Ten personal holy non-covenant communion principles:

All the goings on about an Anglican Covenant, the requests/ demands of Windsor, etc, and Dar Es Salaam, all the strange ecclesiastical snottyness of trying to decide who is in communion with whom and why, leads to confusion. Dave Walker, wonderful cartoonist sums it up this way: (See right)

So I have been thinking about a personal-holy- non-covenant - with- anybody - manifesto of communion principles. Here they are. Please note: These do not depend on a covenant, a compact, a letter of agreement, articles of faith, properly ordered eucharist, right creeds or right church. These are about my being in actual communion with others, they are not about how churches do it (assuming they can do it at all.)

  • I will have supper, last or not, with anyone who invites me, subject to personal whim.

  • I refuse to tell the host who to invite and who not to invite.

  • I will invite others to supper with me under the same conditions.

  • I am glad to have any seat at all in the gathering.

  • I will invoke God's blessing on people with abandon believing that God's blessings are indeed most wonderfully spread about. I will invoke God's blessing sometimes on really important things, like daily bread. I will not ever claim to bless personally, believing that people wanted God and Jesus, not me.

  • I give thanks to God for all sorts of people, places, things seen and unseen and this will be quite personal and perhaps self revealing.

  • I will be present wherever and whenever I am fed and will be present for and with others, hopefully being a blessing to them.

  • I am open to the presence of the Holy Spirit in community and communion.

  • I will work at doing justice and loving mercy, and live with my mistakes and get over it.

  • I will live for others, now, knowing perfectly well that I will not be good at it, which is of course why I will sometimes not be invited to supper, holy or not.

I refuse to sign on to these. It is enough to try to live them. If told this is the wrong list, I will happily agree. It is my list. I may revise it next week. Get your own list.


  1. Oh, I love this -- !! Thank you. Now I'm off to write my own.

  2. Me too.

    No need to say any more than that.

  3. In a similar state of mind the other day, I had the very simple thought, "Church doesn't matter - people matter." Perhaps that sounds a bit pollyanna, but it seems to cover it all surprisingly well.


  4. Mark -
    You have really out done yourself this time!!! Wow! Between this & the previous blog, you are on a roll! Amazing what you can put out - even with walking pneumonia (which I hope is resolving)!
    Thanks, yet again - for "good stuff"!

  5. Write my own??? It's well known that good writers borrow, but great writers steal; I aspire to be a great writer, therefore . . . .

  6. Not having a creative bone in my body, if you don't mind, Mark, I shall follow d.c.'s lead and aspire to be a "great writer", and "adopt" these for myself. Thanks for another great post to help keep me on track.

  7. Mark,

    This is wonderful indeed! I'm going to link to it on my blog, and quote someone I don't agree with very often: "Ditto!"


  8. Well! There you go, a set of reasons why you cannot be a bishop of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, or Nigeria.

    Come to think of it, not qualifying to be a bishop in those four provinces is a good working definition of holiness.

    I am gonig to re-read your list and consider my own. I suspect it will be very similar.

    Thanks for this!


  9. Mark, I like your list - for lack of a better word. I may even steal it. Just for today, of course.

    Tomorrow, I may have some better ideas.

    I like Dave's cartoon, too.

  10. I dub these the Harris Rules for Communion of Believers.

    I call them "Rules" because no more than these should be required (cf. Article VI).

    (Minor editorial suggestion: Instead of "I will ... live with my mistakes," how about "Not being God, when (not if) I make mistakes, I will try to learn from them.")

  11. Plagiarism is the highest form of flattery.

    Several years ago, I was briefly the editor of a little newsletter. In one issue, I described it as an exercise in applied plagiarism.

    This, in turn, led to a conversation with several other PR professionals about terminology. Is it "plagiarizer" or "plagiarist."

    We concluded that "plagiarist" sounded much more professional.

  12. Brilliant, Mark! Thank you for your sense of humor and your common sense.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.