For some time now the phrase, "walking together or walking apart" has been used. It's first use seems to have been in the Windsor Report, but it has been widely used by those advocating a realignment of the Anglican Communion. The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada have been accused of threatening to, or deciding to "walk apart." In the June 30 addition of the Toronto Globe and Mail (brought to my attention by Harry Coverston), Jen Gerson wrote an article saying that the "Canadian church signals it is prepared to walk away from international body."
All this got me to thinking...what is this walk business? Without anyone actually mentioning the fact, walking together or walking alone, or even deciding to walk apart, are charged with negative value. But why is that? In a time when walking was how you got there, as well as a way of being present, Jesus walked sometimes with folk (in his preaching and teaching circuit), sometimes walked alone to go off to pray. His presence was sometimes revealed in a walking (as at the close of the story of the encounter on the road to Emmaus.) But in any event walking was able to be itself a destination as well as a means of getting to a destination. Thus walking with Jesus is like walking in the light, or walking in the day time. Walking with Jesus, being his follower, seems to be the core value concerning walking - thus walking in the faith, walking with Christ, etc.
So the imagery of "walking apart" gets the overlay of the image of walking with Jesus, and walking apart becomes ecclesiological language in which the real accusation is that ECUSA is walking away or apart from the faith in Jesus.
Writing in the secular press Jen Gerson at least got it right: to be prepared to walk away from an "international body" is quite different from walking away from the faith, or walking apart from Jesus. In fact quite the opposite might be true, that walking away of a "mere" international body (i.e., the Anglican Communion) might be walking toward the faith and with Jesus. The article quotes Archdeacon Feheley, "if this is where Canada believes that this is where the Holy Spirit is guiding us then other churches must respect that."
I suppose I am simply getting tired of ECUSA and the Anglican Church of Canada being accused of walking apart, out, separately, as if that was in and of itself wrong. Suppose the walking is indeed TOWARD and WITH God in Jesus Christ, as guided by the Holy Spirit.