Monday, 19 March 2012

Nicky Okoh's Letter to the Communion

Hello. I'm Nicky Okoh from down in Pokey Pokoh, Nigeria, lover of a good cup of cocoa.

And I want to react to the resignation of the big guy at Canterbury. The one who's a bit grey and with plenty of grey matter. You know.

Did God choose him to be Archbishop, like he chose me to be Archbishop? I don't know about him, the other man, but I do know God, and I do know that I can enforce every word I select from the Bible as true.

And I know that before he was appointed (the grey man, not God), Anglicanism was one happy family. Children from the American Church would play in the garden with children from all Africa; sheep would gambol in sunshine through the same field whether from Africa or Europe.

But then, after 2002, contrary messages came to the Great Dear Leader, Akinolo, at whose knees I sat, as he was saying:

Same sex marriage apart from being ungodly is also unscriptural, unnatural, unprofitable, unhealthy, uncultured, up-African and un-Nigerian. It is a peversion, a deviation and an aberration that is capable of engendering moral and social holocaust in this country. It is also capable of extincting mankind and as such should never be allowed to take root in Nigeria.

We wanted to lock people up as a warning not to take on any of this: 5 years for marriage partners, 3 years for witnesses and options for large groups. But we were frustrated because the big man said don't oppress them. Not only that but said he wanted us to be in a Covenant with him. Why would we Covenant with him when we could not oppress them?

Some of us flew with the idea, "Kill the gays, kill the gays," but we said no to the pilot: choose Rowan Tree instead. But he ended up crucifying us.

No no. We can't walk together unless we agree with each other. Indeed we send the boys north walking as a tribe because it isn't just those northern Muslims who have a monopoly on the violence you know. Yet the big man wanted us to walk together to try to agree with each other, and he was looking to see how he could see things our way. We are a Church and he has a Church so we should in theory agree. So we walked instead with a small group of Western Conservative Evangelicals in Jerusalem who know how to organise things, while the grey man gathered purple people for lots of aimless chatting about disagreements. And we also stayed away from Dublin, but then lots of people stay away from Dublin.

Okay, says me, Okoh: it's not all his fault. He could have resigned when we went to Jerusalem, but at least as he was staying on then he could have stayed in post now to clear up the mess on our terms. After all, in 2007 it looked like he would do it on our terms but we weren't so hoodwinked were we when the Western Conservative Evangelics said please help us challenge the nature of Anglicanism in America and Europe by organising in parallel. We produced the Jerusalem Statement and Rowan Tree said how much he agreed with it, but we know we can only walk with those we agree with.

So no he should not be resigning. There is nothing to cheer about now. Children no longer play with each other and the lambs are rained upon in the fields, divided into different flocks.

But, well, we suppose there might be another Archbishop in December. He needs to agree with us, not like that revisionist in Liverpool. Please don't pick him as he might ignore us and let us go our own way so that his lot can be creative and open to change. But no we won't be ignored: if they are Anglican we will take oversight and organise in parallel and in control.

I suppose I ought to wish Rowan Tree and family a happy time in a more suitable job than the one he's occupied, whereas of course the Great Dear Leader did not err in picking me as his successor. At least in Nigeria we know what authority means and how the threat of imprisonment or even death persuades anyone to repent.

Nicky Okoh, Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate from Pokey Pokoh, of All Nigeria, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), The World.

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