9.2.10

Losing 'troublesome extremists'?

I have received the latest update from REFORM on the Women Bishops situation and their threat to deprive the church of their support, particularly their financial support (well, there's a surprise!). I was about to reflect on the content of their letter but scoured the web first to see that Peter Kirk has written an analysis in my stead, so without further ado, I shall point you in his direction.

I am rather more hopeful than he is at the beginning of his analysis because I do not think that a large portion of the evangelical wing of the church will jump ship if women are consecrated. I attend an evangelical theological training college (pretty conservative, on the whole) and evangelicalism seems to be alive and kicking and open to servant-leadership from both genders.

By the end of Peter's analysis, I suspect that he also thinks withdrawal will be in short number and of minimal effect.  He prefers to think of those who might leave in terms of the elimination of 'troublesome extremists'.

There is certainly a level of political polemic and veiled threat that one has come now to expect from REFORM. It is easy to lose sight of the people behind the propaganda and I have had to search myself thoroughly so that I might engage with their views with a degree of openness and attentiveness, possible once I have stifled my emotions somewhat and the evangelical hermeneutic I find persuasive, the one which I think does justice to the bigger picture perspective, the over-arching narrative trajectory, Jesus and (the much misunderstood) Pauline perspective on women.

Anyway, with schism threatened, we will wait and see whether this amounts to a boulder drop displacing gallons with tidal waves to boot or a small penny dropped and lost in the murky deep, unnoticed and losing its shine, or perhaps more appropriately, if we are talking about REFORM, a penny retrieved from the lake and re-pocketed for their purposes! Roll on July!

3 comments:

Peter Kirk said...

Rachel, thanks for the link. I should clarify that 'troublesome extremists' is not so much my own assessment of Reform as how I think they are likely to be viewed by the bishops and by most non-evangelicals, who would in fact be pleased to see them go. And indeed I think any such withdrawal will be small and have little effect - unless Rowan and the others succeed in upsetting other evangelicals so much that they decide they would prefer to join the Reform-ers.

Peter Kirk said...

Rachel, thanks for the link. I should clarify that 'troublesome extremists' is not so much my own assessment of Reform as how I think they are likely to be viewed by the bishops and by most non-evangelicals, who would in fact be pleased to see them go. And indeed I think any such withdrawal will be small and have little effect - unless Rowan and the others succeed in upsetting other evangelicals so much that they decide they would prefer to join the Reform-ers.

David Ould said...

Rachel, you make some big claims.

What is there in the latest letter from Reform members that you view as "political polemic and veiled threat"?

Also, what do you make of their last paragraph?

Finally, for those of us ordained since 1992, our understanding, in good faith, was that proper legal provision would be made for those who did not agree that women should have the overall leadership of a church (Resolution B, etc). It seems to us a matter of simple integrity that Synod should now keep its word to us in this and not force us down a road none of us wish to tread.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.