The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East is rich in symbolism, but not in the clout that comes from great numbers and wealth.
This branch of the Anglican Communion stretches from Algeria to Iran, a part of the world in which there are few Anglicans, but millions of Muslims, Jews, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Nevertheless, the archbishop of this tiny Anglican flock dared to bring a blunt message to the powerful Episcopal Church this past week -- please be candid as well as careful.
American bishops may believe that God wants them to modernize ancient doctrines about sex, marriage, salvation and the authority of scripture, said Archbishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt. But it's getting harder for other Anglicans to explain news about same-sex unions and gay bishops to their ecumenical and interfaith neighbors at home.
"You may believe you have discovered a very different truth from that of the majority in the Anglican Communion," said Anis, speaking to the men and women of the U.S. House of Bishops gathered in New Orleans. "It is not just about sexuality, but about your views of Christ, the Gospel and the authority of the Bible.
"Please forgive me when I relay that some say you are a different church, others even think that you are a different religion."
This meeting of the U.S. bishops was even more tense than usual because the world's Anglican primates, in a Feb. 19 communiqu