Sunday, 15 July 2012
I feel I should write some reflections on General Synod, but really, what is there to say? Thankfully we did what needed to be done, and now the work starts to find something that everyone can live with by November. But what we need is not merely some tweaked wording for describing what male bishops would and would not be acceptable. The whole concept of 'acceptable maleness' needs to go. What we need is something that everyone can not just live with, but fully affirm. Something that says that yes, we are all members of this Church, and we want to work together despite our differences. We musn't minimise the reality, and the importance, of those differences. Obviously, I think those who won't accept women's ordination are wrong. I find their views hurtful, as they strike at the core of my identity not just as a priest, but as a called Christian seeking to hear and follow God's vocation. And I do think they are damaging, dangerous beliefs. So yes, I hope they change their minds. And of course, they would prefer me not to be a priest in the Church of England, believing what they do. They'd rather I realised the error of my ways and changed my mind. So the question is, can we get past that impasse and find a way of working together? Not tolerating each other in carefully demarcated ghettos - there is no joy in that for anyone, only fear and mistrust. But truly accepting that we disagree, and yet working together, accepting that each is trying to follow God. It is difficult, as theology - and the correctness of that theology - is very important to many of us. But maybe we can do it. So what's my hope for November? I hope that we don't get back some begrudging tweak, some lawyer-worded attempt to square the circle yet again. I hope we don't get back something that again accidentally legitimates the opposite of the theology it is designed to enact. And I hope - really hope - that we can get to something that doesn't just command a 2/3 majority, but unanimity (or nearly!). That would be great.