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.