The world is changing radically. This isn’t news – the world is always changing, but there are times when it changes more quickly and times when things are a bit more stable. The first great change was the Enlightenment, and the worldview of people was changing radically, from ‘Classical’ to ‘Modern’. Discoveries in science and the industrial revolution affected every aspect of society. The Catholic Church stood as a temple to the classical ways, with hierarchical power structures and ‘mysteries’, inequalities and myths. These did not sit well with the new ‘modern’ people. So a chasm emerged between people who believed different things.
More recently, a new massive world-view shift has occurred, with the advent of the communications revolution, people have become aware of other cultures and realised that there isn’t a single story – there is no overarching ‘metanarrative’. This is world-view is known as ‘post-modernism’. It has caused a distrust of those who claim to know the Truth, which in turn has given birth to relativism, and as a backlash to that there has been a rise in religious fundamentalism.
The Anglican Communion is spread-eagled across huge tectonic plates, which are separating, putting immense pressure of the Communion. Only one solution to this problem has been proffered. It is the Anglican Covenant. Now I am an engineer by trade. If I was trying to keep two bodies together that are separating then one option is to connect them with a stiff rod, another is to connect them by a flexible chord. I believe that the Covenant is like the stiff rod. However, the forces that are separating the different worldviews are such that the rod will never be sufficient to keep us together, however strong and punitive it is. The alternative is to continue with the flexible connections that we currently have, the shared heritage and shared worship and prayer in the Anglican Communion. I believe that if we allow the Communion to continue to be broad and elastic we may stay together. The Covenant is a recipe for schism.