12 July 2010

Women bishops

I've been following the synod debate on women bishops with a degree of frustration and exasperation! I know there isn't an easy solution which will please everyone; there never is! That's the crux of the matter. We don't all agree, and we're trying to find a way to accommodate that difference of opinion. The problem is that this gesture of goodwill, or whatever it is, was always going to fail. I'm not being hyperbolic here. I really think that we're barking up the wrong tree if we think there's a system out there which will please everyone. 
For me, the Anglican Communion is stronger for its breadth of opinion; we already disagree with others on many issues. I know this is a big issue, and I know it's complicated for many reasons, but please can we stop looking for a magic solution that neatens everything off, and accept that as the Anglican Communion is already a rough and ready affair, it will probably stay like that?
I'm not naive enough to think that it's as simple as that. I know there's a lot of detail to be discussed and negotiated, but what I'm arguing here is that the whole approach has to be different. Rather than beating ourselves up over the fact that we can't find a perfect system, let's stop looking for it. Let's just look to move on in some way; even if it's difficult and messy.
Maggi Dawn has a humbling point for those will find it difficult to stay in a church with women bishops:
This, of course, is precisely what women have also been saying for quite a long time. The “I will have to leave the church if a or b happens or doesn’t happen…” argument is a matter of conscience for all of us, but it’s not the basis for a decision. It’s impossible to create a way forward that meets everyone’s requirements; that’s precisely what the disagreement is about.

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