And another thing

Half of women bishops opponents in Synod were women

This is what I’ve been saying, isn’t it?   The women who opposed that proposition were mature, they did not have a mindset of “hate all men” but were far more in the service of their Maker.  I’ve quoted quite a few such women and one is moved by the sheer common sense they bring to a discussion.

It’s very, very hard to explain to someone who has bought the feminist narrative that division between the sexes is not necessary, that there is no need for this war, this silent hatred and dare I say it – this greed to have everything.   In the end, it’s about putting self last and these women have shown their character – the church is lucky to have them.

15 Responses to “And another thing”

  1. CherryPie November 27, 2012 at 00:16 Permalink

    It is a shame really that you don’t have access to the views of the people (men and women) who actually attend the Church. They put their faith first and the promotion of that faith.

    They would give you entirely different take on the situation (the ones in my local thriving church do), one not skewed by the political bias of the media. They wanted the proposition to pass and feel that the fact it hasn’t is a retrograde step.

    I would go on to explain why, but I know you are not really listening to me, you are in political rant mode. And because of that I shouldn’t even be commenting on this, but issues of faith and spirituality are important to me.

  2. James Higham November 27, 2012 at 00:25 Permalink

    They put their faith first and the promotion of that faith.

    That’s precisely what I wrote, Cherie and I do have access every week to these people and do know about it – that’s what these women did – put their faith first, not their feminism. That’s why they voted as they did.

    I always speak from a position of knowing, not speculation, as you well know. It’s a pity you don’t have access to such ladies because you’d have an entirely different perspective.

    I know you don’t take anything on board I say but unfortunately, it is borne out too often, especially on this issue of why the women voted as they did. Perhaps you should ask them. I did.

    Here’s what I wrote above about them:

    In the end, it’s about putting self last and these women have shown their character – the church is lucky to have them.

    They have been unfairly vilified over this and someone has to speak up for these ladies. They wouldn’t do it themselves.

  3. CherryPie November 27, 2012 at 00:50 Permalink

    It is you that is not connected to the Church or any Church. You said that when we last spoke about this (on your other thread). I still have links to that Church I mentioned that I attended for 15 years.

    You should not mix up politics with issues of faith and spirituality, you do yourself a disservice.

    You speak from the position of politics, which means you may not have taken into consideration other aspects of the situation.

    On this issue I also speak from the position of knowing, not speculation.

    But of course you will never accept that…

    What I find really offensive about your arguments on this issue is that I have never encountered ‘feminists’ (or the male equivalent) in any of the Churches I have attended/visited. The people that attend those Churches look after each other and the community and what is best for humanity.

    I know you can’t see that, not being connected to the church.

    Now please go back and read what I said before making such ridiculous statements.

  4. CherryPie November 27, 2012 at 00:51 Permalink

    PS: Yes I am cross ;-)

  5. James Higham November 27, 2012 at 01:04 Permalink

    It is you that is not connected to the Church or any Church. You said that when we last spoke about this (on your other thread).

    You misrepresent me. I said that I very much do have a connection on a weekly basis and I speak with church women every week. You are trying to make something out which is patently untrue, Cherie and I don’t know why you are trying to do this. If I myself don’t attend services, it does not mean I am not working with these women. I was christened and baptised Church of England but have not regularly attended. The women in our family, bar my mother, were churchgoers and parish helpers.

    I know these ladies, I’ve spoken so many times with them, I’ve observed them. I’ll even name one of the churches – St James the Less.

    What I find really offensive is that you are down on these women for voting the way they did. You said it when you said that women would walk out now. No, not the Christian ones. And that’s what they’ve said to me in the last week and a half. They were not going to be swayed by “modern ideas” which were unscriptural.

    And now it has been borne out that half those who voted against were women, which I knew anyway from those women I speak with but didn’t have stats until now.

    Now these women have done nothing wrong and yet you vilify them. They put their consciences and faith first and voted against their self-interest and you say you are cross!

    You really must drop this feminism thing. There is no biblical justification for women bishops, church scholars know it, these ladies know it. That’s why they voted as they did. To vote for women bishops is feminist. Simply by definition.

    I seriously don’t see why that is so hard for you to see, Cherie.

  6. james wilson November 27, 2012 at 05:42 Permalink

    The old American churches which have ordained female priests and bishops have also endorsed all the trendy social issues. Their endowments are large but their pews are empty. Why listen to the tripe on Sunday when the same sermons are made six days a week by government?

  7. Steve Hayes November 27, 2012 at 06:00 Permalink

    It seems to me that this is an issue that simply cannot be resolved. Both sides are speaking past each other, and most of their arguments seem to be based on misrepresenting the other side.

    Perhaps they should agree to differ and just go their separate ways. Then both sides could devote their energies to something more constructive.

  8. James Higham November 27, 2012 at 06:42 Permalink

    James, that is right. Steve – your comment came whilst mine was in the writing just now.

    The churches have, exactly as in Revelation, gone astray and the tone in that book is that this one or that might have done some good work and kept the word but they have strayed in this way or that, e.g. Laodicea.

    And that’s what has happened here. It’s quite possible to stray away from what, for want of a better term, I’ll call the Word. The Word here, for this discussion, refers to the words uttered by and quoted by [leaving disputes aside over that for now] Jesus of Nazareth [I'm mindful that I am addressing largely an agnostic or atheist readership, with perhaps some believers - Caedmon's, Cherie, Churchmouse, Steve Hayes]. It may or may not include those of Paul or Luke in addition, plus the others in the NT.

    So in any theological dispute, that’s where you must return.

    Let’s begin with the fact, as stated at the top in the post and this is simply a matter of stats, that half of those who opposed the bishoprics of women were women themselves. That is a fact which is not going away.

    Cherie said in a previous post that this vote would result in people [and I read it as mainly women but don't insist] “voting with their feet”, I think she put it. This is not “misrepresenting” her.

    There is a political parallel right now in the UMP in France. One faction campaigned on a platform of “unashamed” conservatism and surprisingly won the vote … whilst the other accommodated itself to leftism and watered down the very reason they were a party in the first place. Over here, it was Major’s wets and Maggies’ dries. At this very moment it is the true conservatives versus the Cameronites.

    I said that the Christian women would not desert the church and that is the source of the divide here, and is behind her words “what I find offensive”. Because I’m sure that within Cherie’s circle of women are many who are otherwise fine people, good, kindly souls and she thinks I am personally attacking them.

    I’m not attacking them as good souls but I am saying that every single person who calls him/herself Christian is capable of straying on the finer points and one of those is the women’s movement push for high position in all walks of life, from the glass ceiling in the workplace to the church to anywhere at all – these feminists [and that is an apt term] – are quite concerned to push the interests of one of the sexes, at the expense of anything else, including the faith.

    The test of that is precisely this vote. Here is a Catholic voice:

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2012/11/21/the-anglicans-who-voted-against-women-bishops-showed-true-dunkirk-spirit/

    But the “vocal minority” have stood up against the overwhelming consensus inside the Church of England, and outside it too. (It is remarkable how people who never go to church care so deeply about women bishops!) They have shown the true Dunkirk spirit – though that they succeeded may have taken some of them by surprise.

    Those of us who oppose female ordination – and yes, I am certainly one that holds it to be an impossibility (if I did not, I would be an Anglican) – are the sort of people who the BBC and others look upon as a vocal minority: professional pains in the neck, who really ought not to be allowed to ruin the harmony of the overwhelming consensus mentioned above.

    It was significant in the comments:

    That Holy Spirit fella can be darn inconvenient at times – not to mention terribly undemocratic. I recall hearing several pro-women-bishop Synod members and commentators before and during the debate declaring their confidence that the Holy Spirit was guiding the process and that it was Spirit-led. However, once the vote was ‘lost’ they suddenly decided it was the ‘wrong’ outcome. Hmmm…

    And this is the thing – that to say you’re led by the Spirit, you have to be very careful because it can lead to apostasy quite easily. The Spirit has one function but the Word has another and the Word cannot be gainsaid in the Christian religion.

    Here is an Anglican take:

    http://www.anglican-mainstream.net/2012/11/19/why-the-church-of-england-desperately-needs-our-prayer/

    Any fair understanding of the conservative argument against Women Bishops would acknowledge that it has absolutely nothing to do with a view that women are “inferior to men”. It is utterly disingenuous at this point in the debate to launch such a puerile attack effectively branding every opponent of women bishops as a misogynist. The conservative argument sits independently of Gal. 3:27 and, indeed, affirms it.

    To then move on to antisemitism and slavery is another utter canard. These are matters on which, it is certainly true, certain elements of the church have had varied views at different times but the overwhelming consensus over the decades and a prevailing view in the early church was that anti-semitism and slavery were wrong. By contrast you cannot find anyone arguing for a female episcopacy until very very recently.

    There simply is no precedent, either in scripture or in subsequent practice for 1960 years for women’s ordination. The Cofe erred in ordination of women, confusing that with the roles women have played – major roles, including martyrdom – in the church over the centuries. And in none of those cases did one of those women call herself a priest or leader of the church – they were good servants of the church, as were the vast majority of the men.

    Which is not to say that women were not present and Jesus of Nazareth most certainly had women around, including the various Marys and others and they were in the rooms with them. My reading [and I don't insist on this again] is that Mary Magdalene was quite significant in the church but not in a Dan Brown way [he bats for the other side].

    I also think that all of this has most certainly resulted in misogyny among followers down the years, usually as a result of Paul’s additions and interpretations and I’m halfway to the feminists on that. But it’s one thing removing misogyny, something I fully agree with and the other thing – making women priests and bishops [or the equivalent pre-bishops - church leaders].

    And as that Anglican said, this push for women in “high places” is a comparatively recent thing. It has no basis in scripture or practice.

    This is why those women who opposed women bishops did it – they knew very well there was no basis for it. And the Catholic quoted above also knows that because even though church interpretations are different – Catholic to CofE, the scripture is exactly the same, so a Catholic can comment on that just as much as an Anglican.

    Now it was a very brave thing to do because the whole weight of the secularist side of it has been orders from above in the earthly hierarchy of the church [see Ephesians 6:12] that those women MUST vote for women bishops, that it has been set in train, that those women are stick-in-the-muds who are opposing the inevitable, a point the Catholic noted in his piece.

    So what would motivate those few women to oppose, as a group, the sheer weight of the State, most people in the land and the non-Christian women in the church?

    Conscience. And Matthew 5:11-12.

    They knew full well that women bishops were wrong, not biblical, not scriptural, and therefore – not Christian. And so when I say they were Christian and the other women were not, that’s what I’m referring to. Not whether those deluded women were good people or not. Cherie’s a good woman but she is astray on this.

    It is possible for people to be astray. I have often been astray and have had to go back and re-read, re-evalutate and come up renewed. I do it all the time. What you read on the blog is the result of those re-evaluations, not some gung-ho, cavalier speculation.

    People who say the church must “adapt”, “move on”, “progress”, are applying the secular values of the day to something eternal. The opposite of “progressive relativism” is “eternal verities”, not “stick-in-the-mud reaction”.

    And this is the lie the progressives either deliberately or inadvertently perpetrate. There are those who are repeating the mantra with no evil intent, with in fact good intent but they’ve allowed error to creep in and so they are outraged when someone suggests they’re not Christian or not a real libertarian or whatever. In the face of those comments, they really do need to look closely at such things as why those women opposed what appeared, on the face of it, to be in their best personal interests.

    And Cherie gave herself her own answer – they put their faith before their own narrow interest.

    The whole nature of the Trinity and its attendant scripture concerns eternal verities in written form, e.g. the Ten Commandments, e.g. the Beatitudes, e.g. the rest of the NT, with references back to the old and with the Apocrypha nearby. If you go to this site:

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/kjv/browse.html

    … you will see the Apocrypha in there too. No one’s shying away from it. The reason why they are Apocrypha is not necessarily that the church fathers did not want truth to come out, a modern and long-term atheist and other-side tactic, but that the early fathers who were scholars of the Word deemed, in huge meetings, that there were things in those texts which did not accord with the core texts.

    The issue of the hegemony of Paul is another issue altogether and that’s getting too far away from the concerns of this post. In fact, one need not rely on Paul for the scriptural view on women bishops – the gospels will do.

    When a church becomes secularized in the way it interfaces with the community, in an effort to at least speak in a language people understand, that is OK – say guitars, new types of hymns – but it’s not licence to also alter the core scripture to make it more sugar-coated. The scripture stays as is. And as Churchmouse points out – you don’t pick and choose which bits you like – you either follow it all or you don’t. It’s a take it or leave it proposition and so many have left it.

    More though have done the very thing Churchmouse accused me of – of cherry picking [no pun]. In fact I was doing the opposite – taking the whole into consideration, a method I sue in the political blogging too, including what history says on an issue.

    It’s not just for religious reasons I support these laity women but because they have actually been turned into modern-day martyrs in the face of the worldly torrent urging them, forcing them, cajoling them, threatening them, to give up what they know to be right, in terms of scriptural basis.

    That fulfils the words in Matthew:

    [11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

    [12] Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    Now Cherie would be horrified at the suggestion that she is persecuting these women but sadly, she is certainly not sticking up for them, shall we say. On the other hand, I, the miserable misogynist, homophobic, extremist reactionary stick-in-the-mud, am sticking up for those women and will do so to the end.

    Why? Because of those verses just quoted.

    In the end, it matters little if Cherie and I are divided over feminism/women bishops/whatever. It does matter that these women who opposed the pressure to vote wrongly be supported by someone, anyone.

    There is a post coming up on how religion divides and James Wilson might be interested in that. It most certainly divides and the bottom line is why is it that some people wish to coerce others and insist things must be their interpretation?

    The only safe interpretation is the scripture itself, in black and white, and the whole range of scholarly discourse over the 2000 years on it, of which the modern PC relativism is but a small blip at the end.

    That’s the only safe interpretation, otherwise churches go the way of the Jim Jones and other cults and look at America for goodness sake, as James pointed out, from outside the church.

    ………..

    As this is already a long comment, it won’t hurt if it’s a bit longer. I feel I need, thinking about it half an hour later, to explain about my own situation.

    The reason I was so brief on “I don’t attend a church,” was that I don’t particularly like speaking of the fine detail of my life, as there are enemy eyes as well as friendly ones. I said that in one post, which Cherie is obviously referring to but I said in a later one that I meet such women weekly.

    I had a secular education in primary and pretty much that [with prayers at assembly] in secondary. There was also the confirmation thing when I was twelve and so there were sessions with the vicar.

    When the teaching career began, within some years I was at a parish school [CofE] and it was a big one. Therefore the vestry and other buildings, let alone the cathedral, were right beside us every day. So it wasn’t just the church we saw but the internal workings of the Anglican day to day and so I know these ladies well.

    I don’t recall hearing any feminism from them, any demand for women’s right to become bishops, for example.

    On top of that, there were many in our wider family – we were secular, hence where I’m positioned – who were into the charitable work, my aunt went to the church a couple of days a week and so on. It was all tea and biscuits and that sort of thing. So I had a constant stream of their outlook as well as what I’d seen.

    I kept going back and forth between England and Australia [where my parents were] and then to other countries where I’d stay. This militated against churchgoing myself, not because I was anti – actually I was quite happy to attend – but it just didn’t happen because I moved about and there wasn’t always a church available. So I carried around with me a service and would look at it on a Sunday which was hardly being a good Christian, I admit.

    During one sojourn in Mill Hill, London, I did approach the vicar and went to early communion – felt it necessary – but then I moved to another part of London and then overseas again. In Russia, I observed their days but didn’t go to the services because I didn’t understand that ancient Russian language.

    It was therefore a question of opportunity first of all and then my own waywardness and I’ve always said on this blog that I’m a reformed sinner rather than a saint. It’s this I think which led to the feisty side which people so detest. That and the Irish blood probably.

    OK, so back in England and I looked about but all the churches are closed up this way, except for one Anglican which does not open during the day and that has meant no contact, along with so many other things happening. However, I do do some work near a cathedral and come into contact with these church women all the time and they’re not of the militant women-bishop type but very traditional indeed, which I find comforting and reassuring that all is not completely lost in society.

    I do believe that many things happen for a reason and not randomly and clearly, my main task is to put out what I do on the blog, whilst not forgetting my roots. That’s the state of things at this time but clearly they might change suddenly.

    So no, I don’t attend regularly but yes, I am in and among Anglican women [among others] on a regular weekly basis. And they speak, quite eloquently as you’d imagine a conservative churchwoman to be able to and they make it quite clear that they are of the opinion of the dissenting laity who voted that proposal down. They give their reasons for that and the reasons are scriptural and church tradition. They don’t hold with fads and fancies today altering central tenets.

    This doesn’t mean they’re bigoted and humourless by any means – why would I bother with them if they were like the feminist harpies with no humour whatever? They tell jokes, they laugh at all the repartee and banter, we all keep it this side of the line but that doesn’t mean they don’t know of the other things.

    Most have had children who were not brought up praying night and day but led normal lives with certain limits of decency to them. I’ve met some of the sons and daughters. They’re nothing like Jehovah’s Witnesses or tele-evangelists or the type you also see portrayed as “Christian” at the Mail. The govt and media continually misrepresent what these everyday people, part-time church people, are like.

    Cherie’s misinformed comment about me not knowing these and if I knew I’d change my view is, as I said to her above, precisely what I’ve been saying. They are good people, these church women but those who have bought the feminist narrative are, sadly, astray on this.

  9. CherryPie November 27, 2012 at 18:49 Permalink

    You are trying to make something out which is patently untrue, Cherie and I don’t know why you are trying to do this.

    I said that because that what you have said about yourself many times. Anyone who knows me even a little bit would know it is ridiculous to even suggest that I would use disingenuous means to win an argument.

    At the beginning of all this I started out trying to give you some information. But no matter what I say (even when I am agreeing with you) you disagree with it.

    What I find really offensive is that you are down on these women for voting the way they did.

    I am not down on anyone I don’t know where you got that idea from. I just expressed an opinion on what I thought the consequences of the vote going that way were. In fact I didn’t get around to stating all of what I was going to say because you shouted me down.

    You said it when you said that women would walk out now

    I didn’t mention women (that is your thing), I said people would vote with their feet (and I meant ‘people’ not women as you asserted further down in your lengthy comment). Meaning that those who didn’t like the way the vote had gone would change to a different church.

    You really must drop this feminism thing.

    I don’t have a feminism thing (that is also your thing) and to keep referring to me as a feminist is libelous.

    To vote for women bishops is feminist.

    I wonder what the men who voted for it think of you calling them that?

    Because I’m sure that within Cherie’s circle of women are many who are otherwise fine people, good, kindly souls and she thinks I am personally attacking them.

    I don’t have a circle of women so that is also factually incorrect.

    Now I have put you straight on ‘some’ of the inaccuracies about me I will get onto your point.

    You say it is mainly women that voted. Do you think that might be because more women attend church? I haven’t investigated myself, it is just a thought.

    Another thought for you. I have been told that more women come forward than men to be ministers in the CoE. Something else to investigate. If that is the case I can see a problem arsing down the line…

  10. james wilson November 27, 2012 at 20:13 Permalink

    It should not be surprising that more women than men are coming forward to work in a thing which is decaying. That is also true in education and government.

  11. James Higham November 28, 2012 at 05:08 Permalink

    Sorry Cherie – got tied up in fifty shades.

    James – thank you too.

  12. James Higham November 28, 2012 at 11:44 Permalink

    Cherie, I think the best thing I can say is to repeat AK Haart’s 10:31 comment on this post [last paragraph]:

    http://nourishingobscurity.com/2012/11/28/a-humble-proposal-for-getting-parliament-in-order/

    And say amen – and I mean it is for both of us.

  13. CherryPie November 28, 2012 at 20:33 Permalink

    :-)

  14. Steve Hayes November 29, 2012 at 02:07 Permalink

    James,

    Thank you for your long reply. I’ve copied it to my own computer so I can study it more closely.

    While I think we agree on some points, there are also some differences. I used to be Anglican, and have explained in recent posts on my blog why I am no longer Anglican. In part my leaving the Anglican Church was triggered by the question of the ordination of women (as deacons rather than as bishops), but it was also that there was a changing attitude among Anglicans to what the ordained ministry of the church means.

    If the Anglicans want women as bishops, that’s fine by me. Their concept of what bishops (and priests and deacons) are has moved a long way from what it was 50 years ago, and seems to be modelled more on that of a business executive than of a ministry in the church. But while I don’t care what they decide, I think some of the arguments used, both pro and con, do need to be analysed.

    You put it in terms of “feminism” versus “conservatism” in a kind of general sense, and “women in high places”. I have no objection to women in high places. I really wish that the next president of South Africa could be Mamphela Ramphele, not because she is a woman, but because I believe she is the best man for the job. And yes, I do object to the feminist pressure to make “man” a sexually exclusive term, and persist in using it in its inclusive sense of a human person, male or female. I suppose that would make me a linguistic conservative, at least. The problem is that English has only one word for a member of the species and the male of the species, while other languages have two words. Perhaps we should revive the old word werman for the adult male of the species.

    I am “conservative” in the sense that I don’t think we should be updating our theology every day, and especially not to conform to the secular status quo. But I am liberal, or even radical, in thinking that we should be changing the world to fit the theology. As G.K. Chesterton once put it, the modern young man will never change the world, for he will always change his mind. As long as the vision of heaven is always changing, the vision of earth will always remain exactly the same. I believe, like Chesterton, that conservative theology leads to political liberalism, and vice versa. The liberal theologian wants to adapt theology to fit the secular world, and so invariably supports the political staus quo.

    So I don’t think either feminism or conservatism are as monolithic as you seem to make out, and when they become too generalised, such labels tend to become meaningless.

  15. James Higham November 29, 2012 at 07:56 Permalink

    Thank you, Steve, for that. My concept of a blog is to argue vigorously and invite comment, unexpurgated, unrefused and it all sits there in that thread, for readers to draw their own conclusions.

    One can be not so very ‘umble in one’s nature and still adopt humility [a Christian is bound to] as the working basis for the blog and in that sense it is critical to have all these points of view, on the assumption that wisdom does not reside just in one point of view.

    With that in mind, the threads on women bishops and the one on a proposal of parliament have been rewarding of late.

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