Thinking Anglicans

more about women bishops

First, Alan Wilson has commented on the Southwark Cathedral episode, see If you want to get ahead get a hat:

…This bizarre story indicates, as has been told, that unlike previous visiting female bishops from the US, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church was banned from wearing a Mitre in Southwark Cathedral. Forrest Gump’s mum used to say, stoopid is as stoopid does, and the whole mentality of such a request, if it was ever made, is profoundly stoopid. The whole thing smacks of hypocrisy. It bears the fingerprints of blind officialdom rather than the Archbishop himself.

I’m an optimist, however, and can see positive learning from such loonery:

1. The C of E has a lot of getting real and growing up to do. Seeing the problem presented in a stark form presents a good opportunity to recognise it and resolve to do better in future.

2. All God’s promises are “yes” and “amen” in Jesus Christ, who taught his disciples to say yes or no. Anything else comes from the evil one. The Spirit has always called the church to a form of ministry that was real within the sociology of the world we serve. Therefore we respond to the Spirit’s call obediently, not half-heartedly. The Puritans used to talk about the “Devil’s Martyrs” — people who lost out all round, because they messed with Mr In-Between, depriving themselves of the advantages of being Puritans, or Libertines. Simply framing the Spirit’s call to ordain women in terms of the problems it raises is boring, weedy and faithless, as well as hypocritical…

Second, Maggi Dawn has commented on the archbishops’ intervention in the forthcoming General Synod debate on Women in the Episcopate. See The archbishops, evangelism and the status of women.

…Me? I’ve never been attracted to the bullying variety of evangelism, but neither have I ever been embarrassed to talk about the claims of Christianity, or to invite other people to check it out for themselves. I am not much of an evangelist by nature, if by that you mean someone who bangs on about Christianity in the belief that I have got all the answers. My sense of wonder, my intellectual curiosity and my genuine appreciation for the human race disallows me from wanting to think I already have all the answers: how appallingly boring that would be. But Christian theology, per se, is interesting and wide ranging if you take it seriously, and don’t allow yourself to be taken in by those who insist it has no intellectual credulity.

The more pressing problem for evangelism, it seems to me, is the ongoing debacle about women in the Church, this week of all weeks. Yesterday we learned that the Archbishops seem OK with proposing a compromise on women bishops that downgrades the status of all the women in the Church. It beats me how you can put that together with an upbeat view of evangelism. They might feel fine about evangelising people into a Church that continues to give women second class status. I do not. You don’t have to go back that many decades to find a church that disallowed people from becoming priests or bishops because of the colour of their skin, or because they had a disability. Those barriers have been broken down in the name of justice, and rightly so; no-one would dare uphold such an idea now, and even if they thought it privately they wouldn’t dare to say it out loud. It seems outrageous to me that we continue to believe that it’s OK to delay indefinitely the active acceptance of women at all levels in the Church. Its patently obvious that the world at large thinks so too, and this unacceptable injustice towards women is far more of a blight on evangelism than shyness.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
13 years ago

It seems likely that the ABs’ clarion call in the Independent is another back-up to Williams’ Pentecostal missive; their unwillingness to challenge the proven cross-border interventions can all be explained away by their devotion to evangelism in general, and, in particular, by the urgent need to ensure that the poor benighted heathens in the US can receive the Good News, or at least the Good News as amended by the ABs. Presumably the Old Catholic Church and the Church of Sweden will soon receive a visit from Canon Kearon to put them right on matters of Faith and Order, if… Read more »

William Tighe
William Tighe
13 years ago

“Presumably the Old Catholic Church and the Church of Sweden will soon receive a visit from Canon Kearon to put them right on matters of Faith and Order, if they want to carry on being lucky enough to be in communion with our ABs …”

I truly hope so. As one who has written a good deal about the Church of Sweden over the years, I think it a great shame that the Church of England is in communion with such a totalitarian organization.

13 years ago

Wow, Maggi D and Bishop Alan make me want to have a wide open common prayer across differences; Rowan Williams and Sentamu, not so much. Can a big tent Anglican life continue to exist, while RW and S are busy yelling sound bites about Jesus presupposing (except when not) a number of very extreme conservative Anglican beliefs and mores … with a heavy foot, always, right on all womens’ necks (for their own female good, too, if tradition is any guide)? Oh well, RW and Sentamu are men … they have left all that mother stuff behind. Still … sounds… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
13 years ago

“I think it a great shame that the Church of England is in communion with such a totalitarian organization. – William Tighe on Thursday –

And.. speaking of totalitarian!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x