02 October 2008

A Space for Grace or a vacuum of liberal clemency?

Contributed by Hugh Alford

When Jesus went cruising down by the quayside among those rough and hunky fisherman to groom for disciples he only came across men. This fact however clearly tells us little about our Lord’s choice of recruitment assessment centre, his preferred psychometric job profiling methodology or the gender selection imperatives of the person profile for his new priesthood.

Try as I might, I have just “not got it” when it comes to why a woman called to the priesthood is not to be respected , loved ,protected and where necessary obeyed.. For those are the duties of care we laity must give to our priests.

There is not total equality for women in the world of work but there are at least laws to fight corporate prejudice against women and gay people – thank God. Yet misogyny and homophobia are endorsed in the immunity granted the Church of England in their recruitment.

Some may feel the last five years we have been treading water but if that is the case we have not noticed the tide has been against our swimming strokes. We have been under the illusion of progress. To the observers outside the Church on land, we look as if we are going backwards. This is not say that Inclusive Church has in any way failed but maybe it is time to be more direct. The road shows are evidence of this but maybe we need to be more radical.

I know Bishop Gene Robinson told us to trust and keep holding onto hope a few weeks ago at St Mary’s Putney but consider what has happened over the last five years from a lay person’s perspective?.

Priests who wanted to be open about their relationships through a civil partnership have been sacked from the London Diocese. An Openly Gay Bishop was not invited to the Lambeth Conference hardly the actions of an inclusive church. Some appalling homophobic attacks have continued to take place with bishops just sitting on their hands.

Talented women priests continually encounter an employment ceiling of impenetrable Episcopal misogyny.

Bishops bless luxury cruise liners, pets. but can’t find it within themselves to offer Christian love to bless God’s created Gay peoples or women priests and reward talent. God’s superfluity of diversity is not considered to be holy it seems..


WWJD said...

Hello, could you kindly point me towards scripture/exegesis that supports God's Blessing of same-sex union and also the separate issue regarding women being ordained as Bishops? I believe that we ought to seek to please God with our entire being - the first commandment sums it up for me. Whilst sin gets in the way of us doing that His Grace and Holy Spirit should help us to seek to glorify His name in whatever we do. I believe that the love between homosexuals is a real and as full as between heterosexuals but is it what God planned? I also believe that women are potentially as capable as men - but again, what does God want us to do? If men are the same as women and vice versa then why make us male and female? Does equal mean the same? Take sin out of the equation and it's possible to have men who aren't chauvenists and women who aren't trying to be men. I believe that the ongoing sanctification of our saved souls is leading us to be what He wants us to be, not what the world suggests He wants us to be.

May the Lord lead us all into deeper communion with Him as we seek to share the love of Christ with the world.

God Bless.

Lesley said...


I know this is a very old blog post, but..

Romans 16:7 mentions a female apostle - Junia, and the Bible has other female leaders such as Deborah. I don't suppose it was very easy to be a woman leader back then.

As for homosexual unions, I don't think the Bible could comment on it, in the same way as it couldn't comment on the Internet - it wasn't
a possible feature of the societies they lived in at the time. The only types of homosexual relationships that were available were perhaps illicit extra-marital ones or between Romans and their slaves/servants or perhaps temple prostitution. Obviously, these were not the same as a monogamous, mutual, emotionally intimate, loving relationship between two people of the same sex.