Tuesday, June 20, 2006
[00.33 GMT] It's been a long fortnight, and I'm too tired to write very much about the good news of the election by the Episcopal Church USA of the Rt Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Bishop of Nevada, as its next presiding bishop. Forget, for a moment, all the frantic media scribbling about divisions, plots, conservatives and liberals. Here is a person of substance - a scientist married to a mathematican, a thinking Christian, a reconciler, a woman of conviction and prayer. In the short run she is probably destined to be referred to as a 'spoke in the wheel' by those who seemingly cannot accept a Gospel that breaks down the barriers that divide us - at least when it comes to the potent mixture of gender, priesthood and sexuality. In forty or fifty years time we will look back on these arguments in a rather different way, I suspect; though the churches have a long history of struggling to get the point of their calling - mistaking for orthodoxy (a right disposition of praise towards God's freeing of the world, ortho-doxology) a rather leaden institutionalisation of selected elements of the Christian tradition. In truth this has little to do with the labels that get thrown around, or even theology, and much more to do with the uneasy psychology of adapting to a world where Christian people are increasingly vulnerable rather than powerful, in the Way of Christ. To understand this, and to embrace each other and dis/agree without fear, we need guidance. And that requires Spirit-motivated people like Katharine... and, though he increasingly seems a prisoner of a dysfunctional institution, Rowan Williams. It may seem feeble to say 'bless them', but nothing greater could be asked right now. Apart from not forgetting to laugh, too. (I enjoyed penning that one).