Globalisation Is Taking the Dramas in Anglicanism out of This World; Second Glance

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 10, 2008 | Go to article overview

Globalisation Is Taking the Dramas in Anglicanism out of This World; Second Glance


EXTRAORDINARY dramas in Anglicanism are but a part of a greater transformation wrought by globalisation.

There have been grand tensions and international debates within religions and denominations in the past, such as the split between Roman Catholicism and the Eastern Orthodox churches in the 11th century.

But never before has communication between factions been so simple and fast. Tracts and polemics are no longer taken by brave riders on horseback along mountain passes populated by barbarian bandits. Instead, an outraged bishop in San Francisco or Kigali can simply post a screed on a blog, which will be read by an audience of millions in hours.

This has created the incredible situation where individual parishes unhappy with local leadership start to wonder, "Why don't we switch allegiance to that compelling chap on a different continent?"

The answer to that, until a decade a ago, would have been that such an arrangement is logistically impossible. But the neo-miracles of email, podcasting, FedEx and the proliferation of airlines has made this so much easier.

Many in the world of religion are aghast at the potential for schismatic insubordination. But it is not at all unusual today for one's ultimate boss lives in a different time-zone, paying taxes to another government.

Yet there are deeper currents driving the tribulations of Anglicanism than the impact of new technology. As the theological commentator Theo Hobson has shrewdly noted, it was a mistake to believe a global church would subscribe to the liberal values of post-war Britain. …

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