Is the Anglican Communion Dead?

Andrew Brown thinks so.

He’s writing about the recent GAFCON conference and how it is playing back home in England:

What’s new is that no one any longer cares. The split has happened, and it turns out not to matter at all.

This is in part because the movement of public opinion on sexuality has completely overwhelmed that of church politicians. Congregations by and large have moved on, too. They are part of the public, too. But until very recently the conservative evangelicals in the Church of England lived in a bubble of self-importance, whose boundaries were respected by Rowan Williams. And from within the bubble, the outside world could not be clearly seen. Only, the fight about gay marriage made it apparent to the main body of the church – and to Justin Welby – that their attitudes were repulsive and immoral to the majority of people in this country.

Thinking Anglicans’ coverage is here.

Skimming some of the documents linked at Thinking Anglicans is like entering an alternative universe. In fact, it is entering an alternative universe. For Africans, the cultural context is utterly different than in the West, and the Gospel is adapted rather differently to that context. But in the West, the language of GAFCON sounds surreal, inscribing a language and experience that seems utterly divorced from the reality that we encounter on the streets of our cities and in the hearts and minds of many people. Of course, those different cultures do not exist in isolation. We bring them with us when we enter new places and globalization means that cultural clash is not only between discrete peoples, religions, or continents, it is also internal to our societies, and internal to ourselves.

I’m struck again by the similarities between the polarization within Anglicanism and the polarization within American politics and society. Just as compromise seems impossible in Washington or even Madison, so too is unity in global Anglicanism. We have come to inhabit different worlds and because of that it seems that the Gospel we proclaim is utterly different, and the Jesus Christ whom we experience almost unrecognizable to others.

I think that’s what Brown is getting at and why I think he’s right.

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