Saturday, 30 September 2017

Opinion - 30 September 2017

The Scottish Episcopal Institute Journal has been published quarterly since March 2017. Issues can be freely downloaded from here. There is some background information here.
The latest issue includes “Some Insights from Church Planting in the Tower Hamlets Deanery of the Diocese of London” by Carol Latimer.

Paul Bayes ViaMedia.News The True God and the Real World

Church Times leader comment Taking a knee

Andrew Lightbown Theore0 Talking of speaking

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Speaking as a fool for God

Martyn Percy Christian Today Can the Church of England still afford nuance or ambiguity? Some final thoughts on Sir Philip Mawer’s Sheffield review

Richard Peers Quodcumque De-throning the ego: address to the Diocese of Leicester Catholic Societies, Michaelmas 2017

WATCH Ministry Statistics published September 2017

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 11:00am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion
Comments

Thank you, Paul Bayes.

I love the term "scandalously human" which, after all, was what Jesus was. Scandalously human, because we are idiosyncratic, we are diverse, we fit awkwardly, we are complex and sometimes contradictory, we are sexual, or we are not sexual, we are each 'queer' in our quirks, our generosities, our meannesses. We are unique, and God loves us in our uniqueness, and capable of being and becoming who each of us, uniquely, can be and become, and much loved by a God who dwells in a deeper calmness, an eternal grace, a love, a compassion, an immersion with us.

And these words of Paul's too: "For us the via-media road is the road of love, the road to perfect love, as John of the Cross understood when he wrote that 'in the evening of our lives we shall be examined in love'. A real world that is complex and surprising and in many ways mysterious, and a call of the true God to walk in love in the real world God loves, and the gift of the via media, the Middle Way, the way of open, trusting, fearless loving. These are the poles of our discipleship and the road on which we can walk."

I believe this is something that Anglicanism has been called to: an emphasis not on doctrinal purity and uniformity, but on love even in our diversity. The way of love. The unity in God, even in all our differences. The surrender of dogmatic control. The letting go of fear and alienations, to simply love.

The greatest, as St Paul once wrote. The greatest commandment, as Jesus said. And in the opening up of our hearts to this love, and grace... in our opening up of our hearts to God... we find a way down the middle of all our differences and contention.

In the grail tradition, there is sometimes evocation of a way between two ridges, a middle way of Percival, towards the grail and the cup that overflows but never runs dry. And strangely, I suspect we encounter the grail, not necessarily only at the end of a great journey, but along the way... in all our little loves... and the coming and presence of God in the neglected maybe undervalued sideline stories of our daily lives.

Because love is where God begins, and where God leads and takes us.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 12:34pm BST

Martyn: "There don't appear to be any significant theological voices from the public sphere (i.e., universities) who are marshalling arguments in favour of (so-called) 'traditionalist' convictions. This in itself is telling, and further underlines a pressing problem for organisations like The Society and Forward in Faith. It would seem that this dissenting minority now lacks an intellectual power that would give it significant weight rooted in any theological salience, and might therefore merit any balancing with other competing convictions."

'Significant theological voices'... you mean, advocates of a male priesthood don't exist anywhere in Roman Catholic theology?

Personally, I believe that women and men can equally become priests. And I think that is the prevalent situation in the Church of England. So women priests are hardly a minority concept - they are the new status quo (albeit, more at all levels will be welcome).

However, I cannot agree with Martyn when he seems to be a little dismissive of the sincere, faithful consciences of Christians who believe that priests should be men... they are part of our Church too (not to mention, part of the wider worldwide Church). They can find theological rationale for their sincere convictions.

They are simply different in a diverse Church. Women priests in the Church of England today are so secure in the recognition the Church offers them, that there ought to be a way of graciousness that accepts that some people - and even some bishops, even their own bishops - take an alternative view... and yet are part of what makes "us".

We should seek the way of love and grace, and measure people, priests, bishops, by that. It should not be about a Church built around uniformity, or exclusion. No woman is being excluded from ordination today in the Church of England...

...unless they are practising lesbians of course.

I think there's too much victim culture going on here. Poor aggrieved female priests, who cannot accommodate a non-ordaining bishop. In this difference of theological views, I don't think it's women priests who are the victims - notwithstanding the reality of ongoing sexism, which may exist in any quarter of the Church. For believing in male-only priesthood does not make someone sexist.

As with LGBT+ issues, I think we need unity in diversity, focussing on love not uniformity. We can love each other well enough, if we have the will.

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 1:09pm BST

Martyn Percy "gets it" deeply, on many levels. What a theologian. I so appreciate that he called out the false equivalencies in the Mawer Report. And questioned what "minority" status really means, lacking power - which describes women and girls who are not accepted as equals in the eyes of God (Percy sticks with women clergy who would not be regarded as real priests).

I appreciate his "outing" the Society and FiF for their lack of intellectual rigor. I would go further and call them out for the utter lack of empathy they exhibit for the harm done to women and girls - their entitlement trumps that suffering and they can't really even mount a theology for it. Any theology would have to take in the "fruits" of belief.

I don't always follow Percy's defining of Anglo-Catholicism, though I stipulate that he most certainly has a historical and theological understanding far beyond mine. As an American Anglo-Catholic (born and raised Greek Orthodox), I would say that the mystery and ambiguity of the liturgy, combined with the belief in the real presence in the Eucharist opens channels to the heart. Why the Society or FiF believe that they are the arbiters of who "controls" those sacraments is the great mystery to me...

Posted by: Cynthia on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 6:08pm BST

Just a few brief comments in reply to Susannah.

First, I am not aware of any Anglican theologians currently occupying university posts who would hold to the (so-called) 'traditionalist' line on an exclusively male priesthood and episcopate. Likewise, of prominent 'public intellectuals' who self-identify as CofE. If they exist, I think we might have heard from them by now. (Of course there are RC's who do believe in an all-male priesthood and episcopate - that is the current position of their Church. But it is not the position of the CofE).

Second, yes, of course the CofE can support individuals and congregations who believe in a male-only priesthood and episcopate. The PEV provisions are there for precisely this reason. But there are no good reasons to impose a bishop holding such views on a Diocese, and become their Diocesan Bishop. Since the said bishop would not be able to recognize or unequivocally affirm the sacramental efficacy of many of his own clergy.

Third, whilst it is true that women are not barred from ordination, it would be odd to serve under a Diocesan Bishop who did not in fact think you were (really) ordained, or indeed ever could be. Despite the fact, that legally, you are.

No-one is arguing for uniformity or homogeneity. Least of all me. But an argument for equality is a fundamental principle of the Kingdom of God. That is, equality of status, regard, esteem and value - independent of ethnicity, age, sexuality or gender. It is not too much to ask, is it?

Posted by: Martyn Percy on Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 6:46pm BST

Predictably, I'm with Susannah on this one: in excluding women from a job on the basis of their sex, the traditional position's the definition of sexist; but many of those who hold it aren't, and shouldn't be marginalized in a broad church.

Like Martyn, I agree that equality's a fundamental principle, but so too is toleration. When equality's extended beyond equal treatment to demanding right think, not only does it become oppressive, it undermines the very value being defended: equality's fundamental 'cause we should all be judged on our actions, not who we are, or what we believe.

I'll not set off on the road to demanding orthodoxy, if only 'cause, if I expect freedom of conscience and belief, I'd better extend those fundamental liberties to others.

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 12:19am BST

"I think there's too much victim culture going on here. Poor aggrieved female priests, who cannot accommodate a non-ordaining bishop. In this difference of theological views, I don't think it's women priests who are the victims - notwithstanding the reality of ongoing sexism" - Susannah -

Sad, Susannah, that you have this view of women in the Church who have been ordained as priests. In any diocese where there are men who do not believe they (women) should be ordained, they are, indeed, the victims of an institutional prejudice - in a Church that now embraces women clergy as equal to men.

Marytn P. is quite correct in his questioning of those who consider themselves Anglican and yet refuse to accept the equivalence in ordination for their fellow Anglicans who happen to be of a different gender. In the outside world, this is called sexism. In the Anglican world it may be called something else, but basically, it is the same. Anyone excluded on the basis of their gender or sexual-orientation IS a victim - of a prejudice against a sister/brother in Christ.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 12:34am BST

"For believing in male-only priesthood does not make someone sexist." Susannah Clark offers a very generous and empathetic set of comments, as always. And I do appreciate her generous spirit, on this and other issues.

But I just can't agree. Believing in a male-only priesthood is intrinsically sexist. It is the very definition of the word. What else does the word sexist describe if not this kind of discrimination? Not allowing women to vote is sexist. Not thinking women can be good drivers is sexist. Not paying women equal pay, not allowing women to become doctors, not allowing women to attend university, are all sexist. What useful work can the word sexist do if it cannot be applied to the view that women cannot and should not be priests or bishops?

Of course those who practice this kind of discrimination do not think they are sexist, and provide other explanations or justifications for their actions. History is littered with such explanations, some of which are couched in religious language. But neither do those who practice discrimination on the basis of ethnicity think they are being racist, nor do those who practice discrimination on the basis of sexuality think they are homophobic.

Institutional sexism, as applied to the Church of England, describes an institution in which women can be and are discriminated against simply on the basis of their gender. All of us know of parishes which simply won't appoint a woman as priest or incumbent. This is not about women being 'victims'. It is simply a matter of fact, whatever ideological justification is provided for it. I can't see the value is saying this is not discrimination on the basis of gender. I realise this kind of language upsets or irritates people (including some women), but I can't see that the truth is served by obscuring reality.

Posted by: Revd Dr Charles Clapham on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 12:57am BST

Thanks Martyn - lots to think about and pray about. I'm not pretending I sit comfortably with the views I expressed. However, those are my holding positions at this time. A Church made up of people with diverse, conscientious convictions. The catholic wing of the Church of England is incredibly precious in my opinion, and my instincts urge me to believe that with sufficient love, long-marginalised women could both be pastorally cared for within a diocese and the wider Church, and could in turn care for a 'non-ordaining' bishop. I just think that the Church of England should be open at all levels to people of widely diverging consciences. Otherwise, how do you answer me - a transgender female - if I plead that evangelical bishops who insist I am a disordered "man" should be excluded from episcopal positions? Where does it end?

Posted by: Susannah Clark on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 1:34am BST

Dear Susannah. Perhaps is BECAUSE you are a transgender female that I thought your denial of victimhood - on the grounds of sexual difference -was particularly unsatisfactory. Especially for those of us who are longing for equal treatment of all - regardless of gender or sexual-orientation.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 10:34am BST

A few follow-on comments, if I may. In so doing, I thank Susannah for her considered and gracious comments. In response, just five things to note.

First, the extensity of impact in doubting the sacramental efficacy of women priests and bishops goes well beyond the women who fall into this category. It affects their congregations. In fact, it impacts everyone and everything they touch: bread, wine, oil, water, couples, the sick, the dying. If women cannot be agents and mediators of God's sacramental grace, then all the people and things they touch have no sacramental value.

Second, this affects all male clergy ordained by any women bishop. The official position of The Society and FiF is that these men would not 'real' priests. As I have pointed out earlier, that means they never can be, as they cannot be (legally) 're-ordained' - whatever that might mean.

Third, this is why several dozen parishes in Sheffield wrote, lobbied and questioned the appointment of a bishop who would not ordain women, and would not recognise the sacramental efficacy of their ministry. The extensity of such non-recognition by a bishop would have an enormous and continuous impact on any diocese.

Fourth, the fundamental ethical principle remains the same. Namely, can you impose a person who holds an office of power and authority on a group who cannot consent to this? I suppose you can try. But my counsel to the Church is think carefully before you try it, and consult widely. Neither of these happened in Sheffield.

Fifth and last, if a bishop has doubts about the sacramental efficacy of a significant number of his clergy, it is unreasonable not to expect back some questions, challenges and resistance to how his episcopal ministry might be received. That is all that happened in Sheffield. If the bishop could receive the ministry of all his clergy as equal, valued and unequivocally efficacious, there is surely no doubt that his episcopal oversight would have been well-received, and with joy.

Once the inherent power differentials in these complex equations are properly discussed and discerned, the Church might progress. In the meantime, the PEV provision caters well for a small group of minority dissenters. The lesson from Sheffield is a general one, essentially. History and politics teach us that when small minority groups try and preside over non-consenting majorities, you tend to get resistance, and sometimes rebellion. You only get progress when the real power differentials are named - and ultimately changed.

Posted by: Martyn Percy on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 1:57pm BST

Despite broad sympathy with Martyn Percy's article, I am uncomfortable with his point about the absence of theological voices (Anglican ones) in favour of the traditional position. A consensus does not mean that truth has been discerned; it can simply mean that the power balance has been such that dissident voices have been silenced. Given the way in which an acceptance of gender differences is now enough to make you banished from polite society (see what happened to James Damore at Google) it is hardly surprising that there aren't any academics giving a traditional view.

Posted by: Sam Norton on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 3:20pm BST

"Where does it end?"

A Brave New World. Laissez-faire generosity and liberalism v Lockian Liberal Truth "all the way down."

Posted by: crs on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 3:46pm BST

Like Susannah, I'm not comfortable with my own views. Just the opposite: by instinct, I'd want every person who supports discrimination on the basis of sex to be denied any provision whatsoever.

Since I believe in principles that disallow such actions, either I junk them, or force myself to support a broad church that doesn't discriminate on the basis of a person's beliefs. So I shove the instincts down, hard as it is.

No principle worth holding was ever easy.

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 3:55pm BST

Susannah and James, the social science shows your empathy and "tolerance" come at the expense of the well-being of women and girls. This is a place where the social science aligns with my experience growing up in the Greek Orthodox Church. At a young age, I realized that going behind the iconostasis was a boys and men only thing. Which prompted the question "what's wrong with me?" It's a terrible question for a pre-school child to reckon with. Then in school, I saw the boys favored over girls - making me the aggressive, intellectually competitive feminist I am today... Underemployed in my male-dominated field.

The ill-health, personally and socially, of discrimination, as described by Dr. Clapham and Martyn Percy, goes deep with nasty results. There has been a lot of hand-wringing over the fact that 53 percent of white women voted for Trump in the US. There are some thought and data suggesting that the reason for these women voting for Trump is because they rely on their men financially, and so that vote aligned with their economic interests - because the women's economic interests are harmed by intrinsic sexism that limits financial independence and well-being. Ironically, it may turn out that sexism is one of the underlying causes for electing a sexist madman as president. The ill-health, like alcoholism, depression, that awful vote, and whatnot that are by-products of limitations imposed by misogyny (racism, homophobia) are the "fruits" of discrimination. That makes it a moral issue and is why Martyn Percy's suggestion of being inclusive with PEV's and suffragans, but not diocesans, is the moral and tolerant position. I respect him so much for taking that moral high road and speaking out on behalf of suffering people, women and girls, whose voices clearly don't count for much - though the Sheffield women have likely help bend the arc of justice towards being heard.

It isn't only about women clergy (though their well-being matters very much). It is the message received by girls and vulnerable women. It is also a fact that some men will receive that message as affirming of a toxic form of masculinity that results in abuse of women and girls. It is the very same dynamic as racism or homophobia. But for some reason, women and girls are asked to take one for the team? Many thanks, again, to Martyn Percy and Dr. Clapham for "getting it," and speaking up.

Posted by: Cynthia on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 4:23pm BST

I found Martyn's piece illuminating and will be reflecting on it, I feel, for some time. As so often, the discussion will have moved on by the time I have thought of something worthwhile to say about it, but it has had a profound effect.

Susannah, like others I appreciate your emphasis on grace, and the way you are continually reminding us of the need for it. However, I do not think the past suffering of women in the Church of England can be dismissed so lightly. It is simply realistic to acknowledge that such injustice and suffering leaves a very long shadow and will take at least a generation to heal. To admit that is not to nurture a victim culture; it's a psychological reality. As far as I know there has been no attempt on the part of the CofE to acknowledge or make any recompense for abuses which in most professions would lead to disciplinary action, or even police charges.

Nor are women today really secure in the C of E. As Dame Moira Gibb pointed out in her report on Peter Ball, there is a culture of deference towards bishops in the Church which is quite beyond what power they possess. Where only 2 women are diocesans, both archbishops are male, and parishes are allowed to refuse a woman's ministry, there is still a significant imbalance of power. This power can be, and too often is, exercised in devious ways - appointments, promotions (though I dislike that word used in the church)allocations of funding, whispering campaigns. There are many ways to make a cleric's life uncomfortable.

Therefore we need transparent structures which make such abuses more difficult to perpetrate, and more easily rectifiable when they occur. One such element of structure could be to expect that a bishop will publicly acknowledge that all his or her clergy are validly ordained and authentically priests. That does not seem to me to be very much to ask. An episcopal candidate can choose whether to make that acknowledgement or not - even as she or she can choose how to reply to the question whether they feel they have a vocation for the post they are being interviewed for.

Posted by: Janet Fife on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 6:26pm BST

Even accepting that it'd be desirable to bar traditionalists from diocesan posts as Cynthia says, the cost wouldn't be paid by them alone: as I've said previously, this precedent would be used to advocate a no surrender position by many of those taking a traditional position on sexuality. Unfair as it is, the people paying the price will be LGBT Anglicans.

Posted by: James Byron on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 10:53pm BST

I have a question that is prompted by an earlier thread, “Opinion, 17 September”, and the exchange of articles by Scott Cowdell and Tony Payne. I hope I can be permitted to ask it here, because (i) that thread is now sufficiently buried by subsequent material that few are likely to read it, (ii) this thread is clearly being read by people with acknowledged theological expertise, and (iii) it is of direct relevance to the issues being discussed here.
I have no pretentions as a First Testament Scholar, and my knowledge of Hebrew is worse than negligible; my PhD on Action Research in Local Parishes is from a Business School. I would like someone who IS a recognised scholar in those fields to tell me if my interpretation of Genesis 1: 27 is a valid one. I know that Professor Seitz is in that category, but I expect there are other suitably qualified readers who may be able to answer. NIV Inclusive Language Version translates this verse as:
So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them: male and female he created them.
This is frequently interpreted as signifying that God created us with complementary sexuality, as an essential aspect of the image of God, sometimes caricatured as the “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” argument. But it seems to me to make equal, and perhaps better sense, to signify that females, no differently from males, are created in the image of God. If that second interpretation is correct, then it has direct relevance to the matters being discussed by Marty Percy and others.
I’m sure it is possible that the same ambiguity (nuance?) exists in the original Hebrew. I would like someone to tell me. Possibly neither interpretation can be called the “correct” or even the “preferred” one. But is the second interpretation permitted?
I am no keener on proof texts than anyone else, but I know that many people put a lot of store in the first interpretation. Is my one at least equally valid?

Posted by: Dr Edward Prebble on Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 11:49pm BST

The Hebrew cannot be made to rule out either interpretation. As you note, like a lot of things, theology flows from the wider sense of a thing than etymology, in any case. Order, sequence, harmony, scope, flow, hypothesis -- these are the terms the Fathers use when fighting opponents. But in respect of this verse, both-and and not either-or.

Posted by: cseitz on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 7:39am BST

Re: Edward Prebble: "...it [Gen.1:27]has direct relevance to the matters being discussed by Martyn Percy and others. Does it I wonder?

Noam Chomsky recently noted, “One can contrive a religious motivation for virtually any choice of action, from commitment to the highest ideals to support for the most horrendous atrocities. In the sacred texts, we can find uplifting calls for peace, justice and mercy, along with the most genocidal passages in the literary canon. Conscience is our guide, whatever trappings we might choose to clothe it in. ” (George Yancy with Noam Chomsky NYT July 5, 2017).

Along these lines one notes that some biblical texts that now attempt to ground an environmental stewardship were used previously for the opposite purpose of rationalizing exploitation of the earth's resources—a fact that is noted in the papal encyclical Laudato Si [Chapter 2 (II) (#67)].

In any event attempting to unpack equal rights and gender equality using biblical mythology as a starting point is problematic: the problem is compounded when one considers the use of the Hebrew scriptures by the church "fathers" in some instances.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 2:14pm BST

It is probably well to recall that God did not create "us" -- the accounts record that God created the primeval pair, and they went about the work of multiplication. In the verse in question, the words for male and female are nouns. We have Jesus' reading on this as an interpretation, as he refers to "the two" who become one "in the beginning" in his defense of the perpetuity of union.

As to the divine image, multiple interpretations are indeed possible. Paul seemed to think (in 1 Cor) that the male is the image of God and the female a secondary reflection. That interpretation has found favor in some circles ever since.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 3:38pm BST

Re: Tobias Haller, "It is probably well to recall that God did not create "us" -- the accounts record that God created the primeval pair, and they went about the work of multiplication"

Sure thing, and that is an interesting observation to put in juxtaposition with the following point made by Martyn Percy:

"Second, the presumed essentialism of gender binaries currently faces serious scrutiny. Across the Anglican Communion, there are now several cases where male priests are transiting to become women; and some involving clergy women transiting to become men."

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 5:28pm BST

Thanks, Rod. The text does serve as a corrective to the assertion that male and female are exclusive distinct categories rather than original individual instances. This has the advantage of preserving the mythic as mythic, and allowing the reality of intersex and trans people to be acknowledged and respected.

Posted by: Tobias Haller on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 6:10pm BST

Many thanks, crs, Rod, and Tobias.
No, I certainly would not seek to build an argument solely (or maybe not at all) on this one text. I was simply seeking clarification for occasions when I find myself in discussion with those who seem to be basing their case on one interpretation of it.
Your responses are very helpful.
Thanks again

Posted by: Edward Prebble on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 8:33pm BST

A final comment on Susannah’s question - “where does it [all] end?”. Good question.

The Church incorporates a broad range of people who hold a wide range of opinions and convictions - e.g., pro/anti-abortion; pro/anti-death penalty, etc. The Church has never sought - in its preferment system - to privilege every shade of opinion with a representative person in senior leadership. Our equality in Christ lies in in our mutual belonging: we are “very members” - everyone of us, equal - in that Body of Christ.

Equality is one thing. Leadership is another. We surely do not seek to have leaders who hold to discriminatory convictions on grounds of ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality or disability. True, we sometimes end up with this. But we don’t actively seek it. We don’t seek leaders whom we know hold actively discriminatory positions.

The reason it does not work to have a FiF/Society priest as a Diocesan Bishop is that they hold to inherently discriminatory positions on gender and priesthood. To privilege such a person, and give them the office of Diocesan Bishop, would present us with a person in a position of leadership, power and authority, imposed on a group of people who would not have consented to such gender-based discrimination.

Please note, this equation does not work in reverse. Susannah finds that her bishop discriminates against her on the grounds of her (trans-)gender. But Susannah would presumably not discriminate against her bishop on the grounds of his gender. Even if she had any position of authority over him.

Equally, no woman bishop, and no woman priest, ever doubts the sacramental efficacy of FiF/Society priests and bishops. This discrimination only flows in one direction: towards women, from those who perpetrate discrimination.

There is a difference between fairness and justice. A popularised concept of fairness might suggest that our FiF/Society male priests against should be ‘balanced’ with women priest and women bishops. In this popularised concept of ‘fairness’, every shade of conviction gets to take a turn at seeing their ‘party’ represented in senior leadership, and being a Diocesan Bishop.

But is this justice? Should smokers get to light up in a percentage of restaurants and pubs? As more than 10% of the population still smoke, why not hand over 10% of pubs and restaurants?

A pro-apartheid MP, with manifest talent in educational leadership, could make a decent claim for being a government minister in a post-apartheid South Africa. Boers, after all, are still a percentage of the population. (After all, those anti-apartheid protesters have had it all their own way for so long. What about a bit of redressing of the balance here in the interests on fairness?).

What about a Headteacher, holding ‘Complementarian’ convictions on the place of women, being allowed to run their teaching staff and segregate the boys and girls taught in the school, in line with his theological convictions? Surely this is just fair? I mean, those liberal educationalists have had it their own way for so long…

These examples show how ‘fairness’ might work quite well for those who seek power on the basis of what they represent. They want their fair share of leadership pie. But in each case, all those (i.e., the vast majority) under the new leadership (who only represent a tiny minority) would experience discrimination and unfairness.

That’s why the Church seeks not what is fair, but what is just. Justice is more than (mere) fairness. We need leaders in the Church who exercise power and authority in impartial ways that are incorporative, and not on the basis of their own personal prejudices, discriminatory convictions, or particular whims. Power and authority needs to flow from here - and from the One who incorporates us all: ‘neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female’, as Paul puts it in Galatians.

Where does it all end? It ends there.

Posted by: Martyn Percy on Monday, 2 October 2017 at 8:48pm BST

"Unfair as it is, the people paying the price will be LGBT Anglicans"

As an LGBTQI Anglican, I can only say that I don't want our justice to be built on the shameful and unjust treatment of others.

Posted by: Cynthia on Tuesday, 3 October 2017 at 6:36am BST

You are very welcome Mr Prebble. I did not assume you were doing theology as etymology. Your question made sense to me.

Posted by: crs on Tuesday, 3 October 2017 at 8:59am BST

I don't want that either, Cynthia, but it's what's already happened in England, where LGBT equality's been parked for decades, and where the leaders of the campaign for equal ordination have been (with some notable exceptions) silent on equality for others, especially those consecrated bishop.

If I believed that the compromise was unjust, I'd oppose it regardless, but I don't: it doesn't deny female priests position or preferment; and since ordination is supposed to be God's will, whatever negative message it sends is sent by the church ordaining anyone with the traditional beliefs.

Is this really so unbearable that LGBT equality must remain stalled for who-knows how long?

Posted by: James Byron on Wednesday, 4 October 2017 at 4:11pm BST

"Is this really so unbearable that LGBT equality must remain stalled for who-knows how long?"

Justice isn't either/or. When CoE is ready to confront its own injustice, it will be good for women and LGBTQI people. In the meantime, I'm speaking up for girls AND LGBTQI suicidal teens.

It isn't two different problems, it's only one. Is everyone created in the Image of God or not? Is the Good News for everyone, or is it particularly good for straight and mostly white men in the West? Does God need gatekeepers to keep out the wrong sort?

The compromise is horrible, speaking as a woman who grew up in the Greek Orthodox Church. It's particularly atrocious if one is Anglo-Catholic and believes in the real presence and loves all of the sacraments - having a diocesan who isn't sacramentally in communion with the priestly sacraments administered by women is awful. If you aren't oriented to the sacraments, then I suppose your view works for similarly minded folks. My guess is that most women priests feel called and believe that the sacraments are valid and living with a bishop who outright rejects that is untenable.

Posted by: Cynthia on Friday, 6 October 2017 at 11:41pm BST
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