We wondered earlier today whether tensions in the Anglican Communion might be easing a bit. If the answer is yes, the next question might be why.
One possible answer is the Continuing Indaba process, which our friend Tobias Haller describes as "the way Anglicans talk with each other." Tobias writes:
The transformative power of conversation across difference reflects the need for both structure and action in a healthy and living church or communion. If the “Instruments of Communion” are the structural elements, the “dry bones,” of the communion and its members, Continuing Indaba will help to provide the life-blood and breath that can revivify and revitalize the communion to action and service in mission. When Jesus described how it was that his disciples would be known, it was not by the splendor of their churches or the number of their congregants, by the beauty of their worship or the nobility of their ethics, but by the love they show to one another. Continuing Indaba is a means to demonstrate this love, in gospel-shaped conversation and engagement with one another, committed to serve the one who gave himself up for us, that we might be free.
Four pilot conversations sponsored by the Anglican Communion Office are just concluding. The wisdom of this process lies not simply in avoiding debate and promoting Bible study and conversation, but that it bypasses the highly politicized Instruments of Communion, and lets people shed their roles as representatives of a particular point of view and engage in honest conversation.
The consultation that the Chicago Consultation and the Ujamaa Centre at the University of KwaZulu sponsored in Durban, South Africa in October was built on similar principles, and there is no reason other organizations can't attempt to find partners for worship, Bible study and conversation in Africa and other places in the developing world.
In the shadow of the dominant narrative of dissension and division in the Communion, new and deeper relationships are being born. It is time to tell that story.