Yesterday afternoon when I read the news about ++Williams not inviting +Robinson and +Minns to Lambeth 2008, I was, to put it mildly, disturbed. There was a lot of anger towards ++Rowan for doing this, and I struggled to differentiate between the Church of England and the Episcopal Church. I had to keep reminding myself that nothing has changed in the Episcopal Church as a result of ++Rowan’s decision…at least not yet.
Today, I’m giving the man a little credit and trying to look at the strategy behind it. Maybe he’s trying to force an end to the debate. Maybe he’s tired of all the bickering and threats of leaving the Communion, and is ready for someone to actually make good on their threats. (Frankly, I am too, but that’s just my opinion.)
Maybe he is just concerned about preserving the Communion, and saw no other way to get the important players together in discussion. After all, we all know that ++Akinola would never show up knowing that he’d actually have to enter into discussion with a gay man! Heaven forbid that in discussing homosexuality in the Anglican Communion that you might actually have to talk to a couple of us.
Time Magazine posted a good analysis on their website yesterday. It seems, though, that it was posted before ++Akinola’s “reaction”. He has already said that no one from Nigeria will be attending Lambeth 2008 unless +Minns (who they are calling a Nigerian bishop, which I suppose is “technically” true) is invited.
So, now we’re back to square one. Nothing really has been resolved, and a lot of feelings have been hurt.
Here’s my prediction: No matter what happens, ++Akinola will refuse to go unless the Episcopal Church either removes +Robinson (which won’t happen), or the entire House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church is disinvited. He’s already said that there is no point in discussing it any further. I see two possibilities–he will not go to Lambeth (at which time we’ll see just how much of the Global South sticks by him), or he will refuse to go until the last minute when he realizes he’ll lose whatever power he’s assumed in the Anglican Communion. Then he’ll show up and continue to make a big stink.
Either way, I see a smaller Anglican Communion in the next year or so, but it will be nice to put an end to this and concentrate on what’s really important in the world–like, oh, social injustice, equality, things like that.