Interesting times for the former Bishop of Monmouth, pictured here on the December night he priested the former curate of Glyncorrwg.
You know, for me the Anglican church is a big house. Lots of us live here. Like any community, we have opinions and disagreements. Regularly I find that I am right and many of my housemates are wrong.
But the moment I think that this means I can push them out of the door, or force them into my room in order to stay in the house - that moment I have just exiled myself, because I have forgotten what being an Anglican is about.
Important note to self - Total number of church members who agree with me on everything: One. Me. Apart, of course, from those issues where I disagree with myself. And then I am in real trouble, because if I can only worship with those with whom I am in complete agreement, I don't know where to turn.
(Though as a church by definition needs more than one person, I guess that doesn't matter anyway. I'm still stuck in a corner jabbering pointlessly whichever way I look at it.)
It's a BIG house! And sometimes those housemates - the ones who are wrong, because they are different to me - surprise me because God loves them and they have a life with God and I learn things from them. And I am enlarged by being allowed to be part of the same family. This is part of an ancient and venerable doctrine that Jesus had a thing for; it's technical name is "humility". It's not so popular these days. I'm not so good at it, myself, though I note with dismay that I may have caught this from my betters.
For of the 880 bishops invited to the Lambeth Conference, the ten-yearly gathering of Bishops across the Anglican church world-wide, 230 have something better to do and have said, "No thanks".
Women Bishops is the issue for a very few. Homosexuality for more.
Tosh. It's selfishness and pride and self-advancement and arrogance. It's a lack of godliness and a frankly amazing rudeness that beggars belief.
Here am I trying to teach my folk about living in Righteousness - living in right relationship with God - and those who would present themselves as leaders in Biblical teaching and authority (over those they say would question the Bible) choose to flout page after page after page of grace and authority and humility and other clear Biblical virtues over tiny secondary issues that amass all of two or three lines of script in the whole of the Bible text. Matthew 23.23-24 was written for these men, good men, kind men, misguided and now misleading men.
My Archbishop here says stupid things. So do I. We disagree with each other. We are both wrong - him usually on a bigger stage and with bigger consequences. Do you know what? He's my archbishop and I love him dearly, and pray for him, and like him, and as an Anglican if he asked me to do something for him I would do it if I possibly could. We might have a ding-dong row in private (it's happened!) but then life goes on. I might continue to oppose his views on certain issues (including the headline, terribly non-essential stuff that's flying around now: for the record, Jesus matters, bishops don't, and that's that) but I won't live my life in that place.
This is the Church of God!
Hello LOVE! Hello GRACE! Hello GENEROSITY! Hello TRUTH! Hello FRIENDSHIP! Hello PEACE! Hello the wonders the Spirit pours upon us all -
AND HELLO SHARING THESE WITH THE WORLD!
I just thought I'd nail my colours to the mast. And though no-one has ever invited me to Lambeth, and never will, as a Christian my calling is to be an Anglican. So I would never dream of saying no.