Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hand it to the English. They can play Cricket, and Compromise.

I acknowledge that on day two of the Gabba test, it is England receiving the shellacking!


First to the important things. England have handed Australia a bit of a shellacking on the first day of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. Oz 273/8 with Broad taking five wickets is a great start for England, and for Broad. The English can play cricket. They can write too. For lovers of good writing, and cricket, a fine place to head this summer is to "With Mrs Aggers on Tour", the daily blog of Emma Agnew, wife of the renowned English commentator Jonathan Agnew. (She calls her husband 'Latest' as in 'The Latest Husband' ... because it keeps him on his toes!)

Back in England, where the football season is being played out, once again with England having as little hope of winning the next World Cup as New Zealand, the smartest game in town is being played at the C of E General Synod. As Andrew Brown reports (in a largely non-nasty piece of writing),

"The overwhelming vote on Wednesday by the Church of England's General Synod in favour of the legislation for female bishops shows that it can learn from its mistakes just as a dinosaur that came up against an electric fence could learn after many years to stop leaning on it.

Although the deal is not yet done, it seems unlikely that the proposed legislation will fail between now and next summer. What is improbable is that both supporters and opponents think they have done better than they would have last November, when the house of laity failed by a tiny margin to achieve the two-thirds majority necessary to pass the legislation."

Why is this the smartest game in town? Well, as Brown points out, supporters of legislation approving women bishops will get their legislation; even better, with overwhelming support. But astutely he is also pointing out that those who would prefer not to have women bishops (but are willing to go along with the legislation) get a win in the game too.

"The core of the resistance is the conservative evangelical block, who object on grounds of straightforward patriarchy; they believe the Bible mandates that women submit to male authority.
It seems certain that one from this block will be promoted to bishop – at present there is not one of the Church's 112 bishops who shares their views. And they are confident that they can no more be forced to do anything they don't want by a female bishop than they can at present be compelled by a male one.
Above all, the more politically savvy among them understand that this compromise allows them to live and flourish another day."

It appears from Brown's report that conservative evangelicals recognised that if they did not compromise on the legislation they would have received a 273/8 shellacking at the next elections to General Synod.

'Compromise' is a very fine word, and bears much fruit in church life. It is good to see the English conservative evangelicals recognising this important ecclesiological truth. A lesser ego than my own might even suspect they have been imbibing the wisdom of ADU :)


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
We can have a comment about the situation without sweeping, generalised judgments about fellow Christians who sincerely seek to remain true to the traditional faith as handed down to them and as shared by millions of fellow Christians around the world. Thus:

"I'm glad the Anglo-Catholics have largely decided to go along with the proposed legislation, to enable women to be ordained bishops in the Church of England. I'm glad that most of them are not rushing off to join the Ordinariate out of pique.

However, one cannot say the same for 'Reform' [] who still have a problem about the dictum of St. Paul, that: "In Christ, there is neither male nor female", in their [objection to] appointing women to any position of authority in the Church.

With the 'overwhelming support' for the measure (Church Times report), it would seem that the legislation may yet allow women to be made bishops after the July 2014 G.S. meeting of the Church of England. Deo gratias!

Father Ron Smith said...

Peter, I would hesitate to agree to your opinion; that the matter of whether or not women can be ordained into the Church of England is actually a matter of 'FAITH' - in Jesus, the Trinity, or the Church's true vocation. It certainly is not an tenet of the historic Creeds - not even in the contested 39 Articles (unless Gafcon has changed them in the meantime!)

Bryden Black said...

As we both know Peter: cricket can turn and turn and turn again! A bit like CoE synod politics in fact ;)

Bryden Black said...

Even wrong decisions ...!

Peter Carrell said...

England 110/9 as I post your comments, Bryden !!

Father Ron Smith said...

I'm not sure, Peter, that ADU is quite so Con/Evo (as you call it) as the Reform type Evangelicals in the U.K. They may not be 'taking a leaf out of your book'.

There can be little doubt that - as the extreme Anglo-Catholics have gone along with the first step of movement towards the likely legislation for Women Bishops; it would seem that 'Reform' - with its 'male-Headship' demands, might yet defeat the end objective. They seem to have provided the NO votes
in the General Synod.

Now, if I'm reading your remarks correctly, I don't think you would be quite so combative on the issue of Women Bishops.

Anyway, you're obviously much more interested in cricket than the G.S. deliberations.