2/19/2007

Australia Commentator on the Covenant proposal.


Chris McGillion, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, has an article titled, "An Anglican unity of sorts, but bring on Lambeth." The essay ends with this remark.

"It is also becoming harder to see how formal schism would deliver any more to either liberals or conservatives than what each enjoys at present. After living with this dispute for five years, elaborate arrangements have been entered into (including fostering "parallel" church structures) that express the "impaired communion" among Anglicans but, in a practical sense, allow liberals and conservatives to do pretty much as they want.

This dispute may be developing into more of a guerilla struggle for the hearts and minds of churchgoers than a conventional struggle over "turf".

In one of those wonderful quirks of the world wide web, his article is posted February 20th. Tomorrow as far as we in the US are concerned. Well, it is almost Tomorrow in Dar Es Salaam. I don't thing Christ McGillion has seen yet the final report from Dar, since that gets to us all at the same time, not different ones. The article is quite sure of the outcome of the whole thing, however. It is an interesting read.

I am particularly interested in the observation that "This dispute may be developing into more of a guerilla struggle for the hearts and minds of churchgoers than a conventional struggle over "turf". Readers might recall that a memorandum attributed to the Moderator of the Anglican Communion Network spoke of "guerilla warfare." The constant references, mostly from the realignment group, that suggest we are at war is refined by Chris McGillion to include another element of perpetual war. War becomes gauged in terms of "hearts and minds", not in terms of territory. The struggle for the "hearts and minds" echoes another aspect of modern warfare – the notion that warfare is to a large extent a struggle that is psychological in nature.

In psychological warfare the more belligerent side of "winning the hearts and minds" of people is the process of wearing them down. The constant pounding away at any normal life is meant to soften people up for the positive alternative, peace and prosperity in a new world.

This commentator has done us a service by reminding us that no matter the results of the Primates Meeting, those who are involved in guerilla warfare against the Episcopal Church, (a Church they view as apostate, heretical and immoral) will be in no mood to give up on the matter. They will continue to try to win the hearts and minds of regular Episcopalians. And, when possible, turf arguments will be part of all that in the hopes of wearing us out, and loading us down with baggage.

Fair enough. All the more reason for progressives and regular folk in the Episcopal Church to be alert. Whatever happens at Dar Es Salaam, there is no time to rest. I think the best plan for the Episcopal Church is to get on with the work we have to do. Folks already have hearts and minds – committed to the Gospel and open to God's call. The Episcopal Church doesn't have to win those hearts and minds to some orthodoxy the do not now enjoy. It has only to be open to the positive struggle to do the very best that heart and mind can do in Jesus Christ.

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