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Paranoid Episcopal Church: Afraid to Covenant

The only thing remarkable about the reports from the latest meeting of ECUSA's Executive Council in Salt Lake City is that they managed to put out a narrative which discloses what they failed to accomplish: they do not represent the whole Episcopal Church (USA), but they act as if they do.

Thus, the Executive Council had called for submissions from each of the Church's supposed 110 Dioceses (actually, only 106 -- but then, who's counting?) regarding their positions on the proposed Anglican Covenant. The report which they published shows that they received responses from a grand total of just twenty-nine of its claimed 110 dioceses.

And even of that pitiful total, they have to reject all the Dioceses which voted in favor of the Covenant. The reason? "None of the dioceses who were reported in the press to have approved the covenant communicated this action to Executive Council." Oh, really? Perhaps these Dioceses recognized that the Executive Council would have taken their positive responses amiss, and so communicated them directly to the Anglican Communion Secretariat? At any rate, the Council -- predictably -- could not even be troubled to list these approving Dioceses, according to the "press reports" which they acknowledge reading.

And based on that resounding "response" from a little over 25% of its Dioceses, the Executive Council recommends to General Convention a Resolution that "The Episcopal Church [sic] is unable to adopt the AnglicanCovenant in its present form."

"The Episcopal Church"? Give me a break. The body which made this announcement is neither "Episcopal" ("bishop-led"), nor a Church. Instead, as can be seen from the conclusions of its "Executive Council" based on submissions by just over a quarter of the dioceses claiming to "belong" to this "Church", what we have is rule by the privileged few, or what Aristotle termed an oligarchy. It should be renamed "The Exclusive Church."

The defining characteristic of an oligarchy is that it rejects the views of the many as having any significance whatsoever. Indeed, it believes that the many, or what Aristotle calls the hoi polloi, are the equivalent of those who currently are "occupying" some parks in various cities across the land: they are unwashed, illiterate, wholly ignorant, and unworthy of serious attention.

Now the Executive Council of "the Exclusive Church" thinks that it, of course, is "Inclusive", and thus actually embraces the hoi polloi whom it in reality despises. The proof of this is that it can rely on the conclusion of a "Task Force" -- acting on the responses from just 29 dioceses -- to make its recommendation to the General Convention in 2012 that they vote to reject the Anglican Covenant.

Of course, this is no surprise; it is a typical "dog bites man" story. Rarely, however, is one given such clear documentation of the proof that those who govern "The Episcopal Church" could care less for what those believe who occupy its pews every Sunday.

A more honest Resolution would have stated:
Despite our best efforts, we have received responses from only 29 of 110 Dioceses. The Executive Council, therefore, recommends that General Convention redouble the efforts in this Church to give the proposed Covenant a full and fair consideration in each and every one of its Dioceses.
But welcome to "The Episcopal Church" -- which "welcomes" you, by the way -- but only if you are interested in placidly allowing them to continue as they always have, and do not rock their boat. This is a group so paranoid about their current disagreements with the rest of the Anglican Communion that they conclude that even the Introduction to the Covenant might obligate them to do things which they simply could not agree to do, under any circumstances:
Paragraph 1 of the Introduction speaks of the biblical treatment of the “communion in Jesus Christ.” It includes the “Communion of the life of the Church,” as the basis for the existence and “ordering of the Church.” A fair interpretation of this text is that our “Communion in Jesus Christ” coexists with our Communion as constituent members of the Anglican Communion. The implication may be that the continuation of our communion in Jesus Christ requires accession to the particular ordering of the church described in the draft Covenant . . .
No, we cannot let any crazy notion of a "communion in Jesus Christ" govern what it is to which we are committing ourselves if we were to sign this Covenant. Far better to retain our "autonomy", while mouthing platitudes about how we "respect" the Communion, and wish to remain "in dialogue" with it.

This is what your tithes are paying for: "The Episcopal Church" at work. Much like the famous old sign:


  1. The members of the Executive council have a situational understanding of the meaning of the word

    When used in the context of same sex relationships, the word "covenant" means a sacramental relationship endorsed by the actions of the spirit of the General Convention of TEc.

    When used in the context of the relationship between the churches in England, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere, the word "covenant" means "my way."

    Neither meaning has much in keeping with the true meaning.

    Come to think of it, if you just leave off the "ant" at the end of the word "covenant", you get a better feel for the make up of the Executive Council.

  2. While your posts are always interesting and educational, the Covenant is DOA. I believe your time would be better spent on the other issues afflicting the church.

    David Katzakian

  3. DOA, David Katzakian, for the paranoid 10% represented by those who actually took a stand against the Covenant. We don't know the line-up among the silent 90%, because they either were not asked, or else their views were ignored in the tally.

    But I agree -- and I have always predicted -- that ECUSA will never sign on to the Anglican Covenant, given the stance of its leadership. And now we have the documented proof of my prediction.

    No, I won't be writing more about the proposed Covenant. The Archbishop of Canterbury saw to it that its ship sailed off for ports unknown five years ago. Don't you find it somewhat paradoxical, however, that the reason ECUSA gives for being "unable" to sign the Covenant -- that its own [preferred] ordering of the Communion could be altered by giving official recognition to the members' unifying "communion in Christ" -- is the same reason advanced by the Windsor Report for proposing a covenant in the first place? The more things change, the more they stay the same . . .

  4. Mr. Haley,

    First, I am huge "fan" of your blog...keep up the good work. I am curious...ECUSA refuses to sign the Anglican Covenant because they want to remain "autonomous". In other words they want to continue to promote their brand of inclusive heresy without any oversight. Yet, in the same breath they wish to dominate/destroy/depose those who reject their heavy-hand of leadership (new Canons, new powers for Schori etc...). Isn't it a double standard for them to totally reject any sort of world-wide Anglican accountability, yet within their borders they demand that from their clergy/Bishops/members etc...?
    Just curious if my question is a fair one.

    God speed,
    -Josh H.

  5. Josh H, that is not only a very fair question, but it also points up the overly controlling aspects of 815. People who want to control others' lives and beliefs are always against such control for themselves, because it would stand in the way of what they want most to do.

  6. I'm actually somewhat pleased at this decision. I was afraid that TEC would sign the covenant and continue the pretence that their position was the mainstream position in the Communion. I was afraid they would sign up to appear genuinely Anglican, while using the ACC to ensure none of their innovations led to any consequences and that orthodox provinces were pursued for "homophobia" and other imagined charges.

    As it turns out, they have taken the more principled position that they don't want mutual accountability, but prefer autonomy. TEC wants a dating relationship with the Anglican Communion, rather than a marriage. They want the benefits of relationship without a formal commitment.

    The key question now is will ACNA be offered the opportunity to sign the covenant? I don't know if they want to. But if TEC formally rejects it, shouldn't another Anglican Province have the opportunity to do so?

  7. Pewster, Love it- Coven is a better choice to describe the Executive Council.

    JoshH, Yep, you understand. Those who want to "control" others always balk at being controlled by others. Why we can't have a sitting Bishop declaring my Diocese is a sovereign entity yet that is exactly what TEC is saying to the rest of the ACC. Fortunately, many Anglicans around the world get it. They are not so easily fooled.

  8. Mr Haley, The sign is great! What about the women who are involved? They are just as responsible for this med as the men. Am I right in thinking that the "at work" part of this sign means destruction of TEC. If so they are doing a right good job.

    I enjoy your discussions with Kevin as part of Anglican Unscripted. Excellent.

  9. Alexi, that picture is a representation of an actual road sign from a bygone era, when only men served on the road crews. So it wasn't intended to be deliberately sexist; it reflected the realities of the days when it was deployed. (After a number of them had been put out by work crews, somebody pointed out the double entendre of the sign's wording, and had a good joke at the expense of the crews. (Another variant of the same idea had the word "Slow" in the place of "Danger", and it was just as funny.)

    Gradually, then, the signs fell into disuse, and you just don't see them anymore. (They say instead things like: "Caution: Road Work Ahead".) But I thought they could be resurrected to describe how ECUSA is "at work" to undermine the Anglican Communion.