Who has pottered by this way, then?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Sheep Thinks About Women Bishops

David Keen has put together a good set of links which are by way of a round-up of reaction to the C of E press release on the House of Bishops' decision on Women Bishops, as translated in my previous blog. I commend anyone interested in following the story to access these over at David's site. 

As my posting on this subject was merely a translation, and so many people have read my impression of what had been agreed, I thought I ought to pin my colours to the mast and share some thoughts. Here is a comment I made in a Facebook status thread which sums this up well:

"The whole thing is stupidly unAnglican, but the groundwork for this was Resolution C back in the day. This sets up a two-stream episcopacy which can't be sustainable in the long run. My position, for what it's worth, is that once you've accepted that women are fully human (which, daft as that sounds to modern ears, hasn't always been accepted historically), I can't see how you cannot ordain them on an equal basis as men. And if ordained as priest, then consecration as Bishop or Archbishop can have no barrier either. To me this is all about the incarnation: Jesus is the Word made flesh, God as human. If he died for the sins of the whole world, it is his being human that counts, otherwise he is an exemplar of men only and no women are saved. Simples (adopts meerkat pose)"

I also think that deciding only to serve under the authority of a Bishop with whom you pretty much agree is not an Anglican practice either. Frankly, it's all part of our broad church that we generally do not have whole Dioceses whose churches all represent one expression of Anglicanism. It's not always comfortable, not always entirely satisfactory, but it's generally an approach which has served us well and one which I value. I categorically refuse to be only in communion with those with whom I entirely agree. And by being so cussedly embracing of disagreement, I believe that I, along with all for whom this picture of Anglicanism rings true, am heeding the fact that Jesus' prayed that his followers should be forever one.

and so...

A Reflection
To be human is to be made in the image of God. 
To be a member of the Church is to be part of the Body of Christ. 
Christ is the Word Made Flesh who dwelt among us. 
In his resurrection, Jesus was revealed as a new creation; ground zero of humanity.
This new creation, this resurrected reality of humanity is what we are called to in Christ.

Put these statements together 
And still tell me that Christ's maleness is key to all this.
Put these statements together 
And tell me that Christ died as a representative only of men.


Christ died for the sins of the whole of humanity. 
Women's sins as well as men's,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Even so, in Christ shall all be made alive.

Aside from the priesthood of all believers,
A separately ordained priesthood and episcopacy
Can only be legitimate
If that ordination comes from God.

Vocation, not gender is the issue.
Mission and ministry 
And how God chooses to equip His Church,
And whom he calls to lead and inspire
Is what we should listen to.

Listen then:
I hear a roaring still small voice
Explaining patiently yet firmly
That Christ died for all,
And among all for whom he died
Will the work of His kingdom be shared
According to gifts and vocation.
Not according to gender,
Not according to race, class or culture;
Not according to anything other
Than the humanity we share with our Saviour
And those aspects of his image and nature which,
Reflected in us, in the power of the Holy Spirit
Equip us to serve, lead,
And find our role among his Church.


  1. With you as you guess on this one, time to stop the abuse of females as they attempt to serve.
    I became a Christian in the 1970's and took myself off to Methodism as they ordained women and the Anglicans did not. Time for the ♀to align themselves with a more sympathetic community? If the separatists wish to align with Rome touche.

  2. Thank you so much for this. My head hurts with all the sophistry I've read in the past couple of days. What I like about this (apart from the fact that I happen, personally, to agree with it) is that I can actually understand it - and I think most people could!

  3. I agree with every word of this (though I could do with out the meerkat reference!). Thank you for your logical and succinct analysis.