As every orthodox post-colonial Christian knows, Africa is in no way a homogenous mono-culture. Instead the continent actually encompasses a vast array of ethnic, social and linguistic groups, who come together to form a total of 47 widely differing countries and 12 Anglican provinces. Yet at the same time, as every faithful Gafconeer also knows, African Anglican leaders – unlike their apostate western counterparts – are universally pure in doctrine and practice.
Indeed; these uncorrupted and incorruptible men serve as role models to us all, and it is to them we must turn for guidance when it comes to reasserting the values of our homophobic and misogynist forbears. After all, if our great-grandparents lived in a world of repression and hatred who are we to aspire to anything more?
Yet as an Orthodox leader steering our faithless and reprobate church against the tide of justice, I must confess that I am increasingly finding myself confronted by a new quandary: just which African teaching is it that I am supposed to follow?
I say this because, as many of you have undoubtedly already been horror-struck to learn, the Diocese of Accra, in the Province of West Africa has decided to permit the ordination of women to the Priesthood. This means they are now firmly upon the same slippery slope as Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, and directly at odds with Nigeria and Tanzania.Yet since all of these churches are directly guided by god, which one is correct?
Obviously they can’t all be right: it’s a central tenet of orthodoxy that whenever two parties have conflicting opinions one of them must be walking in perfect truth and light, while the other must be spawned in sin and dammed for all eternity. Yet unlike the forsaken west, these are all conservative Gafcon churches; their Primates are members of the Gafcon Primates Council, and consequently they are by infallible when it comes to matters of doctrine. So how can we determine who is the heretic and who represents the Communion’s sole last hope?
Bishop Quinine says he contacted little Martyn Minns for an answer, who reportedly responded by saying that at times like this one should always just ask “What would big Pete Akinola do?” (WWBPAD?) Yet I’ve seen what Rwandans and Ugandans are capable of doing when they get angry, and to perfectly honest I don’t think the parishioners of either province would be happy learning that they should be considered inferior to the Nigerians, or that someone else’s big-man is bigger than theirs.
No, perhaps the strategy most Bible-believing Anglican leaders are taking really is the best: under this approach the African churches are always right, providing their position is the same as that of white conservative upper-middle class western males. The moment any African bishop deviates from this guideline they can be ignored in favour of another prelate more supportive of one’s own prejudices. After all, one African church is pretty much the same as the next, isn’t it?
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.