Sunday, July 4, 2010

Media engineered crisis looming?

Jonathan Wynn-Jones is a follower of a sub-branch of the Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste school. His sub-branch is the Never Let An Opportunity To Generate a Good Crisis Pass By school of journalism. So with a bit of inside info on Rev Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans, former candidate for Bishop of Reading, and "gay cleric" according to Wynn-Jones' headline, being a leading candidate for the Diocese of Southwark, he works his article up according to the school rules:

"Promoting him to one of the most senior offices in the Church would trigger a civil war between liberals and conservatives and exacerbate existing divisions within the Anglican Communion."

Wynn-Jones does mention that John is celibate. That is the bit that may prove the undoing of Wynn-Jones as a prophet. We might hope that his gratitude that we do not live in 'biblical times' knows no bounds!

John Richardson of The Ugley Vicar is an astute commentator on C of E affairs. He knows which side the bread is buttered on:

"it would be difficult to condemn Dr John’s appointment on the grounds that he is in a relationship with someone of the same sex. The Church of England accepts the existence of civil partnered clergy, and although some (including myself) may think this is a mistake, the House of Bishops has made it clear that this acceptance is based on the provision of assurances that such relationships are sexually celibate. Moreover, Dr John has (as I recall) declared that this is the case for his own relationship.

There are therefore no current grounds within the Church of England’s teaching and practice regarding Dr John’s domestic arrangements for condemning his appointment as a bishop."

This kind of thinking could mean that not only is civil war averted, but the situation never comes close to war.

That is not to say there are no problems with this appointment: John has not taught that celibacy is required of gay and lesbian Christians, and has argued in favour of there being no such requirement. Richardson canvases the difficulties in respect of this doctrinal angle on the possible appointment.

I hope and pray that the C of E follows the lead of theologians such as John Richardson and not the lead of journalists!

PS One presumes that Colin Slee, Dean of Southwark has no objection to Jeffrey John becoming his new bishop :)

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