Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Country ‘Tis of Thee

As of yesterday I have been an American citizen for ten years. I'm quite proud of that, but as a British native I still feel somewhat ambivalent when it comes to July 4th. Yes, independence and freedom are good, but so are the people of the British Isles! I’m not quite as ready as were our forebears to slough off king/queen and mother country to forge a new reality where all men (sic) are equal.

I think The Episcopal Church (TEC) has been in a similar state of ambivalence when it comes to the Anglican Covenant. But the recently published report of the Standing Commission on Constitution and Canons (SCCC) has changed the whole picture. We are being asked to sign on to an agreement which was basically created because some of the other former British colonies don’t like what we are doing, even though we have followed our own discernment process to the letter. Now the SCCC has declared that it is “of the view that adoption of the current draft Anglican Covenant has the potential to change the constitutional and canonical framework of TEC, particularly with respect to the autonomy of our Church, and the constitutional authority of our General Convention, bishops and dioceses.”


So, if we sign the covenant, we are not just providing a way for the other members of the Anglican Communion to tell us off if we get out of line again, we are actually agreeing to change who we are. Something in that reminds me of what can happen after a family goes into uproar when their favored son comes out. “Yes Mom, I know you’ll disown me if I introduce my boyfriend to your friends. In fact now I know how upset you are I’ll just forget the whole thing and make like I’m straight.”

I don’t think so. It doesn’t work for us to pretend we’re not who God made us to be. It doesn’t work for TEC to pretend it’s something it’s not. Increasingly it seems like signing on to the Covenant would limit our ability to welcome more and more people into the freedom which we find in Christ Jesus. Why would we do that?

Our forebear’s God, to Thee, author of liberty, to Thee we sing;
Long may our church be bright with freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by thy might, great God our King.


Integrity USA said...

Well said, Dr. Hall! Happy 4th, everybody!

Muthah+ said...

It is good to find the Integrity leadership speaking against the Anglican Covenant especially on July 4th. Especially when she's a Brit.

Brava, Caro+. I hope our British friends can hear your words too because they vote on the AC before we do.

The War of Independance is what finally was the cause of the development of the Anglican Communion. We have all developed different polities but we still find our roots in that unique brand of Christianity that evolved from the English struggle with catholicity and reformation energies. It is clear that the ACC and the ABC has not taken into account the need for broader readings of the Christian message.

OlderManOfTheSea said...

I have been fighting this fight ever since I tried to stop the Diocese of New York from " honoring " that pernicious phony Bishop Akinola of Nigeria a few years ago. We failed. Big mistake honoring the people who would throw you in a river with a millstone around your neck. ( thats' an EXACT quote from His Worship.s mouth.) I admit to being a newly minted Episcopalian of 13 years standing but I chose the ECUSA after my conversion by people best described as the Church of the Lightning Bolt in Tampa Fl. And I chose it precisely because it would reject this kind of thinking. Please don't let me find out I made a mistake. I would be outta here so fast to the UCC or a denomination that no holds barred thinks all humans are human and all people are people and don't have any second class parishioners.