Judith Maltby writes in the Guardian today about the need for women bishops in the Church of England, Time for bishop’s move. She concludes:
The debate on women bishops is not, at its heart, a matter of internal governance, but about what sort of sign the Church of England wants to be to the world. How can a church which continues to bury the talents, which have been freely given to it, stand as a sign to our neighbours of God’s bounty? Will we put our trust in our “achievements” or in God’s scandalous generosity?
The talents have been given to the church by an open-handed God – a God who, contrary to our way of thinking, knows that the more grace you give away, the more there is. One hopes that, in York, the Church of England will resist the temptation to break out the shovels.
Geoffrey Rowell, who has written elsewhere this week on women bishops, write in The Times about Cassian, in Chastity of mind is the bridle of our rampaging desires. This includes the following passage:
As desiring animals we human beings are curious to know, and the old Genesis story of the fall of Adam tells how forbidden knowledge led to expulsion from the garden of innocence. It is the story of the growing up of all of us, and equally a recognition that knowledge has power for good and evil. There is promiscuous knowing as well as promiscuous relationships.
The explosion of information technology, the unfettered and unregulated “knowledge” that the internet offers, demands of us ascetic disciplines, of a piece with ancient spiritual wisdom though having new applications. To be overwhelmed by tsunamis of emails, to communicate simply at the touch of a button just because it is possible, is a modern form of unrestrained desire. We need to learn a chastity of communication, a disciplined and loving sensitivity, in this area as in many others.
Newman and the leaders of the Oxford Movement emphasised the importance of “reserve” in communication. Mystery is destroyed by over-definition, and no less through salvation by slogans. God reveals himself gradually, and the wisdom of God can only be learnt by patient pilgrimage. To know another person we have to learn to attend, to listen and to receive. So it is with the God in whose image we are made.
Two fascinating items from the USA:
A column that first appeared in the New York Times by John C Danforth Onward, Moderate Christian Soldiers.