If Christians are in the Global South, Why Aren’t the Leaders?

Gary L’Hommedieu asks this question–and answers it–in an Anglican context:

“If over 80% of Anglicans live in the global south, why is this not reflected in communion structures?” writes Indian Ocean Primate Ian Earnest in an April 12 letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury in which he protests, among other things, the illicit transfer of power from the Primates’ Meeting to the Anglican Consultative Council and its Joint Standing Committee.

Why indeed?

The short answer is that the present “structures” of power and influence continue to reflect the colonial history of the Anglican Communion. More to the point, these persistent “structures” demonstrate how that history continues unabated. While cosmetic changes have been made to church governance, and while token appointments give the appearance of social transformation, the fact remains: the present structures of power and influence in the Anglican Communion continue to serve the same socio-economic interests as during the pre-conscious Age of Colonialism. The same dominant group that colonized the Global South is still in charge and serving primarily the same social interests-its own.

Although most Evangelical denominations and groups don’t have the colonial heritage that Anglicanism–birthed by the state church of a major colonial power–has, and don’t have the divides that the Anglican Communion does, they all too often share the idea that “headquarters” needs to be in the U.S. or (less often) Europe.  And they too often reflect (unconsciously in most cases) that Christian leadership is still a “white man’s burden,” as L’Hommedieu recalls Kipling’s famous line.

This needs to go.  Evangelicals need to make this change before they get into the level of conundrum that Anglicanism is in.  They need to do this because it’s the right thing to do.

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