16 February 2007

It's all a numbers game?

In their statement on the Church of Nigeria website, seven dissenting primates mention that "they represent more than 30 million Angicans." I note that the conservatives like to mention numbers, except when it's not convenient.

It would not have done to mention that they represent a minority of Anglicans (30 million out of 77 million) or that they are 7 out of 38 provinces. No, they wanted to make their numbers look as impressive as possible.

Well, speaking of numbers, what about ECUSA? When the church's democratic process works, they don't like it. But those votes are numbers. A majority of Episcopalians have indicated their preferences for women's ministry, the welcome place of gays & lesbians, the 1979 prayer book, and so on. But these votes (numbers!) are often dismissed for one reason or another. (Jan Nunley notes some "fun with numbers" on her blog.)

So here are a couple of numbers questions, so-called Global South primates: if it's about bigger-is-better, then why don't you join with Rome? If it's about numerical growth, why don't you become Mormons or Muslims?

No, you know that it's not really about numbers. So why mention them?


Jim Stockton said...

An important question to ask also is, 'How are these numbers compiled?' Are these 30 million people folks who are born into the Church? Are they truly active participants in the life of the Church? Are these people who became Anglicans as an inferred or implicit requirement for receiving the humnanitarian aid offered by these Churches (with the help of the evil West)? This is often the case in lands of extreme poverty where resources for health and survival can be used either to bless or to manipulate. These numbers warrant scrutiny.

Simon Richardson said...

Since you've raised numbers, the 77 million only works if you actually assume that 26 million Anglicans really constitute the Church of England. As a former CofE minister (now CofI) I would disagree that this reflects the truth.

Akinola et al. if they truly represent 30 million, probably do speak for the majority of Anglicans therefore, IMHO.