Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Jeffrey John for Southwark?

Thought I'd say something about this story; put simply, I think it would be wonderful if John were to be appointed to Southwark.

Jeffrey John has, at (presumably) some personal cost, demonstrated what it means to obey a teaching that you do not agree with. I think we could do with more of that witness to the virtue of obedience, especially at the highest levels of the church.

It would put right a past injustice. The objections to John being made Bishop of Reading did not seem to be made with Christian charity or notions of 'bearing each other's burdens' - rather there was an attempt to force the hand of the hierarchy, which succeeded, and, in my view, gravely damaged Rowan's ministry.

Following on from that, an appointment of John would represent an affirmation of traditional Anglican inclusivity, and a rejection of homophobia. I think the charge of homophobia is easier to make with regard to John because of his celibacy - the real motivations become clearer.

Unless the motivation is with regard to his teaching re homosexuality - but then the totalitarian ideology is exposed. The spirit blows where it will, and Jesus has many more things to teach us that we can't cope with yet.

Personally speaking, I had been getting quite gloomy about the way that developments in the church had seemed to be moving, and I had started to believe that a really quite profound split was likely to take place - mainly because what I generally perceive to be the 'middle ground' in the church was seeming to be on the path to being excluded. Appointing John would, in my view, make that tremendously less likely, and, at the same time, a different split more likely. This is a selfish point really - if John were to be appointed I'd personally feel 'safer' in the CofE than hitherto.

My one suspicion - my cynical side emerging - is whether the appointment of John is designed to 'buy off' opposition to the Archepiscopal fiddle with regard to women bishops. I hope that isn't the case.

I shall follow the story with great interest, and if John is appointed, I shall cheer.
UPDATE: I thought it was too good to be true. How very depressing.

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