Comments: With the devil on your back

Thank you Bishop David for your thoughtful and positive words. Especially your comments on the House and College of Bishop being honest with the diversity amongst themselves. Something that has been lost under the present Primates.
Your words give us hope in a true body of Bishops wording together, each contributing their own thoughts and views with honesty, and without fear of Big Brother acting like a CEO.

Fr John Emlyn

Posted by Fr John E Harris-White at Friday, 14 April 2017 at 12:09pm BST

This was a really helpful piece, reminding us that managerial solutions will not 'magic away' the deep differences we have within our Church.

"The bench too will have to learn new ways of modelling and leading unity which do not bury its own diversity."

Absolutely. We need greater transparency and honesty about the fact that in the Church of England a wide diversity of views are held in good conscience.

It is not enough for 'spokespeople' to tell the media 'The Church of England believes this...' when half the Church doesn't. It is not enough for an episcopal collegiality to project a common view, when actually there are huge differences of opinion among the bishops.

It is not just a case of Bradwell and Buckingham being dissenting voices. In privacy and confidentiality other bishops confide differences so wide, and dissent from the 'official' bishops' report, that it's hard to see where things go in the future.

Whether we 'manage' a supposed 'status quo' not endorsed by many bishops and priests, in order to 'maintain unity' in the Communion; or trigger schism if compromises alienate conservative ones, the truth is that we are diverse, we are Christians, and the key issue - as Bishop David highlights here is: shall we not find love and grace to keep living and working and serving Christ alongside one another?

"We will actually need each other to make it work," complete with our 'hopes' and 'hurts', and our 'limb-breaking tensions'. In many ways, living together is maybe part of the Cross. Whether we face our own selfishnesses, or 'the devil on all our backs that would seek to pull us apart', Christian unity is so easy to break and divide but there is also the call to live alongside, in tensions, in complexities, in uncomfortable love.

Paradoxically, perhaps we grow in love and grace individually and as a Church, through this need to co-exist with one another, and always, always love and care and seek each other's flourishing.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Monday, 17 April 2017 at 11:02am BST
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