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There’s Still Time for Justin Welby to Hand the Anglican Communion to the Africans

He’s agonising over the statues:

Justin Welby said monuments would be looked at ‘very carefully’ to see if they all ‘should be there’.

In a wide-ranging interview, he also urged the West to reconsider its prevailing mindset that Jesus was white, and pointed to different portrayals of Christ as Black or Middle Eastern in different countries.

But why do something really stupid when you can do something really substantive? My advice in 2007:

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York participated in a much publicised “guilt march” across the UK about the evil of slavery.

But there’s an easier and more substantial way to even the score: just let the Africans and their allies, including the descendants of slaves in the West Indies, take the lead in the Communion.

We find, however, that, Western church leaders–liberal and conservative alike–are reluctant to bow to the obvious and allow the centre of power of Christianity to shift where its people are.  The liberals are especially adverse to this process, as they are further from the Africans’ idea than their conservative counterparts.

The desperation of conservative parishes in TEC, however, has them affiliating with provinces such as Uganda and Nigeria, along with others.  They have gone past guilt.  It is time that the rest of us follow suit.

It’s so bad that even Nelson Mandela’s widow objects to statue removal:

Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel has implored anti-racism campaigners not to topple statues because they serve as grave reminders of past atrocities.

The activist said: ‘I believe even it might be much more positive to keep them because you are going to tell generations to come “this is how it started and this is how it should never be.”‘

Her remarks put her at loggerheads with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who today revealed he would be reviewing statues at Canterbury Cathedral.

This is the core issue of the statue removal: it’s easy to tear down a bunch of statues and declare victory.  It’s a whole different ball game to actually recognise the shift of Christianity, especially to people you basically don’t like, as is the case with Justin Welby and the large provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and others.  And it’s really hard to act on that reality.

But it’s been time since 1998 Lambeth and it certainly is time now.


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