Friday, 23 July 2010

women bishops and equality legislation

The relationship between the Draft Bishops and Priests (Consecration and Ordina­tion of Women) Measure and the Equality Act 2010 was considered during the recent General Synod:

The Church Times reported that

The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, said that it would be his task to steer the legislation through the House of Commons. In his constituency, many of the senior posts in the county were held by women. “I see no reason why, when there is a vacancy, the Bishop of Dorchester or the Bishop of Oxford should not be a woman. . . Let’s do it soon.” However, the Church of England was a broad Church.

The vote on the legislation on women bishops which would be presented to Parliament would be a free vote in which the views of in­dividual MPs mattered. The equality agenda now played strongly across all parties, and there were now a record number of women MPs. The difficult task of steering through the legisla­tion would be impossible “if there is a scintilla of a suggestion that women bishops are in some way second-class bishops”.

Robert Key, the former MP, spoke later, and opposed the inclusion of Clause 7 of the Measure.

The Church Times reported as follows:

Mr Tattersall warned that the conse­quences of not agreeing to Clause 7 (Equality Act exceptions), which had been introduced in order to comply with the Equality Act, would be that the Measure could be found to be in conflict with that legislation, and so would be “legally deficient”. The Equality Act had been drawn more narrowly than the Equality Bill had originally been drawn; so the new legislation was necessary to prevent any possible conflict with the Act, the committee had been advised.

Robert Key (Salisbury) had given notice that he wanted to speak against Clause 7. He said that the Bishop of Durham was, “of course, wholly wrong: the Church of England cannot act wholly in its own interest.” God spoke not just to the Synod, but also to Parliament. The evidence he had seen was that Clause 7 was not a proportionate and reasonable approach and his view was that it would fail in the courts. The law of the land would apply to everyone except Christians.

The Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament had to ensure that the Church respected the constitutional rights of all the population.

Mr Key elaborated his position in this video interview with Ruth Gledhill: Should Church of England be exempt from Equality law?

I wrote a news article for the Church Times recently which gave some of the background on this, see Equality Law will affect church appointments.

I am going to write a further and more detailed explanation soon.

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Comments

I think it’s worth illustrating from examples just what the mood is in some places and why it is that many people were opposed to the Archbishops’ amendment. Those opposed to the ordination of women as priests and bishops have tried to portray themselves as moderate, prayerful and accommodating, and that they’re being pushed out by vicious liberal majority. What’s it really like?
Ed Tomlinson has said on his blog:
‘If you profoundly disagree with orthodox Anglo-Catholicism understand that you are nevertheless welcome….But any comment lacking in love and generosity will be scrubbed from now on. You have been warned!’
Great!
Then the first comment on that thread says:
‘If the C of E ordains women as bishops, as far as I am concerned they will be not be bishops any more than a chap with a cardboard mitre and a bottle of Echo Falls under his arm heading of to a fancy dress party. I’ll feel no obligation to take any notice of such an entity. Forerunners of mine in this diocese rejected the episcopal ministry of Bishop Barnes (not Edwin) when he abandoned the Christian faith, so we have a precedent.’
That’s from Matthew Tomlinson (no relation, I think), who is, I think, at St Augustine’s Edgbaston in Birmingham.

These are the voices which seek a ‘permanent, honoured place’ in the Church of England.

Posted by: junius on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 1:40pm BST

Junius, this is an extreme example and extremes exist on both sides of the spectrum. One could easily point out blog comments, equally un-Christian from the proponents of women bishops. But we are called to live in love and charity with our neighbors.

Posted by: Davis d'Ambly on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:36pm BST

In a way, I don't think it matters as long as people are clear and open about what sort of church they are running; if they are opposed to female bishops, let them have something to that effect on their noticeboards, if in support, let's know about that too; similarly for churches that are welcoming of LGBT folks, or families with children. The CofE website allows you to see which churches have Sunday Schools or are child-friendly, amongst their 'facilities'.

The people will vote with their feet, whether or not Parliament, our vote by proxy, goes this way or that. The difficulty with the CofE and its parishes/churches is that you effectively don't always know what's on the ballot sheet, as it were.

Posted by: Achilles on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:40pm BST

Junius
"These are the voices which seek a ‘permanent, honoured place’ in the Church of England"

Actually, they're not. You have quoted one person, and one who is going through a particularly upsetting and emotional time in his life at the moment.
If you can't cut people some slack and insist on making this kind of sweeping unhelpful statement, you needn't be surprised if people like Ed aren't particularly minded to post your comments.

If you look at the history of the CoE, it has always had 3 major strands, evangelical, anglo-catholic and middle of the road/liberal. They have never agreed on much but they have always managed to rub along and to respect each other.
Now the church has moved on and people from FiF and from Reform are finding they are losing ground on what is for them a major theological issue.
That's difficult enough without the rest of us treating them as if they were delinquent children who just don't get the point and as if we had the right to tell them whether they have an honoured place in our common church. Get a grip!

The longer this conversation continue the more I am absolutely appalled at the behaviour of those who should be full of compassion and of the desire to make this as easy for FiF and Reform as possible. As Ed says – you’ve won, isn’t that enough?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:23pm BST

'As Ed says – you’ve won, isn’t that enough?'

So, as far as Ed Tomlinson is concerned, hearing and following a call from God is a matter of winning or losing.

In my view he needs to do some very hard thinking, and some very hard praying, because at the moment there is nothing there which looks like the sort of genuine conviction that the Ordinariate requires. And if Matthew Tomlinson imagines that he will be received with open arms then he too, needs to look at what the Pope has actually said; it is the complete reverse of what he seems to think the Pope has said.

As for Reform, their goose is cooked once people realise just what an extremist organisation it is; hard-core Creationism added to utter wilful ignorance of Biblical scholarship is no part of the traditions of the Church of England. They are perfectly entitled to reject what both science and art can tell us about the Universe and our place in it; they are not entitled to pretend that they are not doing so. Rod Thomas' article in the Guardian was, in my view, a disgraceful attempt to mislead the readership about the issues; once discovered it brings all of us into disrepute.

Back in 2008 the Times reported that:

'The Church of England expressed deep concerns last night about the spread of creationist views as it prepared to unveil a website promoting the evolutionary views of Charles Darwin.

Anglican leaders fear that “noisy” advocates of a literal interpretation of the Bible - especially in the United States, where even the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, is a vocal supporter - are infecting the perception of Christianity worldwide.'

That is why we have a website about Darwin:

http://www.cofe.anglican.org/darwin/

which makes it clear that we accept the theory of evolution as the best scientific hypothesis we have got.

Rod Thomas et al are not prepared to debate this out in the open; I do not think we have should have an honoured place in our Church for people who want to keep their beliefs quiet, whilst accusing others of not holding the right beliefs...


Posted by: chenier1 on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 7:00pm BST

Erika: that poster was claiming that he wouldn't recognize the validity of CofE bishops. How on earth can they want an honored place when they are denying the validity of women's orders? The church can't have protected purified lines of succession. There can be but one order of orders and every bishop must be in that same line.

I know that you want to be gracious but what they are saying makes no sense. If you want to be an Anglican then recognize all valid Anglican orders. Or find a church whose orders you recognize. No church can survive with a protected zone for separatists and schismatics. The various Anglican churches must be gracious, yes, but need to be realistic, too.

Posted by: Dennis on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 8:13pm BST

Who's "won," Erika?

AFAIK, there can't be any woman consecrated bishop in the CofE until AT LEAST 2014?

I'll believe that WHEN I see it (and even then---remembering +Gene Robinson on this side of The Pond---not until the *2nd* woman is consecrated bishop will it be the time to talk about having "won"!)

Posted by: JCF on Friday, 23 July 2010 at 8:49pm BST

Dennis et all,

I think you misunderstand me.

The CoE is not a church that started out by one group of right-believers forming their own church that has then grown and diversified and frayed at the edges. There is no “genuine” core, like there is with other denominations or churches.

I don't know all the dates, names, etc., but I know that when the CoE was established and the Roman Catholic church eventually marginalised in England, the Anglo-Catholics saw themselves as the true remnants of what had been the church, and they were the ones who were going to keep the Roman flame burning in England. They have always been a distinct strand in this church.
Our modern day Anglo-Catholics are not just playing silly games in costumes, mimicking Rome without wanting to be part of it, but they stand in a long and honourable tradition of CoE Catholics.

The marvel of this church, and looking at it now, the absolute miracle, is that it has been able to accommodate that. Three distinct churches in one, if you like, not one church with three expressions. There was no main body that tolerated a bit of Anglo-Catholic rite here and a bit of evangelical arm-waving there. There were absolutely distinct groups that wonderfully managed to co-exist without ever agreeing on much.

For one group to have said to any of the other that they have no place in this church because they were not like the others would have been unthinkable, because the whole church was about different people having a place in it.

That anyone on this liberal forum thinks that some Anglo-Catholic they only know from blogland isn’t actually ready for Rome because he’s lacking the right belief is a silly sideline to this debate.
That someone else from across the pond would like things to be more like they are in the Episcopal church is also missing the point.

Here in England we are not just talking about a new theology that suddenly becomes dominant in the church, we are not just talking about equality, justice etc. This is rightly won, women are priests, women will be bishops.

What we are also talking about is what this means for the church, that suddenly finds itself in a place where it is impossible to retain that marvellous structure of 3 different groups staying together.

…ctd.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 6:44am BST

…2…

It is becoming impossible because what is needed to make it work is no longer just tolerance and live and let live, but is requires structural changes to the church itself. Flying bishops were the first indication of how dramatic this development is. At that time, it was clear that something had to be done to allow one part of the church to move in a dramatically new direction without losing the other parts of itself. It was not and never has been, a case of the progressive ones making concessions to keep the dinosaurs on board. It was not and never has been, a case of one part of the church suddenly believing they were the major, right-on one that could dictate terms to the others and decide who’s in and who’s out.
It was, rather, the realisation that remaining the kind of church it has always been would be a very complex undertaking from now on.

It worked while women were only priests because conservative evangelicals could simply ignore this development while Anglo-Catholics were able to retain their sacramental theology which includes who can be a priest and who cannot be.
It’s falling to pieces now because the structure needed to keep the 3 strands distinct but together are increasingly complicated. They raise a lot of questions, because the creation of a formal church within a church is as counter to what the CoE is about as enforcing one theology across the board.

But the real reason it is all falling to pieces is because people have forgotten about this structure of the church and see themselves increasingly like any other church, where an enlightened majority makes the theology and the rest has to lump it.

That’s not an invalid way of being church, it may even be the better way of being church, but it has not been the way the CoE has been church before.

Personally, I find it sad that we have to win at all cost, that we are glad when others who don’t agree with us leave for Rome or GAFCON or wherever, and that we are so determined to be right-on that we cannot continue the past practice of genuinely valuing each other despite our differences and ensure that all remain an equal and equally valid part.
We stand to gain a little but lose an awful lot.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 6:44am BST

Dear Erika,
With respect, I am afraid your history is pretty shakey. I recommend the relevant bits of Diarmaid MacCulloch's Reformation.Anglo-Catholics didnt exist in the C of E before the 19c...the high churchmen before that were very much "protestant " high churchmen. The papalist strand wasnt even part of the original Tractarian programme...it began to appear post 1845 mostly under the influence of Pusey on the next generation.The C of E since the Reformation hasnt been three churches in one church despite the tensions that have always existed within it.Comprehensiveness in anglican terms only makes sense if you accept a distinction between fundamentals and non-fundamentals and see the three tendencies for want of a better word as three emphases on a shared body of divinity enshrined in the Churche's authorised formularies, liturgical tradition and canon law.( In C of E terms the Declaration of Assent made by every clergyperson.) I admit the tensions have nearly brought us to breaking point and the amount we have in common has diminished painfully in the last 40 yrs or so..but that should be a spur to regaining greater anglican integrity not accepting we are really three separate churches in one.

Posted by: Perry Butler on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 8:59am BST

Erika, what you miss out in your long discourse is the idea of communion. I remember, not too long ago, when it was possible to go on holiday and walk into the nearest church on Sunday and receive communion, and, if you were a priest, to be offered the hospitality of the altar, either to concelebrate, or to celebrate a a mass during the week. The style may have been different. North-end, westward-facing, eastward-facing, vestments, scarf and hood, A&M, English Hymnal, all the rest. None of this mattered for a Sunday away. What mattered was a common eucharistic fellowship. The opponents of women priests have blasted this out of the water. Communion as we knew it has gone. The Church of England must recover this or die. And that means no more no-go areas. Any priest, any church. Any bishop, any altar. It's that or nothing. That's what used to be known as catholic doctrine, until this farce of flying bishops came along.

Posted by: junius on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:05am BST

Junius
I know, that is a problem, whichever way we structure the church now, we will have lost that cohesion.
But we already lost that the moment the first woman was ordained and yet, we've managed to keep rubbing along nicely until now.

To a large extent, it's only a theoretical issue anyway, there are only some 1000 FiF parishes (correct me if I'm wrong), and very few of the conservative evangelical parishes celebrate mass during the week or even on Sundays.
In practice, you can still do what you've always done in well over 90% (uneducated guess) of parishes.

The question is what price 100% purity?

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 10:27am BST


Perry,
I admitted my grasp of dates, names etc. was shaky. Thank you for your explanation.

I do struggle a little with:
“Comprehensiveness in anglican terms only makes sense if you accept a distinction between fundamentals and non-fundamentals and see the three tendencies for want of a better word as three emphases on a shared body of divinity enshrined in the Churche's authorised formularies, liturgical tradition and canon law.”

Our liturgical tradition is already lived out completely differently in Anglo-Catholic and evangelical churches and we are able to cope with that quite well.
Canon law… yes, of course. But it is within General Synod’s power to make decisions about how we live together in the future. It is not the case that we are looking at FiF and Reform and say “sorry, can’t do”, what we’re saying is “sorry, won’t do”.

I question whether this is truly necessary.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 10:32am BST

Junius, though I agree with the substance of your comment, visiting Anglican clergy were not, I think, invited to "concelebrate" in other Anglican churches. Concelebration is a recent appearance from post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. I think visiting Anglican clergy were generally invited to "sit in choir" or be "robed and in the sanctuary" or otherwise assist, but not to concelebrate.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 10:35am BST

Erika, either that unity returns or there is no church. It's one of the four essential marks of the church. I'm not the one talking about purity. That's the language of the objectors.

Fr Mark, I take your point and remember that situation. I only go back to the late 1970s. From then on it was concelebration as well as the options you mention. Either way.....

Posted by: junius on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 1:52pm BST

Erika, perry is correct on Anglo Catrholics.

My question is why can the STATE Church of England secure an opt out , but the Catholic Church can't get one in other areas. Discrimination.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 2:09pm BST

'But it is within General Synod’s power to make decisions about how we live together in the future. It is not the case that we are looking at FiF and Reform and say “sorry, can’t do”, what we’re saying is “sorry, won’t do”.

I question whether this is truly necessary.'

It is if you want the CoE to survive; we are the established Church and we cannot behave in a manner wholly contrary to our traditions. And Reform is wholly contrary to our traditions; there has never been a time when the Church hid its true beliefs in order to try to convert people to it. Reform does, as I have commented on an earlier article.

I am looking forward to Simon's promised article expanding on the question of the Equality Act; one thing which struck me forcefully as I listened to the debate was that there was a yawning chasm between the General Synod and the people who knew what they were talking about. Of course, by that point everyone was very tired, but the Bishop of Durham really didn't help matters by substituting what he wishes to happen for what will happen. That too goes to the question of why Erika apparently believes that General Synod has unbridled power when in reality there are great restraints on its freedom of action.

Parliament and the Supreme Court will not accept institutionalised inequality; there is no reason why they should. Pretending otherwise really does not help anyone...

Posted by: chenier1 on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 2:16pm BST

I'm no expert on the history of the CofE/Angliganism either, but I think there's always been those Anglicans who held a "high" view of the sacraments (e.g., Real Presence---giving only lip-service to those anti-sacremental Articles), but they weren't known as "Anglo-Catholics" until the Oxford Movement.

Just as important, Erika, I want to push back against the oft-cited canard (you seem to be repeating) that "Anglo-Catholics" are of one mind towards women's (and *honestly* LGBT) ordination: agin' it.

"Affirming Catholics" aren't some invention of "women dressing up as priests": no, among the honorable strain of "high churchman"/"Anglo-Catholics", male and female, there were those who WERE persuaded that God was calling women/LGBTs to ordained ministry. What we then had was a *disagreement* (or, sadly, division) among Anglo-Catholics, NOT that those who "affirmed" somehow ceased to be Anglo-Catholic merely through their affirmation!

If those *non-affirming Anglo-Catholics* can't make peace w/ the provisions provided them, as they currently stand (which, in my Yank opinion, seem quite generous), then there's the Ordinariate a-beckoning.

But the CofE shouldn't *perpetually abandon comprehensiveness* for the sake of their (temporary, God willing!) non-affirmation.

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 7:22pm BST

Erika, There are also a lot of evangelicals who have been positive about women's ministry for a long time and were having women as lay readers, deacons etc even before they could have them as priests.

But the evangelical circles I moved in in the early 1980s may have been positive about women, but not about liberals. Our expectation then was that our brand of Christianity would take over the Church of England and liberals would fade away and we were quite happy about that, because they had incorrect beliefs. And I suspect that if you went today to most evangelical churches (Reform or not) and said that you were planning to leave the C of E because of its treatment of gays, they would be only to happy to show you the door. I don't think they would be telling you that liberalism is an important strand of Anglicanism and you should stay. (But as usual, I stand to be corrected if there are evangelicals who do value liberals in the church).

Posted by: magistra on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 10:22pm BST

Oh please - you barely know the history of Anglicanism, let alone understand concepts such as "Classical" Anglicanism, or "Catholicism" in its universally understood use regarding doctrines like the Apostolic Succession and Sacramental validity! Your'e a joke! Your stated understanding of the term "Protestant" betrays the fact you actually have no idea what that term meant when it is was first used, let alone the understanding of that term in Anglicanism prior to the 19C?! Amazing that your "reductive" or "redactive" theories applied to Scriptural exegesis you seem unable - or deliberately refuse - to apply to your own history or theology?! Nobody who actually had studied the "39 Articles" would call them "anti-sacramental"?!

The "rise and fall" of Anglo-Catholicism in the late 20th and early 21st Century is down to the fact that you guys don't know your own stuff?! So taken by the zeitgeist of our secularist modern society where "God is dead" and has been since the late 60's, your understanding of Anglicanism and Catholicism is totally superficial?! Your theology is based on secularist "soundbites" and you've reduced the radicalism of the Gospel and Jesus to the proclamations of your own egos?! It's all "how I feel" instead of "what should I feel" it's all "God loves me as I am" instead of "but too much to leave me that way"?!

Read and listen to yourselves! You've reduced theological and doctrinal debate down to "party-lines" based not upon the whole history of the Catholic Faith and its expression in Anglicanism, but about it's interpretation in the last forty years?!

Posted by: periti on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 12:55am BST

So, periti, do you have any interest in making a substantive contribution to the discussion, or do you prefer to rant like a pompous *$$?

Even the now long gone NP used to provide better talking points than your vacuous screed.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 8:22am BST

magistra
"I don't think they would be telling you that liberalism is an important strand of Anglicanism and you should stay."

So what? I'm not a liberal in order to be as narrow as other people can be.
Unless there's real harm in something, I don't see why it can't be granted.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 9:45am BST

But Erika, that's the problem. There is real harm in having one group of Anglican clergy or bishops who don't recognize the validity of another group. For example, when Rowan refused to welcome Gene Robinson to Lambeth, it wasn't just an insult to one person, it was a rejection of the entire Episcopal church. In the same way, if Anglo Catholics and Evangelicals refuse to recognize women bishops it will be a rejection of the entire CofE.

Posted by: Dennis on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 3:48pm BST

Dennis
If we don't make concessions because Rowan didn't allow Gene Robinson we get involved in a childish tit for tat game. That might make political sense but I'm not a politician.

If some people don't recognise women priests it is only a rejection of the whole CoE if you want to see it as one.
You could equally say that they accept everything about the church apart from this one thing.

When women are refused ordination because of FiF or Reform (and I have recently been told of one instance, so I believe we would need to include that in the provisions), I will believe in real harm done. Until then, it's a case of live and let live.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 8:13pm BST

I must commend and support Erika Baker for trying so hard to achieve what may be impossible. I appreciate that this is all the more difficult and complex in an Established Church such as the C of E, but even from an Aotearoa/New Zealand perspective I have long been exercised by a fundamental logical and theological dilema. This is present in the debates on the GLB issues and the ordination/consecration of women issues.

If I have an inclusive theology and worldview, and you have exclusive ones, then how can I include you?

I think I hear Erika insisting that I can't get away with saying: I will include everyone except those who are exclusive. And she is right.

If your theology or worldview is sufficiently exclusive as to cut me out, then that is your prerogative, and my loss. But I should not make that decision, as it violates my inclusive position.

So Erika is right, and she has come close to persuading me that just maybe the Archbishops were right also.

Edward Prebble

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 11:36pm BST

Absolutely NOT! The Church of England should not be exempt from the Equality Laws and if anything should be carrying the banner FOR such laws! Love and compassion for the disenfranchised and marginalized are the very human beings that Christ stood beside. This is another example of the need for hierarchy REFORM. They must be shepherds and NOT "imperial princes" who decide who is and who is not entitled to basic human rights inside the institutional Church. The People of God must insist on equal rights for every human being, church member or non-believer. We are not suppose to be the judges. This power is reserved for God alone. Rowan Williams' exclusion of Bishop Gene Robinson from the Lambeth Conference was an outrageous affront to Bishop Robinson's dignity and humanity. It was a shameful moment. Yes, it was indeed insulting and un-Christ like and it was an affront to the entire Episcopal Church in America. Rowan owes a long overdue apology for this behavior but his imperial mantle prevents him from such an action. Rowan has been rewarding reactionary and backward thinking behavior and this must stop. It may be time for Rowan to leave the stage. Winds of change are stirring.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 4:02am BST

Erika - if people (such as FiF) don't recognise the sacramental validity of acts performed by women, I'm prepared to accept that's not a rejection of the Church of England as a whole.

But when people (particularly Reform, but not entirely) see the faithful ministry of women priests in many dioceses, and yet still say women's ministry is wrong in principle, that seems to me the active denial of good fruit within the church. Our local paper recently carried a letter from the relatives of a murdered man in our parish, thanking our female priest for how she'd taken his funeral service. If someone's response to that event is to see this as an usurpation of male authority by a woman who doesn't know her place, what is left of the Church of England's role of ministering to all in the community?

Posted by: magistra on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 6:22am BST

magistra
I agree, I can't come to terms with Reform at all.
But, again, this is not a case of men oppressing women but of conservative evanglical men and women believing this same thing.

What it really comes down to is that there are two increasingly smaller and smaller groups who cannot, for different reason, accept women priests. They identify as part of the CoE, they wish to remain part of the CoE and they wish to continue to do what they always have done, peacefully within their own churches.

I don't have to agree with their theology, I don't have to set foot into their churches. I do not see what objective harm they are doing.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:09am BST

But magistra nobody is questioning the ABILITY of women. She might have taken the best ever pastoral funeral enough to bring tears to the eyes.....but the issue would remain is she an authentic priest with sacramental validity? This is not about a job but an ontological change

And for the record most of us opposed do not say a categorical no so much as we can not be certain.. doubt enters the arena

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 3:44pm BST

On a different topic:

"Robert Key (Salisbury) had given notice that he wanted to speak against Clause 7. He said that the Bishop of Durham was, “of course, wholly wrong: the Church of England cannot act wholly in its own interest.” God spoke not just to the Synod, but also to Parliament."

I remember earlier occasions (in the 1530s, perhaps?) when Ecclesia Anglicana having signally failed to reform itself, it was left to Parliament to reform it. Nice to see the old days coming back...

Posted by: Charlotte on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 5:11pm BST

Ed
"But magistra nobody is questioning the ABILITY of women."

Well, from our point of view it's complicated, because FiF question the possibility while Reform question the propriety and it all gets muddled with liberal belief that most of you hold on to your belief because of (possibly unrecognised) misogyny.

And when individuals comment, they don't always show their affiliation, so in the public domain the arguments of FiF and Reform get muddled together, which is partly responsible for you being perceived as inconsistent, wanting your cake and eating it, and being... well, misogynist.

I have spent some time these last few weeks explaining the different positions on various blogs - which is astonishing, seeing I don't hold any of those views and it shouldn't really be up to me to explain and mediate you to the others.

It would help if you all identified more clearly which group you belong to, and although you believer everyone should know it by now, it would help if you explained your reasons occasionally.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:42pm BST

Once again, the practice of inclusivity is limited to realities of human existence.

You cannot include what tries to destroy. In the ether of thought, absolute inclusivity is possible. In reality, it is *impossible* for any but God. To include those who exclude and demand such exclusion on the part of others is tantamount to a human body including a cyst - it can be included, but causes pain and harm and may eventually cause death.

"orthodox" christians live too much in the belly and "liberal" christians live too much in the head!

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 7:19am BST

"orthodox" christians live too much in the belly and "liberal" christians live too much in the head!

I find that surprising and would put it the other way. Liberals live too much in the belly- placing greater emphasis on feelings but the orthodox sometimes too much in the head, theology trumping experience.

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 9:17am BST

You place too much emphasis on doing and genitalia - flesh, the belly. While liberals refuse to recognize realities of limitation - the head.

Your theology is nothing but how dreadful the earth is, and theirs is how wonderful the brighter day will be. Both are far off.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 11:33am BST

Ed Tomlinson:

None of us can be certain this side of the grave...but those of us on this side of the issue of women's ordination prefer to err (if we err) on the side of inclusion. Why do you find it preferable to err on the side of exclusion?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 11:36am BST

Charlotte said, "I remember earlier occasions (in the 1530s, perhaps?) when Ecclesia Anglicana having signally failed to reform itself, it was left to Parliament to reform it. Nice to see the old days coming back..."

I am again struck by how much of what one might think is the genius of anglicanism-writ-large is actually the result of politics.

We would do well to remember that "no windows on men's souls" was a politically imposed solution to a religious problem.

Perhaps God does speak to governments!

Perhaps we can hope for the same this time around.

Posted by: Jeremy on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 at 12:35am BST

And the overhaul of the C of E in the 1830's, effectively by parliament, was more far reaching administratively than the changes of the 1530's....and arguably put the C of E in better shape to face the pastoral challenges of the 19c than it would otherwise have been.In an institution like the C of E it seems to me that God has spoken to the Church through Parliament as much as God has spoken to Parliament through the Church.And that surely has implications for our doctrine of Revelation doesnt it?

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 at 10:38am BST

As an atheist all this debate seems incredible!! Who wants to join an exclusive club of men in fancy dress anyway? Men who complain that 'church values' are being eroded and then alienate half the world's population on the basis of gender. Extraordinary! What about hunger? War? Genuinely relevant concerns.....

Posted by: Lucy on Sunday, 3 June 2012 at 1:47am BST
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