A parishioner left me a hard-copy of this reflection on things Anglican in my parish mailbox awhile back and I just got around to reading it today ... and to finding it online to post here.
If you're looking for a great, capsule version of where we are and what next after Lambeth, look no further. Jack Miles pretty much covers it in:
WHAT IS ROWAN WILLIAMS TRYING TO HOLD TOGETHER?
September 12, 2008 Commonweal Magazine
Do read it all ... maybe even print it out for future reference. But if you're in a hurry, here's his conclusion:
In short: politically conservative or moderate, socially liberal, and in that mix probably ahead of the curve. All surveys, after all, show that younger Americans are more tolerant of homosexuality than older Americans; few show any durable shift to the political left. Ten years from now, how many Episcopalians will want to exchange the security of local governance for the perils of remote governance by an Africa-dominated council-all to escape the peril of gay marriage and gay ordination?
By then, to be sure, the GAFCON Americans, with a bishop or two of their own, may be a self-governing church, but as such-without, so to call it, the African inflation-they will be almost negligibly small. Meanwhile, for their own children, a decade from now the dinner-table question may well be: “You guys set up a whole ’nother church over that?”
Fr. Webber writes perceptively of “the central question of Anglican life: Can a Christian community exist without a central authority and narrow definitions of doctrine? One proposed answer is an Anglican covenant, which some see as a hopeful way forward, but others reject it as changing the focus of Anglican life from communion to laws.”
My prediction is that ten years from now, the nays will have it. The Episcopal Church will be about the size it is now, governed about the way it is now. GAFCON will have faded, losing some of its members to the Catholic Church but more to a kind of inertial reconciliation with the Episcopal Church. Episcopalians will adapt benignly, if need be, to a looser relationship with Canterbury and the Lambeth Conference, which is unlikely to adopt a covenant at all comparable to one of the classic “confessions” of the Reformation.
As for Christian communion among the churches of this tradition, Lambeth is, after all, only one vehicle for it and, as the Church of Ireland has reminded us, an optional one at that.