A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On being a Bishop

The New Testament states that a bishop should be "blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach". Also, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work" and "Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil".

Just recently the Episcopal diocese of California (centered on San Francisco but not covering the whole of California!) had an election for a new bishop. Seven candidates were selected to be put forward for a vote. This election would not have been that surprising except for the mix of candidates. At least two were openly gay (that is living with "partners") and the others all seemed to be signed up for the "pick 'n mix variety" of Christian belief. If you read their personal statements all appear very nice people. However, they are keen to emphasise diversity as if this is the keystone of the Faith. Statements like "of opinion and expression that flows from a transforming, confident faith" basically imply all is accepted as opposed to all are accepted!

The Cathedral of the diocese (Grace Cathedral) has a statement - The Episcopal Church is not a "preachy" Church, and although it does maintain those rituals common to the Christian Church since its inception, it is not a "you must follow the rules or else" type of Church." I would like to think that is so, but it does now appear within the higher echelons of the Episcopal Church that "you must follow our rules or else" applies. What of those who do not recognise the validity of two of the candidates on the grounds of not believing in the sacramental nature of women's ordination. Or those that do not recognise the validity of gay partnership as a truth because it conflicts with traditional teaching on celibacy and matrimony?

Modern day thinking in the Episcopal Church is that a bishop is "of good report within" and can be "the wife of one husband, or the partner of one man/woman"! This is the new advocacy. Some Episcopalians have thrown their toys out of the pram and left the church to enter continuing Anglicanism, others have stayed trying to keep nanny from swapping the traditional toys with new fangled gismos! Personally, I hope to be an Anglican for some time yet, but the comprehensiveness is moving ever more towards exclusiveness, and one based on a belief that only a liberal do-as-you-think-best approach is correct!



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