Not to be obsessional

or anything, but one way of understanding the current state of “schism”:,,1330350,00.html in the Anglican Communion is to observe that all the biggest losers were Americans. It’s obvious that the northern, liberal part of Ecusa got chastised, told not to do it again, and threatened, in the medium term, with expulsion from a recognisably disciplined communion. Since that’s never going to exist, they were threatened instead, credibly, with disinvitation from the next Lambeth Conference.

All this is to the benefit of the generally evangelical, generally African opponents of gay clergy. Since these people were first bankrolled and organised by the American conservatives, it looks like a victory for the reactionary rump within Ecusa as well. But it is not. If anyone was more disappointed by the deal than the northern liberals, it was the southerners. They had wanted the North unequivocally thrown out, and they had wanted unsatisfactory bishops replaced by imported Africans. They got neither. Indeed, choosing your own bishop was condemned as a sin as great as choosing a gay one.

At the moment, we are waiting to see [“who flounces first”:] and furthest out of the “Communion”; and it looks as if it will be the Africans. But whoever wins, in the long term, neither wing of the American church will be nearly as influential in the wider world as it was 20 years ago.

I don’t think this is a punishment for arrogance or anything else. In the end, it is just a recognition that the concerns of the American Church aren’t shared by the rest of the world, any more than the concerns of _any_ culture are. One could imagine spending 20 years debating live Nigerian issues, like polygamy and witchcraft. In the end, the rest of the world would just get bored.

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