At 11:00pm last night, just as I was getting drowsy, Matt said, 'They're going to consecrate another bishop', and then went to sleep before I could find out what he was talking about. Of course this morning all became clear. And I must say, I'm completely delighted. And I will remain delighted, despite all the pessimism and complaining that abounds.
I'm delighted because essentially what's being created, on American soil, is a festive banquet for orthodox Anglicans.
First of all, there are orthodox believing Anglicans in America, just as there are around the world. And they are worshiping God and ordering their lives communally around truth and faithfulness. This truth and faithfulness has led to the organization and creation of various ecclesial structures-the Network, CANA, AMiA, 7th Convocation-each with their own flavor, focus, meatiness, and mission. This latest structure adds to the rich dimension and flavor of Anglicanism in North America.
I have only two other thoughts about this. First, that politically this is such a good move. It takes the heat off of Akinola and spreads it around the Anglican world-all these primates are stepping to pick up the pieces and take responsibility for orthodox believers when they, frankly, don't have to be bothered. Also, the ordaining of bishops for America provides much needed access to the episcopal office, and unity in being under Godly bishops. That they are doing this now is also so excellent. The sheer unmitigated insult of Rowan William's issuing invitations so soon, and to so many bishops who should be under a cloud, has clearly not gone by unnoticed. The premature issue of invitations is being wisely met with structural plans for orthodox Anglicans. There's no reason to wait around until some magic deadline. No more magic, no more deadlines. The global south is getting on with life.
Second, the continual broadening of an evangelically minded, African infused, unencumbered Anglican Christianity is a Good Thing. I don't at all share the pessimistic vision that Anglicans can't evangelize and grow. Why can't they? Christianity is growing everywhere else in the world. Of course, it won't grow if we don't try. It will become fragmented and divided if we don't cooperate.
How hard is it? Just go tell someone about Jesus and invite them to come to church. They might say no, they might say yes. Either way, keep asking. And there is no real impediment to a sensible purpose and vision to coorperate and worship together, other than insisitng over and over that it is impossible. It is not impossible. God is not that small. God is not that merciless. The church is supposed to grow. The church is supposed to seek unity. Otherwise, we wasting our time.
The global south understands this. And part of their work is waking all of us up to the real mission of the church. So far, I get the feeling we're being too snotty and snobbish to accept the lesson. We've wrecked everything else, we might as well buckle down and learn.
So, I say, Amen. Come consecrate some bishops and give us the kick we need. And let the world moan and wail in the face of something Actually Being Done.