So…damn.

The Anglican Church in Canada has declined to authorize same sex unions. The silver lining here is that it seems to be a provisional decision. Basically, it seems like they’re going to wait for the US church to split the communion, and then they’ll probably follow suit, confirming the worst stereotypes of Canadians. This time it really will be a shame, because leading the charge here would have been a real act of justice. It’s not just about ordination, but the broad participation of queer communities in Christendom as priests, laypersons, and seekers.

The vote was close, damn close in fact. Which makes it all the more frustrating. Holding fingers in dikes (teehee) is not a solid policy plan. The church is splitting, but we have to stop pretending that it is our innovation that is causing the rift. Homophobia is a modern invention, and the cynical appeal to “tradition” is the post-colonial backlash of a troubled institution. I have to think that if in the mission field, the Anglican Church had been more strongly identified with democratic movements and liberation, we wouldn’t be here…where conservative appointees of the African church take the money and plaudits of the conservative first world church and sell their “authenticity” back to their patrons.

Akinola in particular, strikes me as particularly fraudulent, hawking his Africanness as unimpeachability while promoting the criminalization of opposition in his own country and staking a position as a well heeled thug. His comments following the Muhammed cartoon dust up were nothing less than terroristic threats, and a display of the worst kind of judgment, that which believes that the outer limits of behavior are determined by what one can get away with.

His reverse colonization of America with missions may strike his constituency as ironic revenge on the West, but the fact remains that he serves only two interests. Himself and his patrons. The Nigerian Church will not benefit from this in the long term…the parallel church in America may provide funds to him, but their benevolence will not come without conditions. Warren and his other American allies will do what they have always done, which is to colonize. Providing moral cover for conservatives by playing race against orientation will not give African churches autonomy.

Adding to this, I perhaps have not mentioned it much here…but I have been in the process of re-alighning myself again within Christendom. While my love for the Baptists is deep and enduring…the simple reality of someone who travels is that finding a church on a given Sunday is a major concern. I’ve been going back to the Episcopal Church as an ironic haven of sorts. The contraversy is strong there, but there are organized allies too. And while i sorrow at the impending split, I can take great comfort in the pattern of worship I find there. No matter what else happens in the worldwide church, bread is broken and wine poured out. So i’ve learned to genuflect again, and begun conforming myself to the pattern of worship. It is an odd thing to know that one is actively being made in this way, shaped by the habitus of practice. But it is interesting to choose it, not knowing all the ways that it will play out.

I still affirm my call to ministry in the Baptist tradition, but it is becoming more and more apparent to me the ways in which this is inseparable from the call to love this other tradition as part of the laity.

-sly

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