PICK AND MIX RELIGIONS?

As a non-partisan bystander and as a female, I am sorry to see the Church of England going to hell in a handcart over the creation of female Bishops. The Protestants in Scotland do not seem to have this same problem with their women representing them. They do, and at a very high level.

Women form a major part of society and this will be reflected even in the membership of the Church of England. If I were a member of this exquisitely strange organisation, I would seriously be thinking about the strong misogynistic projection from a vocal core, who obviously do not represent all the people who form their dwindling congregations, or our society.

If the noisy ecclesiastical individuals feel they would get a better deal from Rome, (is this pick and mix religion?) then they should clearly follow their narrow beliefs and depart for pastoral pastures new. The papacy is not averse to manipulating its celibacy rules to suit – more pick and mix – but not for their born and bred flock.

There are other ‘traditionalist’ [intolerant] breakaway Christian groups around the world that additionally, openly espouse homophobia,the question has to be raised, why are these people not aligning themselves openly with them? They are equally as high profile for media attention. Their Roman Catholic machinations appear cynical, that is, timed to a pending papal visit.

If, as a woman, I belonged to this particular fractious, religious society, I would feel let down, unrepresented, demeaned and unwanted as a fellow believer.

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0 thoughts on “PICK AND MIX RELIGIONS?

  1. Yeah, it doesn’t look good, does it? In their defence, I do have some very good friends who are tearing themselves apart over this issue of women in authority. I don’t agree with them but I can see where they are coming from, and it’s not good news for them. They have now to make a decision about staying on and desperately hoping that their opinions will be respected in the future at the local level, or leaving altogether and trying to find a home in Rome. They will be a sad loss to us, in my opinion.

    Looking at it as an insider, I guess it will all blow over soon enough. If that’s the majority vote then we must go with it and stop faffing about.

    As for the dwindling churches – well, that’s certainly the way we’re presented in the media, and it’s how many churches are. But people are not so aware that for every church that shuts down, 2 or 3 more open – mainly because these new churches don’t look like churches, but meet in all sorts of informal ways. Way to go, methinks!

    Thanks for this posting.

  2. I am very aware of the new communal churches that have been opening with their local elders, not attached in the old way to the C of E. Many of these opened because C of E church-goers were not finding what they sought in religious worship and in community sharing. I have attended weddings and acceptance into faith (a baptism) services in such fellowship groups. They are different to my experiences of church, friendlier for one thing and inclusive.

    The closed churches could not be afforded by the C of E, even with sharing a consecrated place with other faiths who hold their services in the same place. Even so, insufficient funds were raised for the religious See, because of the size of local worshipping groups. When ecclesiastical stock and shares investments went belly up, more church property equity had to be released.

    Women who make themselves subservient in an organisation are not so different from women who accept macho controlling behaviours as the norm. They won’t see it that way, I grant you.

    Benign neglect it the way most religious upset is allowed to go in the hope nothing will evolve, or the fuss will die down, etc. It resolves nothing, as such, this outcome, can suit the hierarchy as the easy quiet way out.

  3. I think WATCH will be rejoicing. It’s a good outcome for women.

    I’ve long been of the opinion that the C of E needs to do some major rethinking, but despair of its ever doing so. The decision-makers are too busy fence-sitting. One of the decisions that should be made is to start divesting ourselves of our ancient buildings which are impossible to keep going. Dunno what to do with them, except that maybe EH or the NT might be interested in some. That will start concentrating our minds on what we should be doing – getting out into the community, instead of shoring up bricks and mortar.

    But don’t get me started …

    Despite all this, I have a love-hate relationship with the Anglicans. I’ve worshipped and lived in various different denominations, and keep coming back. At least we talk about our problems. People may be sick of them and us, but discussion and disagreement are part of the Anglican ethos and that suits me better than encyclicals and pronouncements from bigwigs.

    I’m glad to know your opinion.

  4. Jesus would not have liked what is going on his name.
    Religions seem to be getting so distorted.

    *sighs*

    Good thing that all have free will and can pick and choose 🙂

    X

  5. Many unconsecrated churches are now in far better use than they were. They provide apartments for people who need homes, they become business spaces, artisans move in making little workshops, providing rent monies at levels that can be afforded. In some instances artisans at work, mix in with community developments. I have seen a whole mix of the above in one unconsecrated building, facilitated by clever use of scaffolding designed floors with staircases that many people can manage. In N.W London, I was surprised to find a regular craft, art and food market very active in another old church.

    It is only crises, including bad investments – were they all ethical – that have forced the hand of the C of E to relinquish bricks and mortar; personally, I see society as gaining from it in forms that those who are truly humane and caring about ones fellow being, would and should be pleased about.

    It seems to me as an outsider, that the Anglicans do plenty of talking; a bit more proactive energy would not go amiss. I sent out a private hooray for the stern and strong words given out by John Sentimou to the unsavoury ‘leaking’ corner. No-one wants despots, people do want to see respect, dignity and less of the dirty tricks that have been so readily deployed in such unworthy ways. As a society, even those who are part of a faith one, desirable role models are becoming rarer and rarer. Sad.

  6. Hello,

    Your point on pick and mix religion gives another view. 🙂

    Distortion, sadly, is an historical factor in faiths, with their interpretations to the masses and in their delivery.

  7. Yes, some of our churches here have been converted successfully. It is harder to know what to do with medieval country churches.

    Anglicans can talk! But I think it’s a little unfair to say that they don’t also ‘do’. If you take a look at the vast array of social projects that we are involved in, both on our own account, and in partnership with other agencies, both in this country and abroad, it’s fair to say that we do consider this of major importance. It just doesn’t reach the media. I was interested recently to discover that all our neighbouring churches here, no matter how small or poor, are involved in some form of social care. Another reason why I stick with the Anglicans …

  8. The focus of my post is not about the voluntary social/missionary work Christian organisations together with other faiths, are involved in abroad, nor some faith social projects nearer to home.

    I am sorry to see the Anglican Church making a mess of itself over the installation of women bishops, (presumably, eventually, archbishops too) because of a vocal group that does not appear to represent its congregants and reach out to its communion. There is a time when ‘gas and gaiters’ is not a pretty sight. That boundary has been crossed, hence John Sentimou’s intervention. It has been getting dirty, nasty,intolerant and totally unbecoming to an organisation that is meant to lead and model dignity and respect. To the onlooker, it has almost been worthy of mediaeval plotting.

  9. I am a Kiwi member of th Anglican Church down here. At least C of E is still mentioned in passing. After all I was born and raised in Chrischurch Lets remember why the church was started in the first place. So dirty old Hennry the 8th could get a divorce.

  10. Schism after schism from inception and no doubt, it will go on, whatever the faith is. The issue here is how the vocal core in the C of E today really view a very large proportion of their community.

  11. Which gender was instrumental in writing that book, re-writing it, interpreting and revising it?

    If one follows through the logic of your findings, women should not be on this earth…but whatever replacement was found, that wouldn’t be allowed either, I expect.

  12. All men – In writing the Bible.

    Logic on my ‘findings’, that woman should not be on this earth – wrong. Woman was created for man therefore should be on earth, but when it comes to ‘ruling’ (religion), woman is not allowed to rule above the man.

  13. The point that you say the bible makes, that woman was created for man,(if you believe in that)is not the issue. If that is believed, then the faith is in conflict with itself and its other stated mores.

    A further dichotomy is the entwining of the State with religion. So, has the church made the current queen an honorary man to salve the ruling conflict?

  14. It wasn’t the issue I know, it was an answer to your comment regarding the so called logic of my findings to which you opened up the ‘existence’ of woman on earth.

    With regards to the ‘ruling’ in ‘Religion’ not involving the State based on my understanding on the content of the post and as what was stated on the Title – is the one that I’m pointing out to be against in the Bible (regardless of whether you believe on the Bible or not which is again not the issue).

    I’m not sure if I misunderstood the whole context of the topic but it was interesting.

  15. You are probably right, although I don’t like it. I stay out of church politics. It’s unpleasant and unnecessary and the opposite of who we are supposed to be.

  16. Sadly, I feel you have hit the nub; this crisis could resolve in the centre and moderate ground finding an intelligent voice. Even tonight’s improved announcement regarding the vote to move forward in the creation of female Bishops, continues to be obfuscated.

  17. this is inevitable, given the strength of opposing feelings. A lot of the pronouncements are irritating rubbish, with little connection to the reality on the ground. Women bishops are such a major break with the past that it was always bound to stir things up, not only for us parochially here in UK but worldwide, as it does our relationships with some other churches no good at all. We are taking the decision on the grounds that we hope the gains will outweigh the losses, but I think those losses will be considerable, in global terms. It’s a journey! – and I’m not sure whether anyone really knows how it will pan out.

  18. What is the C Of E afraid of? Other Christian churches (Protestants for example) have made the move. They have other names for their very senior clergy, who are akin to Bishops and Archbishops in their standing.

    Our local Episcopalian Church – locally known as The English Church – has no problem relating to the hierarchy of other Christian worshippers. Currently, their local vicar/minister, is a woman who appears to be held in the highest regard.

    The global issue about female Bishops may be less of one in countries other than parts of Africa. I cannot help but consider the statement made by someone about the social situation in Afghanistan, in relation to how others live today, that is, the description of it being a 13th century country and society. The current Christian authority figure gender polemic, seems akin to it.

    I figure, that unless women keep the matter alive in the body of the church, that unless a leader with a visible desire to support it, and one who has a voice and presence to carry it through, the matter will rumble on. Benign neglect should not be an outlet here, it could be. My question on this point alone, is, how many more generations of women clergy will have to pick up the banner that has frustrated so many before them? It gives another meaningful interpretation to ‘Onward Christian soldiers’.

  19. I’m not sure if your first question is rhetorical!

    Women bishops are bound to happen. We already have them elsewhere in Anglicanism eg Australia. The big rift will widen with the Catholics and Orthodox, and that is one of the losses. We can shrug it off and complain that their attitudes are medieval, but it is painful if you think that Christian unity is important.

  20. The biggest rift with Catholicism happened in the 1500’s. Its raison d’etre is another story. It happened, and whether it is agreed or not, the Christian world learned to live with it. If men in the church really feel that threatened by women in leadership roles, they really do need to examine their various motivations.

    You know, when I think about a range of faiths, they all have factions, wings and corners that operate under the banner of their particular beliefs. The majority even learn to live with and tolerate one another, still calling themselves whatever their headline faith is. It is a situation as old as the hills.

    Unity and stagnation are not usually synonymous, however, I am gradually becoming of the view that in the current evolutionary debate in the C of E that is exactly what is happening.

    I sympathise with what you say.

  21. Unity is a fascinating concept and I’ve become convinced that we’ve been going about it the wrong way. The way forward is not to ignore our differences, but to acknowledge them and to regard our distinctions as having value. But that’s a different subject! Thanks for this interesting discussion.

  22. The inherent emotions of ‘man’ (generically used but, in particular the male) and the primaeval urges we have, will always throw up the alpha male and the alpha being. How the alpha is contained, and how it will contain its own groupings, will affect any attempts at unity. It always does. Wars come out of this signal emotion,it is not inevitable that the outcome will be unifying. I have to reiterate, that benign neglect in religious management, in tackling the difficult issues, has created a level of daily tolerance in some faith groups. Establishing practice and use comes to mind; it is often overridden by strategic interventions. The apparent unity is not secure, it is not codified.

    Acknowledging differences and celebrating their diversity, their positive aspects, is not something that we seem to be generally good at. Antiquated societal structures, arrogance, and the belief in British/English superiority in the world is alive and well. In addition, there are economic issues that cannot be ignored, which, will make life more difficult for everyone. That said, some diverse groups do not want to be celebrated and absorbed. This is also a pick-and-mix basket.

  23. I don’t think very many cultures are good at celebrating diversity. I’m wondering if it is a learned response, one that arises out of reflection on the way we mess up, and what would lead to a more positive outcome. I also think that the western forensic approach to rational thinking does not always help us forward: so many truths are ‘both/and’, rather than ‘either/or’. Can we give up our love affair with polarisation? This in its turn leads to extremism.

  24. First thought; agreed, like you, I believe other cultures limit celebrating diversity. The risk of dilution of their own culture and beliefs, held precious, is always there. You see it clearly in the mixed marriage conflicts, the greatest ‘weapon’ in dilution. It is fought over and fought for.

    Enjoying a ‘mardi gras’ (say, also a Notting Hill Carnival) is open to lots of people to enjoy as onlookers, but not generally as participants. Public celebrations of this nature, keep cultural elements alive for the respective communities who created them. Another small scale example, would be the Sunday clubs for learning the national dances, learning and maintaining language, and socialising, within the Polish communities that were here post war and today. Closer to home, there are the centres for Welsh language, based elsewhere like in England; there was one in a Welsh Chapel (church building) in N.W London. It may still be there. Scottish dancing is another cultural heritage.

    We don’t want to dilute our diverse cultural heritages in the U.K. The expectation that we can completely subsume some and not others is a complex one.

    I like your suggestion of rational forensic thinking. Are you saying that lateral thinking is missing in the scheme of thought? There is another form, that is the delusional thinking pushed at us as positive thought arriving from across the Atlantic.

    Truths as both/and, either/or, is this not also the biblical way? It has a major convenience for faith hierarchies. It is a preferable alternative to concrete thinking.

  25. oof!! No, I’m referring to the way that other cultures think – they don’t use our forensic categories, because they start from a different philosophical base, and therefore arrive at different conclusions, or shine a fresh light on agreed conclusions.

    You might be interested to know that I saw my tutor today, who is also Chair of the General Synod house of laity, and asked her about the debates on women bishops. She said that it had not turned nasty, and that she had been surprised at the quality of the debates. She also said she’d been surprised that some members withdrew further amendments, once the vote was over, which struck her as gracious.

    In other words, the media are not to be believed … as usual!

  26. I think your tutor was being gracious about the men who were verging on the borders of sounding fanatic when they spoke to the media prior to the synod meetings; did you hear them, I did? The women maintained their dignity. I don’t know what amendments were withdrawn. What about the choice of whether a woman or a man should operate in certain parishes, was that one of them? It was a major concession offered by the Archbishop to the bothered men.

    Which cultures are you referring to?

    I am rather perturbed at what I hear as pronouncements from the Papal Office regarding the religious role of women in the Catholic Church, and the language it is couched in.

  27. I’m thinking of the cultures I’ve lived in, and how they’ve taught me wisdom through looking at things in a different way – Northern Nigeria, and Romania, but also all the friends I have from many different cultures.

    I am very perturbed too about the language coming out of the Papal Office. I realise I am only an ignorant Anglican, but I find it schizophrenic that a church which gives Mary the mother of Christ such a high place, should also be a church in which women are treated as unclean. If a woman’s body was OK for the Son of God, how come it’s not OK for Communion? Very odd!

  28. I know something of the E.European cultural outlooks, only some of the African mores in the way they translate when in the UK.

    Wisdom as a broadening out of views, living by different moral codes and traditions, is not the same as non-forensic thinking. I agree varied viewpoints are a translation of ideas and can expose variations on themes. It can offer a layer of social richness in its most positive aspects.

    Hear, hear with your thoughts on the distorted thinking and pronouncements of the Papal See. As one woman said yesterday, in her view, it was the R.C. church that was criminal in the way it treats women. It is an absolute disgrace. And this is the church hierarchy that says it will clean up its dirty handling, its denial, therefore its collusion, in the sexual abuse of children by its priests. Men are cleaner are they?

  29. yes, I am being vague. What I mean about non-forensic thinking is the way that the Eastern Orthodox think. Instead of dividing things into categories and thinking about them separately, as we do, they hold it all together and think about it in a much more holistic way. I find this very enriching (while at the same time getting very hot under the collar at the way that it is not worked out in practice – talk about the subservience of women!)

  30. Ah, Eastern Orthodox: culturally, the Eastern Europeans are much more concrete thinking, this, I am sure, translates into their religious functioning as well. I spent some interesting hours discussing and sharing different moral values and the cultural base from which they operate, in Eastern Europe. What is preferable, may come down to the judgement of Solomon!

  31. Both/and, rather than either/or??? The Orthodox are of course hugely influenced by their apophatic theology, which is not a traditional part of western theology which is more scholastic and juridical. What is so interesting is that there is now much greater openness, especially by the west to the east, as we realise how much we have been missing!

  32. I am not so sold on this theory. Like all that is preached, little, if any of it, is lived in actual daily life. The concept is seductive. I have heard preaching on similar lines in order to describe what is meant, (by someone else’s interpretation). It could just as easily be reversed with the same interpretive result.

    apophatic thinking; again I am not sure of its overall efficacy. Analyses, be they from a negative or positive starting point, can still end up at the same point of paralysis. Or, at best, (or should it be at worst) a long term circular debate.

  33. the biggest challenge – to practise what we preach! My thesis is about this – how do we actually apply our beliefs, in order to bring about relationships lived more Christianly? Theology is important but if it’s not lived then it is sterile.

  34. Speaking as a peripheral observer, whatever the principles are called, either in religious or non-religious terms, without mores that incorporate a moral sense, interpreted by the many, in a myriad of ways and cultural styles, if they do not form a part in peoples lives, then they could be empty lives. That though, is an assumption upon which there is not a solid base. Other governance may be superimposed or underpinned to a particular lifestyle.

    Your research starting point is as given. On that basis you will set out to prove, vary, disprove, your initial presumption. My starting point would be entirely different to yours because I do not attach myself to a Christian base. There is still a point of agreement about practising what we preach, while giving due regard to the sensitivities of the societies we are in, always bearing in mind we are coming from different standpoints.

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