28.10.10

Meanwhile back on planet earth...


They're changing things at General Synod
It's all going down rather well with Reform
Rod says we must still be on our guard
"A Con Evo's life is terribly hard",
Says Rod.

They're changing things at General Synod
Fulcrum responds with some thoughts through Elaine
"We have more of our sort sitting in the box
The grass-roots are flowering so take off your socks,"
Says Rod.

They're changing things at General Synod
Church Mouse is suspicious and fueling the blogs
Rod might be confused in his numbers game.
"Well, God take care of him, all the same,"
Says Mouse.

They're changing things at General Synod
A 2/3 majority or not is the thing.
They've great big parties inside the grounds.
"I wouldn't be Rowan for a hundred pounds,"
Says Alice.

They're changing things at General Synod
All soon to gather in Lambeth Palace.
A face looked out, but it wasn't Rod's.
"He's much too busy a-signing things,"
Says Alice.

They're changing things at General Synod
Christopher Robin looks on and picks up the news,
"Do you think the Church care a hoot about me?"
"Sure to, dear, but it's time for tea,"
Says Alice.

The latest letter from Reform expresses hopes that the elections bode well for
them. They believe that the 2/3s majority needed for the election of Women Bishops is looking unlikely. They are also planning to set up a 'Religious society' inside the church of England for the 'many who remain firmly opposed to the idea [of Women Bishops], because the Bible says that there should be different roles for men and women both in the family and the church.'


Meanwhile over at Fulcrum, a more nuanced, generous and intelligent response has been penned by Elaine Storkey saying that:

"It is in the readiness to hear the Bible through the presentations of others that understanding is developed. It is in the listening and weighing up of the argument where decisions are best made. It is in the openness with which we concede that none of us has the whole truth, for that belongs to God alone, that humility and generosity begin to flourish...No-one has yet fully heard why many of us, who hold a high view of Scripture, feel compelled to open all the offices of the Church to the full participation of women, because we have not had chance to explain it."

Before Tom Wright retired to lecture at St Andrew's, he encouraged us to have the debate too. 

So it could be an interesting few years ahead.

7 comments:

The Church Mouse said...

Possibly the best thing I've seen a blog for quite some time!

Rach said...

Honoured Church Mouse
Thank you very much.

Revd John P Richardson said...

Hm. Elaine Storkey presents "a more nuanced, generous and intelligent response" - no bias there, then!

I have two immediate comments to make on Elaine's piece. First, if (as she writes), "The real work [of General Synod] goes on in the interaction of those who disagree, in the exposure of people to views and outlooks which are different from their own," then I trust she and many others are willing to change their minds on this issue - at very least to making better provision for opponents.

Secondly, if (as she again writes), "No-one has yet fully heard why many of us, who hold a high view of Scripture, feel compelled to open all the offices of the Church to the full participation of women, because we have not had chance to explain it," (a) what in heaven's name have she and others been doing for the last twenty years and (b) how can the Synod of Church that is governed by Scripture possibly vote for something where we've not yet heard the arguments?

That'll do for now.

Rach said...

I was comparing the Reform Press Release with the Fulcrum statement through Elaine - Elaine's is those things I suggested, I think.

I think that the listening is improving, such things as the Awesome/Reform conference probably go to prove this, however there is also a lot more to discuss as you indicate.

The Synod of the church is governed by Scripture...emmm, ideally yes, from an evangelical perspective, however, Hooker's three-legged approach must be reigning there too, Anglo-Catholic tendencies toward tradition and liberal appeals to contemporary social mores... I wonder how much the decision to appoint women to the episcopate is argued from scripture and I suppose this is what evangelicals feel passionate about. Can those who sometimes seem to present themselves as the only ones governed and in submission to God's Word have the debate with those who feel that their view of the scriptures is as high but see in it there reasons for women's consecration? I suspect they can. We are always going to have to venture into hermeneutics, the church has been doing this for 2000 years, let's hope it continues to do so but also has the courage to implement what the Word and the Spirit seem to be telling it - a majority is in favour of women's consecration, despite Rod's number projections... if we consider that the church has already ordained women, it must have had these debates...ultimately it might all come down to one little Greek word beginning with K, there are whole heaps of theologians on each side making cases for their interpretation... ultimately it is going to have to be a 'grace-thing' and I guess we're all struggling for what that grace might look like on the ground.

Revd John P Richardson said...

Rachel, you wrote, "if we consider that the church has already ordained women, it must have had these debates". But Elaine wrote, "There are still a large number of issues to be thought about and resolved. We still need a more thorough debate on theology ..."

And yet she is committed to women bishops and counts herself amongst those who "fully support the Women Bishops’ Measure as it stands" (my emphasis).

This doesn't make sense to me.

Rach said...

Rachel, you wrote, "if we consider that the church has already ordained women, it must have had these debates".

I did write that but there are still debates to be had as Elaine says because there are many people whose consciences allow for women leading churches but feel challenged by the idea of a woman bishop, as they see it (you know all this) they still feel a woman leading a church is under the male headship of a bishop...

I can not speak for Elaine and how she sits with things but surely if we were not in a position of needing to debate things more thoroughly we would also be in the position of a more peaceable church or is it that the devil is always going to find something over which he can cause disunity (ah that's the musings of a person who has just preached this morning on the sixth petition of the Lord's prayer).

Thank you John.

As I said perhaps evangelicals need to debate headship but then as you will also know they are and there are interesting arguments on both sides.

I suggest that the minority listen to the majority on this issue trusting that God is speaking through them.

If in doubt apply the Gamaliel test....?

I see the heavens opened and a huge sheet being
let down by its four corners. In the sheet are bishops of all kinds, male and female....;-) You can not push this analogy too far ;-)

Revd John P Richardson said...

Rachel, I have now posted a full-length critique here.

I also sent a notice of it to Elaine (though I had to use Facebook to do it - not the best way, I know).

So far, I stand by what I said: that is Elaine is right then, far from proceeding with the proposed legislation on women bishops, all evangelicals who feel there is a need for more debate ought to be ensuring that the debate happens first.

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