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There are good men in the House of Bishops

Bishops at General Synod

There are some good men in the House of Bishops.

There, I said it.

With the decision of the House of Bishops to amend the draft legislation for women in the episcopate, all sorts of stuff has been written about this particular bench of bishops. Little of it complimentary.

This is the first of two posts I’m going to make about the proposed Final Approval for women in the episcopate, but before I say what I want to say about that, I want to remind myself and anyone else out there that there are some good blokes in the House of Bishops.

I can’t speak for them all. I don’t know them all. I know some of them to talk to at a fairly conversational level and have spent time learning both formally and informally from their wisdom and the way in which they live their lives. Others I know at more of a distance but still respect hugely.

Amongst others, I have the greatest respect and time for variously Rowan Williams, John Sentamu, Chris Cocksworth, James Langstaff, Steve Croft, Stephen Cottrell, Paul Bayes, Nick Baines, Brian Castle, Michael Perham, Adrian Newman and Alan Wilson. I’m sure others may be able to testify that other members of the House of Bishops are good blokes too.

For all sorts of reasons, I find my particular list of blokes to be worthy of this list for one or more of these reasons: they are thoughtful men, many are wise men, a good few are mission-minded men, all of them are men of prayer, some of them are eloquent, some of them are savvy operators, a good few are gifted leaders. I look up to them rightly, as bishops, as fathers in God.

Therefore, I think it is ludicrous to assume that those same men become bigoted chauvinistic idiots as soon as you close the doors and ask them to discuss amendments to legislation for women bishops as a House in closed session.

They are trying to do their best to lead us, the entire church, into the future God has for us.

I’m just saying…

That said, I’ll follow this up in a couple of days time, by explaining why I think Synod should reject the amended legislation for women in the episcopate.

Comments

Kerri Canepa
Reply

Not having access to the Church Times, I’m woefully behind on what’s been going on re: draft legislation. From your rather coy comments above, I’m guessing they’ve amended themselves into a corner. Perhaps bending over backward so much they’re now unable to straighten up?

In related news, in speaking with some ladies of the Roman Catholic church this past weekend, I learned a few new things. Among them is that now the RC church in America is allowing American Episcopal priests who convert to Catholicism to take over priestly duties while being married (on a case-by-case basis it seems). None of them seemed overly perturbed by this turn of events since it appears the American RC church is having difficulty recruiting enough single men to join the priesthood. I wondered aloud if this turn of events might possibly be the foot in the door for RC priests to be married at some point in the near future? That they were thoughtful about the comment (except to mention that Benedict XVI would never allow it) leads me to believe that changes may be in the wings for the RC church. Even if we’re talking a couple decades, that’s still pretty quick for them.

The CoE being somewhat younger would suggest that changes may come along more quickly, one would hope. I’m glad you have respect for the House of Bishops; I’m sure they’re keenly aware of their position. I agree with you that they’re unlikely to be radically different behind closed doors than out in the open.

Looking forward to more of your commentary.

David
Reply

Thanks Kerri. It reminds me of a story of a Catholic cardinal who was asked for his opinion on various ethical issues of the day and responded ‘ask me again in a hundred years’. They have a very different sense of timing for discernment and the voice of God. In a society that is always incredibly impatient to have things and have them now, there’s a valuable lesson to learn in there somewhere.

Tiffer
Reply

Alan Wilson isn’t in the House of Bishops, as he has been saying very loudly in the light of this.

And yes – I agree. I am worried that they didn’t see the storm coming, which does show a level of disconnect. I think repeated emphases of the fact they are an “all male” group is manifestly unhelpful, although I can see why people feel the need to point it out. But these people are servants of the gospel, and accusing their integrity and decision making abilities to be in error due to their gender demonstrates exactly the kind of prejudice we are trying to get away from.

David
Reply

Couldn’t agree more, Tiffer. Article amended to correct re: Alan Wilson.

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