Monday, January 16, 2006

Flying bishops for tea

The BBC today reports on a compromise plan to prevent the more crustacean bishops of the Church of England from leaving the church if woman bishops are introduced. Somewhat surreally the plan involves tea and flying bishops, but let's leave that for another joke. The Beeb helpfully adds: "The move to consecrate women bishops comes amid a row over the ordination of openly gay priests".

Well, yes, except that these are two pretty well distinct camps. There is a considerable overlap - those who are in favour of both, or neither ("both" outweighs "neither" in my experience) - but for the simplistic purposes of this little rant, I hold that those who have no problem with women clergy are by and large the more evangelical wing of the church, all in favour of modernisation like this, putting the prayer book into comprehensible English etc. but quite opposed to gay clergy (and hence, for ease of media reference, "traditionalist"). Meanwhile, those self-delusionists who like to believe that the whole Reformation thang was just an agreement between friends to differ, and that Jesus Christ - a man whose ministry slashed through accumulated centuries of dead dogma and who honoured and respected women in a society that treated them like dirt - could care less about the gender of his regional vice-presidents (and hence, for ease of media reference, "traditionalist"), tend to belong to the same wing as includes those of, um, progressive sexuality.

One thing that a Jehovah's Witness colleague and I can both agree on is to pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to media depictions of our respective churches. They will get it Wrong with a big Wuh.

Meanwhile, back on the Beeb site, the Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, manages to sound like a child who has unexpectedly been deprived of a treat: "Are people like me to be driven out of the Church of England or not?" He goes on: "If people want to provide for us they really do have to talk to us." Well, yes, if ...

Alternatively, we could just say, Goodbye!

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