The Sounds of Silence

Words, words, words,
I'm so sick of words.
I get words all day through,
First from him, now from you.
Is that all you blighters can do?

Eliza Doolittle, in "My Fair Lady"

I went to the Friends (Quaker) Meeting this morning. As I sat in the shared silence of a simply furnished room, I was wishing that the Anglican Communion--or whatever it is now--would be able to just sit in silence for a while and let each other be.

I'd been reading the St. Andrew's Draft of the proposed Anglican Covenant just the other day, plus various multi-paged responses to it. It just seemed to me such a misdirection of energy to be writing in hundreds and thousands of words what never needed to be put in words for hundreds of years. And when everyone is finished rephrasing this section and that section, and finesse-ing this thought and that thought so that, supposedly, no one can take offense and everyone gets to have a say, what will we have? From my little corner, I foresee another document that everyone will read from whatever stance he/she now reads the Bible. We'll have the literalists and the progressives, the fundamentalists and the free interpreters, and instead of--or perhaps, in addition to--throwing Bible verses at each other, we'll now also be throwing Covenant verses at each other, as well.

I also foresee that what we'll have is something in writing--always more binding than mere ties of affection and hospitality--that we can poke at each other in proof that someone has broken the Covenant and thereby has relinquished their position in it, whether they wanted to or not.

When all have signed onto whatever version of the Anglican Covenant is eventually ratified, will Peter Akinola kneel at the same Communion rail with Gene Robinson, or even be in the same room with him? I expect we all know the answer to that. And if this isn't what being in "communion" is about, then what's the point?

When I think of an Anglican Covenant in a graphic sort of way, I'm reminded of a picture of the Tower of Babel in the King James Version of a Bible I received in childhood. We'll have those at the top who believe they're closest to God, and the rest in descending tiers (or tears?).

Instead of a covenant, I wish we'd all just take a three year vow of silence, where no one says--or writes--anything about anything, or anybody, and we all just get on with God's work in the way we feel called. It wouldn't surprise me if the world, and the Anglican Communion, would be in a much better place than it is now.

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