Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Synod Vote against Women Bishops.

My facebook in posts like this and its neighbours has some immediate reaction to this vote. Here is a distillation of where I am. Where was Christ last night? I prefer to think that whilst the Synod took leave of good sense Christ metaphorically was with Heston Blumenthal and Channel Four's Fantastical Foods. He was organising the world's biggest tea party ( a feeding of the 5,000) in Darwen. People were in giant biscuit dunking competitions. People who had not seen each other for 50 years were meeting over a cup of tea. An AEC Mammoth Major vintage lorry stared. It was about the joy of fellowship and the grace that flows out of inviting people to the unexpected. It was a simple (though rather difficult to achieve) celebration of goodness around some British icons.

Evidently Church House was not on this plane. I had to watch my old friend Meg Gilley sobbing on television. At one point it can be said this was a technical vote and it will get sorted out. I sure hope so. There may be an apologia for it but it is not one most people in the land will understand. John Humphreys on Today offered a revealing insight into WHY the CoE women bishop vote hurts so much. It is because the church remains established. Were it just a sect or society we could feel outraged but not connected. It is because it actually is (and in the main wishes to be ) our church that the clear majority both in the land, in the parliament and even in the church wanted an obvious outcome and it did not happen. And it was an unholy alliance between the two extreme ends of the church in the house of laity that brought this about. Conservative evangelicals and Anglo Catholics who have spent chunks of their history dishing each other. 

Does the Church of England appreciate that it is setting itself against and repeatedly so, the settled law of the land? There should be no gender discrimination in exployment. Were the Church to be going outside the law for the sake of others, for the prisoners of conscience and the poor, it's Lord might applaud. But to poke the law of the land in the face for its own "party time" is a grievous mistake at this point in time. The same should apply to the Roman Catholic church. No church should be above the law when the issue is so blatantly self serving.

I think a majority in the CoE does appreciate where this issue sits in the land and earnestly want change (quite a lot of it). The numerous female ministers/priests I know certainly do and their twitter/facebook/blog feeds show the hurt such people feel. At a time of desperate need with not enough men willing to be ordained, women have stepped up only to discover they are not allowed the top jobs. It cannot go on, it won't go on. And when the CoE makes its change, hopefully another male dominated Christian institution will also be dragged in (doubtless with some kicking and screaming). Christ I am sure would prefer no kicking and screaming but churches open to all (including gay peoples of any gender) who want to get on with the job of preaching good news. 


robertatforsythe said...

and see Durham's Dean's view. It is not an impossible vote but it is an incredible one.

robertatforsythe said...

And the most consequential comment from the Dean Of Durham "In Tuesday’s backwash, there was an ominous symptom of attitude in the church that needs examining. We were told that General Synod will not now meet in February but only in July 2013. This is extraordinary. When the nation is in crisis, Parliament is summoned within days to consider it and guide those who have to make rapid decisions in life-threatening situations. When the Church of England is in its gravest crisis for decades, the Synod postpones its next meeting and decides that it will be sufficient to meet in 8 months’ time. "