Comments: women bishops: further reports

The article by Christina Rees expresses what I feel most Anglicans around the world are feeling at this moment about the actions of certain conservative Anglo-Catholics - as well as those in the Evangelical movement who are against the ordination of women to the episcopate.

Christina has this to say:

"At times I feel that some in the church are operating with a theology of paucity, instead of with an understanding of a God of infinite abundance"

One cannot but agree that the climate of fear being perpetuated by the anti-women activists - especially those like the Bishop of Fulham, in his recent speech to Forward in Fath - is nothing less than a call to the bunkers - rather than a response to an invitation to preach the Gospel.

Surely an openness to what the Holy Spirit might be saying to the Church in this time of crisis might just be: "Fear not, I am with you always - even unto the end of the world" . These words of Jesus to the first disciples were indicative of the fact that, though the going might be tough, and not always proceeding in the direction we might be most comfortable with,we need to carry on with the inclusive task of 'opening the kingdom of Heaven to ALL believers' - not just those who necessarily think as we do, but, as we affirm in the Baptismal rite: 'everyone whom the Lord our God may call'

The Church is nobody's fiefdom. Nor is the task of ministry the sole domain of hetero-sexual males. If it had been, there would have been lots of gaps in its clerical orders over centuries of its history.

The culture of fear that is being stimulated by the likes of Bishop Broadbent and Mister Sugden is no less than an attempt to smother the light of the Gospel of inclusiveness. Jesus told his disciples not to fear, whatever happened, he would neither leave them nor forsake them.

Fear is the enemy of the Evangel, and 'Forward in Faith' needs to get rid of its image which some are now calling -'Backward in despair'.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 11:27am BST

"nothing less than a call to the bunkers"

Isn't it always? If we ordain women, we lose the assurance of Grace, if we are nice to gays, not only will the Gospel die, but Western society will degenerate into anarchy, families will disintegrate, and they seem to think that, homosexuality being so attractive for heterosexual males, the majority of the world's men will turn gay in an instant and there will be no reproduciton of the human race.

"Jesus told his disciples not to fear, whatever happened, he would neither leave them nor forsake them."

Exactly. Which is why I see big weakness of faith in the conservative position. That does not affect the rightness or wrongness of thier position, but it certainly shapes their behaviour. It forces them to identify an enemy, those who disagree with them, to demonize and lie about that enemy, to scheme against that enemy, and to single our one particular group, gay people, for the worst of those attacks. You are right that fear is the enemy of the Evangel. It has certainly suppressed any overt witness to the Evangel in the lives of conservatives.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 1:58pm BST

The newish church life Anglican inclusion movement arises out of the long-standing church life gospel failures - including imprisonment and church-sanctioned tortures in our long history - of queer folks. Just as the newish womens movements arise out of the long-standing failures of bishops protecting a Status Quo to take any reliable care of women and children, say, in the abuse scandals. Our church life family becomes a prison when it stops breathing and changing and adapting itself. Duncan or Akinola or Orombi do not own Jesus kingdom feast oxygen, Jesus Risen is that oxygen.

How very, very odd that the same believers who preach how unique and special a mother's love and parenting is, cannot work their insight through to see how partial and inadequate having only men as priests or as bishops is. Bravo to the self-serving manner in which all the counter-arguments pat themselves on the back too soon for having clevely avoided working through the idea by careful presuppositional tricks to make one preachment apples and the other one, oranges.

In any case, as a progressive Anglican believer I have no interest in barring conservative believers from common worship - but I am less and less and less willing than ever, to skew and tilt and diminish all the targeted others (now at the hot button moment mainly women and queer folks and unbelievers?), just to keep such believers happy and uncontaminated.

Clue: traditionalists are already sufficiently contaminated, by existing with the rest of us in the modern world so full of starving children, genocide, trash talk campaigning, war, and climate or species meltdowns. Those who are so very concerned to display the spotlessness of all their alleged utterly traditionalistic credentials are indeed fooling around carelessly with Jesus' living and blessed gospel, no matter what presuppositional spin they put on their own preached possession of special purities and faithfulness. If I must choose between, say, Christina Rees and Akinola, well I choose Rees. But I challenge the preachments that I have to choose or else, to remain Anglican.

Posted by drdanfee at Wednesday, 22 October 2008 at 8:54pm BST
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