The choice is between true worship and mass hallucination

Where are you going to die? When the moment of your death arrives, are you going to be sitting in front of your television screen? Or are you going to be kneeling before the altar that has a cross on it? Are you going to be in church, absorbed in the worship of God in the presence of all generations of his saints? Are you going to be sedated and speechless before the shrilling puppet show of the media? Which is for you, the true liturgy of God by which all creation is remade and redeemed, or the counterfeit liturgy within which all life is faked? Which liturgy is yours? Which liturgy do you belong to?

As long as we turn on the television and watch this media output we offer our homage to the founders our media empires. As long as we sit before the screen, and let this torrent run over us, they are happy. We are sedated and rendered harmless. We inhabit the world they have constructed for us so we share in the great hallucination. We live on the reservation created by media and entertainment industries, in the cage they have erected around us, made happy by confinement within the park assigned to our age-group.

We might as well erect a little bust of these media moguls and put them in the place of honour above the television. To watch the output of the their media empire is to adore all the products of their imagination, and so to honour them as head of our household. Of course each television and each screen displays the images and idols that show us what we want to be, while the voices tell us what we want to hear. Just as the Romans kept figurines of generic ancestors in alcoves and cabinets, so we enjoy figurines that flicker and move across the screen which each of us keeps before us, or behind which each of us hides. There we are content to live an ersatz life, lived through the perpetual of human types, each Punch-and-Judy show keeping us fixated and secure. We might as well offer our media masters a pinch of incense and venerate them as our own ancestors and, as the authors of all possible outcomes conceivable for us, as the Fates. Unless you pray to the God who made you and gives you a voice, that is.

Despised man, slave man, New Man

We have suppressed our men. The result is that our daughters have no men to protect them, and our cities are becoming unsafe for them. We have left them exposed to the predations of a Dark Age cult, who see the English female as a free meal. They sense our fear. They notice our ludicrous self-censorship and it makes them bolder. They push forward to find the point at which we stop making concessions to them. They cannot find it. We appear to give everything away. They discover that the police do not want to touch them and so that law does not really apply to them. They are amazed at our weakness. They rightly regard the forces of our state as utterly feminised. These forces are never employed to defend our borders, our laws or ourselves. They are only used to slap down anyone who points this out. Where will we make our stand?

To have mercy on the members of this Dark Age cult, as well as on all who are intimidated by it, we will have to make our stand. We will have to stop denigrating and abasing our men, and let them rediscover their vocation in protecting and providing for their women. The Gospel summons them and raises them to their feet again, gives them their respect and opportunity to serve. This is how we will become a strong society again, strong enough to resist the cult, which is the best thing we can do for all those captive to it. Only the Christian gospel turns men into men.

Upholding the law under fire

The problem of the British is only that they don’t not realise that this envy and rage are directed against them, and they do not take any steps to defend themselves. Our political culture and institutions seem incapable of recognising their opposite, or of recognising that they have enemies and must defend themselves against them. The institutions of our government, the judiciary in particular seem incapable of acknowledging that these insults and assaults may not be simply individual criminal acts, but political and ideological acts, directed against us as a society. Each attack attempts to weaken our society by detaching each individual from its protection, so that our society no longer identifies with any individual the savages set upon. Each attack on an individual is also an attack on our law and our national cohesion.

Our government does not yet want to acknowledge that these are not random individual acts of criminality, but deliberate attacks on our law, political culture and our identity. Many people do see what all these individual attacks have in common and point out that they are not simply many individual incidents but a concerted attack on all of us. And this is of course what the representatives of the Slave Cult themselves are telling us, that each attack must be understood as part of the campaign by which they intend to replace our law with theirs. The greatest problem at the moment is that the media have so far failed to challenge the government account and ask whether it is mistaken. The greatest failure is always the failure to tell the truth, or to allow the conditions within which the truth can be heard in public.

The police not enforce the law against the criminal manifestations of the slave cult. But they do enforce silence on whoever points out the criminal manifestations of the cult. We can only reply that it is our duty as citizens to report crime to the police. We can only ask the police to uphold the law. We can remind them that they are officers of the law. We can tell them that we are all equal under the law, that no one is above the law, that there is no special group that may not be criticised, challenged or offended. We hold all officers of the law and public servants accountable. We stand outside police stations, courts and the offices of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to remind to those who work there of the responsibility of public office and the absolute nature of justice. Justice is impartial, we can say. There is an impartial judge, he is the source of law and arbiter between all men. We worship him, and by doing so we defy all other powers.

The Church appoints some men but no women to the role of bishop 6

Part Six – The Representative Male

Jesus is the first born son. Jesus is male. Anybody who stands in the great passion play of a Christian worship service represents Jesus. But in order to do so, they must also be male. If they are female, we could only suppose that they are Mary or one of the women who follow the Lord and who stand at the foot of the cross. These women, even more than the male disciples, gaze at the Lord, and we are able to follow the direction of their gaze. You can see this if you look at any of the images in the windows of any church. You can tell which of these figures is Jesus by following the gaze of those around him. If a woman is situated in the middle of the image, she is Mary, the mother of the Lord, gazing down at her infant. If women are situated on one or both sides, looking at the male figure in the middle, that figure is Jesus. That’s how we identity him. From the context we can guess that she is Mary Magdalene, or they are Martha and Mary, or the woman taken in adultery. In any of the scenes portrayed there may be crowds of people, but we can guess that the person they are all looking at is the Lord just because they are all looking at him.

The job of a disciple is to point to Jesus. The apostles serve us just by doing this. John the Baptist has often been portrayed pointing, with one finger stretched out towards the Lord. They are showing us which member of the crowd is Jesus. There are many people standing around. How do we know which one is Jesus? We know because of the posture and stance of the disciples; their body language us tells us where to look. Their gaze focused ours. And in the church service, we are all performing the same role for the watching world. The world is looking at us: we help it by looking at Jesus. We are all looking the same way, towards the Lord, who stands at our head. One male Christian stands before us, while others, the servers, stand on each side of him. They frame him; they are our viewfinder; just as the cherubim hover the throne of God, just as the angels sat on either side of the empty tomb, so the servers stand each side of Christ so we can see him for who he is. There may be two servers or many; just as there may be two angels or many, two or three disciples or thousands upon thousands of worshipping Christian saints. This is what we see. This is the vision before us. For other people, arriving after us, who first see us and then see who we are looking towards, we are part of this vision.

Perhaps it is because Protestants have shunted Mary off that the only figure visible before them is Jesus – alone – without any of his company around him to point him out to us. The result is this desire to stand in Jesus’s place rather than Mary’s, and so to be female priests.

But what about women? Doesn’t a female Christians have the same rights to stand at the front and represent Jesus while the congregation represent the disciples? No. She doesn’t. No Christian has rights. No male Christian and no female Christian has rights. In the Church no one talks about rights. That is just not how we think. We talk only about grace, and we say that grace has picked us up and now enables us to slowly following, learning and imitating Christ’s action towards us, and enabled by his grace, we do so by reproducing that action towards other people. We don’t say anything about rights. And so we never claim that anyone has been left behind, or set back, because some right has been denied. ‘If I am generous, are you envious?’, asks the master in the parable of the workers in the vineyard (Matt 20.15). It is the particular charism of everybody to follow, to be in the body, to look to the head, but not to stand at the front as Jesus.

When a male stands at the front, he can represent a male, and since Jesus is male, he can represent Jesus. Why is this? It is because the sexual dimorphism of human beings into male and female are given by nature, and so is part of the whole package of creation presented to us by God. It is God’s work, and God’s gift to us. The gift is not for us to spurn. It is for us to discover how it is good, and how the enables lots of good things to unfold. The sexual dimorphism found in nature is not unfortunate and it is not a mistake, and so is not something we have to correct or override or abolish. By attempting to do so we could only frustrate human flourishing. What form this differentiation of roles takes is worked out by each man and woman in their marriage together.  But resentment at the thought that there is some such differentiation is a failure of gratitude and an unhappiness that spills out into endless failures to allow other people to be different from us, and from their difference to provide for us what we cannot provide for ourselves.

The gift and the envious

The British have in their possession a vast political, legal and cultural gift. They have received a legacy that is deep and wide. It has as much future as it has past. But this makes them the objects of the envy and resentment of other people. These other people do not tell the British people how great this legacy is or how lucky they are. Rather they do whatever they can to obscure this fact. They mock what they envy. They charge the British with imagined offences, and many young people foolishly listen and believe that the blame is theirs. The British do not realise that is envy and rage that motivates other people, and that we must recognise the enmity of those who despise us. They never concede how great this legacy is or reveal any desire for it, even though their criticism of it are dependent on it. They impose on themselves the curse they suffer. They are their own enemy, and they wish to spread their unhappiness, and so they are our enemy too.

This is why we pray  …..

Lord, bring all that have erred, and been deceived, into the way of truth. Strengthen those who stand; comfort and help the weak-hearted; raise up them that fall and in your mercy finally beat down Satan under our feet. Lord, forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and turn their hearts. Give us, with them, true repentance; forgive us our negligence and sin, and give us grace, by your Holy Spirit, to live our lives according to your holy Word.

The Church appoints some men, but no women, to the role of bishop… 5

Part Five      What does a bishop bring?

The local church is the whole Church in that place. Singly and together, those Christians are witnesses and worshippers of Christ, and even if they are two or three, even if they are just one single Christian, the Lord makes their witness good, true and effective.  That church is part of the communion of saints, made holy by the Holy Spirit, who enables it to pray and to ask for gifts, insight and power required for its witness to the world around it. And the Lord supplies it with what it needs and asks for. He sends it persons from churches near or far, who bring those gifts.

A bishop is a missioner sent by other churches to us, in particular sent to us by Christians of other earlier generations, that is, from the churches of the past. This missioner s responsible for our re-supply. He has to point out where we are compromised and weak, where our gospel is skewed, where some aspect of our witness seems to be missing. He has to refer us again to the Scriptures, and to the whole back catalogue of Christian experience of all the saints, martyrs and teachers of the Church who open Scripture to us and present from it that insight that we had neglected.

So this missioner comes to us to bring us whatever we lacks, and whatever we require to pass on to the world around us. He comes to us as out of the past or the future, from any time but our own, and he brings with him whatever our own time needs. His job is to keep the Church directed toward whatever will keep our society going, what will enable it to produce a new generation, and equip that generation for life.

So the question of bishops is not a minor and insignificant one. The bishop is sent to open each church to the whole gospel so the Church can open the nation to life.  What the bishop is to the local church, so the church is to the nation. The question is whether the present generation can bear to hear any voice but its own, whether it can bear to admit its own mortality and concede that it must pass on the life that it has received and be glad. All issues of the ministry of the Church are simply about the transmission of life, both biological life and cultural, which results from the grace of God.

So these truths not only get our intellectual assent, but they are manifest in the way we gather and meet and arrange ourselves, in such a way that the watching world can see that we are witnesses to the value and complementarity of men and of women. We wait for one another, we suffer, put up with one another. Christians undergo a passion, in which our desires are frustrated, and we wait, while what doesn’t belong to us is stripped away.  The very form of Christian assemblies show that men wait and women wait, and we do so because we look forward to what we do not yet have.

The bishop is the missioner from all churches to this particular church, and from all generations to this present generation. Since the missioner has this commission, I suppose you could call him a commissioner. You could equally call him an apostle (since he is sent), or an overseer, inspector, supervisor, or a chairman, president or moderator. It is as if there is just one very large panel or college of these missioners, which selects the men to send to each local church. We need not ask whether these are Roman Catholic or Orthodox or Anglican or any other denomination, for each of these bishops is representative of the whole unchanging worldwide Church.

When they do not hear what the Church says, the leaders and opinion-formers of our nation become merely representatives of, and advocates, for the present adult generation. They assert the rights of this generation over the hopes of generations past and to come. Only the Church represents generations other than this present one, and so advocates for the future generation. Only the Church is dedicated to such long-term inter-generational communication, the transfer of gifts up and down the line of human generations, for Christians are witnesses of the communion of saints that God sustains through time.

So the bishop must bring to the church here and now all the insight of the Church of all ages and places. He must bring the future into the present, and remind the present church to keep itself open to the future. The Church must remind the present generation to keep itself open to what is new, and to the hope of its renewal. Only someone who advocates to us for generations other than our own can help us. Only this figure can enable each local church to receive and to pass on the whole deposit of faith, and so give to the nation the whole vast account of human flourishing that the Church has received from God.

Nothing says more clearly that the present hierarchy of the Church of England is not interested in remaining part of the Great Church, than that they put a woman forward for the office of bishop.  The figure who stands for continuity is replaced by another figure representing a complete break with all previous witness and ministry. Such a self-contradictory figure owes nothing to the  generations of Christians who passed on the gospel with the scriptures, and us the worship and teaching, who remained faithful through all opposition and persecution, and through centuries of tyranny that continue today. They communicate only their own wilfulness, ignorance and confusion. But when they are challenged and discover they cannot give adequate reasons for the break they have made, they become strident and it becomes clear that their loyalty is to power rather than to the Lord.

The present hierarchy does not appear concerned for the churches of Africa, Asia or South America, for whom missing male leadership results in loss of civil society and peace, and female and child poverty. It assumes that previous generations of the Church and churches in other parts of the world had no reasons, or no good reasons, for ordaining men to service in the Church so that men could serve women, and women could be secured and emancipated by that service. The message of our present hierarchy is that there is nothing for men to do, there is no real significance to the role of man, that their contribution is not wanted, and that men can take themselves off, as they are now doing, into depression and addiction, dependency and violence. But when the opportunity or hope of leadership is taken away from men, the consequent tribalism and totalitarianism are suffered by men and women alike.  

The moment the Church starts ordaining women to the role of priest, and even more of bishop, the Church stops being the Church. Suddenly the nation has no one to bring it insight and encouragement from other generations. Then our totalitarians don’t have anyone who can stand up to them, because, apart from the faithful Church, no one has the conceptual resources by which to do so. Our totalitarians have a clear run, and women are suddenly very vulnerable.

A ‘woman bishop’ could be bishop only in the Cult of the Present Generation. This is the generation so afraid of what it has received, and so unable to take the risk of love, that it has closed itself off from all other generations and no longer wishes to live. For this generation’s sake, the Church must stand against this generation. It must continue that unchanging Church, one, holy, catholic and apostolic faithful to the gospel, to the form of ministry and to the commission that it has received.

The Church appoints some men, but no women, to the role of bishop… 4

Part Four – Misconceptions of Equality and Rights

The concept of rights brings us to a concept of self-determination and of human will without definition or limit in conflict with nature and culture, and that irrationality results from overreliance on the concept of equality.

If there is perfect equality, nothing will ever happen, for perfect equality is perfectly static. There is equality, but it is not static or absolute. It is dynamic and intermittent. Here’s an analogy. When we look at you standing there we see a magnificent example of human being, standing upright, your weight on your two legs equally. Let us say that one leg represents the male half of humanity and the other the female. As long as you are still there is a perfect equality between them. But humanity has things to do, and so cannot just stand there. You are on the move, and as you do your weight transfers from one leg to the other. With every step one leg pushes off and the other absorbs the impact of the ground. In any snapshot there is no equality between the male and the female side, for at any moment each is doing the inverse of the other, each acting for, and compensating for the action of, the other. As long as you are walking you are out of balance, one leg extended, the other bent, so there is no moment of settled equality. Men and women can be perfectly equal as long as nothing has to happen. But humanity has to act, to provide and care for itself, and to care for the next generation, so humanity is on the move. There is reciprocity, mutuality, complementarity and, at instants, equality. But the demand that equality between men and women be achieved and so finally established is a device to throw Christians off their way, for it is a concept that cannot bear a world that is not static, and a static world is a dead one.

Humans are mortal. We exist in time, we grow old, we give way to those younger than ourselves, and then we are gone. We may, or may not, discover that all the fun of life consists in passing life on, in serving others and preparing them to take our place. If it is to continue, the human race has to bring new generations into being. If our generation decides that it doesn’t care much about the human race, that it doesn’t want to pass its life and its culture on to another generation, it won’t. It appears that many of our contemporaries don’t care to have children, and our most vociferous ideologists don’t care to pass on the culture we inherited. Our generation has decided not to bother with having babies at replacement rate, so left to ourselves, our population would slowly reduce in size. No problem there, except that we are never left to ourselves. For even those who have no children of their own wish to be looked after, and so our national economy draws in young people from other cultures, with no concern for equality between the sexes, or which are even determined to root it out. The paradox is that those opposed to the idea of children of their own are dependent on the offspring of cultures who are quite ready and willing to replace them and to replace their views with views diametrically opposite. This childless world of our ideological classes is being pushed aside by other societies that keep women in a subordinate role, producing children without any concern for freedom, consent or self-control, or for economic or ecological sustainability.

The debate about equality between men and women is now trumped and rendered irrelevant by the concept of transgender. If I am a man and you are a woman, you may fairly charge me with acting unjustly toward you by failing to treat you as my equal. But if I am a man and you are a woman, but I declare that I am transgendered and am now therefore a woman as much as you are, I give you no recourse. I have undermined even your ability to charge me with acting unjustly and so have undermined the possibility of justice between us.

Transgender is one of a number of issues that show the irrationality and confusion, and consequent unhappiness, that arise when traditional Christian concepts and arguments are not presented because Church leaders are not familiar and with them or confident of them. All Christian conceptuality and reasoning is intended to be employed by the Church in its public witness to protect our societies from the totalitarianism to which they are always vulnerable.

The Church appoints some men, but no women, to the role of bishop… 3

Part Three     Equality and the demands of love

Equality between men and women is a major aspect of justice and central to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This equality is an expression of our faith and of our hope. We yearn for it, work for it, but always have to point forwards towards it. It is not our present possession, and will only made complete in our redemption.

The Church is sent to the world to bring it the whole blessing of God. So we Christians are sent to our contemporary British society, as witnesses to all that contributes to its true well-being.

The Church is able to give this witness because it passes on what it has received, from the Lord, and from all the many generations of Christians whom the Lord has sent to us. It tells our generation what is unchangingly true and good, so that our society may flourish. Amongst these are two complementary truths: one is that men and women (and every human being, of every status and station) are equal, and of equally incomparable value.  The second is that, in order that each generation prospers, it must prepare for and give way to the next generation. In order to do this, there is a proper functional asymmetry and inequality. The Church witnesses simultaneously to an eternal equality and to a provisional functional inequality. In marriage it has always encouraged men and women to agree freely on this relationship of provisional inequality within ultimate equality, first for the sake of each other and then for the sake of their children. These two people, man and woman, may defer and subordinate themselves to each, and both of them together deferring and subordinating themselves to the children they bear. In this covenant, in confidence of their eternal equality, they may leave equality aside and take a demotion in order to serve and promote their children over themselves. They may do this willingly, in freedom, because they wish to, and because they can see the good and the happiness it may bring about.

The Church has always said that there cannot simply be perfect equality in time, because Generation One has to give way, willingly, to Generation Two. Only when Generation One has passed life on to Generation Two can the children of Generation Two, now adult, look back and recognise that their parents were indeed their equal. Our parents are our equal because they subordinated themselves to us, lowering themselves in order to raise us. Then the challenge for us is to become their equals, by lowering ourselves in turn in order to raise a new generation. Between generations equality is an emergent, not a static, quality.  In the course of this great inter-generational transmission, in certainly does feel, to women in particular, as though there is not much justice or equality about it, since childbirth and child-rearing are draining, isolating and always undervalued. But we Christians praise those who go through it. We tell anyone who will listen that it is central to the flourishing of our society and to our happiness as individuals. Many of our contemporaries have been so afraid of the loss of status that child-rearing involves that they have not had families of their own, and have constructed ideological justifications of this. They have robbed themselves of happiness, robbed the next generation of confidence in its ability to love, and made our society much less sure of its own worth.  We have given our children less than we received from our parents, so equality between generations has suffered because one generation has made an idol of equality between sexes.

The Church assures each generation that blessing comes through passing on life. We tell them, and show them, that vulnerability and apparent loss of status are not a permanent or real loss, but are the way that real gains come. We point out that our confidence in this eternal equality enables us to let go of some of the present appearances of equality, and make our descent into a provisional inequality. The Church demonstrates the asymmetry between the sexes that enables one generation take the steps – ‘make the sacrifices’, we used to say – to bring a new generation into being. The Church gives this witness against all attempts by the world to turn equality (or any other such good) into an idol. When equality is made absolute, male and female are rendered not just mirror-images, but identical and indistinguishable. Then neither has any need of the others, or any reason for seeking or loving another person. When its members doubt their ability to love, to be patient and vulnerable, that society as a whole stops taking the risk of love and mutual service, and ceases to sustain itself with children of its own. The Church must address this with compassion and clarity, as ever pointing to what is unchangingly good and true. When a society is dissolving, the Church must do the opposite. For their sake, we must hold firm. We must give our contemporaries all the truth we have received from all previous generations of the Church.

That is why the Church in its ministry give public witness of the goodness of functional inequality, just as much as it witnesses to the goodness of equality. It ordains people from one sex but not the other. One sex has to serve, the other to be served. This is the very conspicuous way in which the Church has insisted that love and mutual service are what make us human, and that it is only some indefinable difference between sexes that makes such love and service possible. The Church has always said that there are roles which men and only men can and should perform for women (and for the young and the old, the next and the previous generation), and which women can and should perform for men (and for the young and old, the next and previous generations). By God’s grace, each sex can allow the other to serve it.

Some of our contemporaries believe that both men and women now have to do and be everything for themselves, and leave the other sex with nothing to do or to offer. For their sake, we disagree. We say that men and women may to look to each other, wait for each other, and continue in their need. Love must always remain vulnerable. The Church is witness to the mutuality and complementarity of sexes, for this is part of the way in which God has given us to one another, to neighbour and to stranger. We are enabled by God to love, and do so even when no love is returned. We may love in patience, always conceding that person’s freedom to refuse to respond or recognise our value and our equality with them. We are witnesses of love, which cannot be nagged or coerced. This is the very good reason why the Church has always taught this, and not only teaches but demonstrates it in its ministry by ordaining only men to serve, and teaching the rest of us to be content to be served by them.

The Church appoints some men, but no women, to the role of bishop… 2

Part Two – Why Clergy?

Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them… Any Christian gathering, small as much as large, is a valid worshipping and witnessing community. It is not a fraction of some greater entity. It is not a subdivision or shopfront for some global institution. It is the whole of the whole in that place. It is fully supplied by the Holy Spirit, and so fully able to be the body of Christ in that place.

So why does this local church need a bishop? Why do we need clergy?  Why do we need a priest? Let us start with the issue of the clergy.

The point about clergy is that they have been given the skill of reading and of writing. Clergy are clerks. They read. A reader is someone who read aloud to a group of people listening. Earlier Christians practised memorising, and so they developed their powers of recall. They not only listened to what was read, but they intended to memorise it so that they could reproduce it when there was no book and no reader available. This is how we should read the Scripture in our service, slowly and deliberately enough that others can commit it to memory. What is read is also expounded so that its sense becomes clear.

Our clergy read books. By reading books they have access to a time other than the present. The past is a walk-in storeroom, and reading is the key to the door. As they read they are mining different lower strata of Christian experience, strata that are out of reach of most of us most of time. They trawl through the records of other centuries and come up with things that we have never seen before. We learn that previous generations of the Church valued practices that we don’t immediately see the point of, but which we should note, in case we ever need them. If we read about them, perhaps we would find out why earlier generations of Christians insisted on the goodness of practices, like fasting and celibacy, which we assume we can do without. The reader is the man who comes out of his storeroom bearing treasures old and new. Old treasures may be new to us, but bring exactly the experience and insight we need now.

If you can read, you can do what earlier generations of clergy hoped to do, to bring out of store resources which may be useful either now or in the future. If you read what other generations wrote down for you, you have something to give your own church. But you have nothing to bring your fellow Christians if you do not bring it supplies from earlier generations. The contemporary church has nothing to offer the world if it does not bring it news from other generations. If we confine ourselves within the mind-set of our own generation, and we elect ourselves officers who are equally confined, how will we help each other and how will they help us? Why do we need them, if they can only contribute what we all already know?

So it is the job of every Christian to encourage one another, and in particular to encourage the clergy, to read the books written by other generations and so to discover what they intended to communicate to us. We must encourage our clergy to persevere with reading and learning from all generations of the Church even if this is difficult and demanding effort, and even if it brings us up against the prevailing wisdom of our own age. What we receive from the generations before us, so that it reaches the generations that come after us. We must therefore withstand and defy our own generation. You can be sure that bravery will be required, for we will receive derision and condemnation from the leaders of our own generation. If we don’t, this may be because our clergy has become so conformed to them that they have no effective gospel to give.

What we need then is a Christian from outside, who can what we lack and give it to us. What we need is a bishop….

The Church appoints some men, but no women, to the role of bishop…

Part One

I will talk about the priest and bishop as icons of Christ in worship. I will suggest that it is only the difference of men and women that enables their mutuality and complementarity and that these enable the creation of families, the arrival of children and so of a new generation. Only a society in which each generation can distinguish the roles of men and women’s roles can produce the new generation by which that society can continue. When the differences that enable mutuality are not observed that society dies out. It is not merely equality of the sexes that is required for the continuation of life but also difference and complementarity of the sexes, or in more familiar terms, love, service and patience. The society that demotivates its men, makes its women vulnerable, as we can now see.

Equality derives from the concept of rights. But the concept of rights cannot help us set out the gospel. Rights are used to replace concepts of love and service. The concept of rights brings us to a concept of self-determination and of human will without definition or limit, in conflict with nature and culture. Irrationality results from overreliance on the concept of equality.

Nothing says more clearly that the present hierarchy of the Church of England is not interested in remaining part of the Great Church, than when they put a woman forward for the office of bishop. (Poor woman. God be with her. Some manipulative and mischievous men have been at work here. I was once part of this mischief; I taught women on ordination courses and saw some of the fall out, and still see it all around. Happy the woman who gets out of the clergy without too much trauma)

Those who are responsible for this decision want to give us a bishop who never refers us to the long rich experience of the Church, who makes no reference to churches of other ages, who has no effective conception that the Church must inevitably stand against the demands of the moment. Such a person cannot function as a bishop because they are an advocate for the present against the future, demanding that we cut ourselves off from generations past and future. Such people are truly representatives and spokesmen of the global powers and ideologists who use the institutions of government to introduce an alternative morality that promotes the present over the future. They contrast what is old and what is new, and insist that we should replace what is old with what is new. But their lack of reading shows through, because they never realise that what they regard as new – for instance the absorption with sex and gender – is also very old. A wide variety of expressions and transgressions of sex and gender were just as much a part of life two thousand years ago as now. The Church knows them well because it grew up with them, and deliberately and rationally articulated its teaching on the relationships of men and women dialogue with them and in controversies against them. The Church that is still in possession of its memory must say that these old issues have acquired no new validity just because they have come to the attention of our present decision-makers for the first time.

The attempt to put a woman into the role of bishop comes from the belief that equality is more fundamental than any of the other concept in the Christian understanding of the world. The implicit claim is that the gospel can be reduced to this agenda, and that the ultimate injustice, the lack of equality between the sexes, can then be resolved. To help to bring inequality to an end, the powers that be want to see women in every role. They are therefore determined to brush aside all consideration of proper difference and complementarity, or of the waiting and self-control that are required for all roles and relationships.  The secular powers are therefore opposed to the Church which necessarily waits, debates and must usually decide against whatever the current secular orthodoxy is. The powers do not want to the Church to function as a countervailing power, a rival authority and source of dissent. Those who are ashamed of the distinct and unchanging position of the Church on public issues, and who are convinced that the Church must simply be pushed into conformity are unsurprisingly helped up into positions of power by their secular allies.  The Church often has to suffer bishops and other clergy who have been propelled into high office in the Church because of their malleability and readiness to return favours, who are government placemen and Church-hating secular fellow travellers. That is why we must always pray for our bishops and for all our clergy, beseeching God to have mercy on them and on us.