After a week of reading blogs from angry people, hurt people, disgusted people etc etc (with the possible exception of some balanced writing from The Church Mouse) following the revelations concerning Colin Slee and the selection of the Bishop of Southwark I just wanted to say a couple of things.
Firstly - just to make this clear - I do not support prejudice of any kind - and the lovely Very Rev Dr Jeffrey John should most certainly be a bishop by now. That withstanding....
We cannot pretend that the whole world is OK about gay just because nice middle class Brits have decided they are. Many many people may rightly support equality and justice for all regardless of sexuality, but that does not change the fact that we live in a world where many many people cannot and do not accept this. I believe that this gives context to the situation that the Church of England is in. We are not just an anachronistic institution doing something horrible in a lovely world where everyone else has moved on. The internal struggles of our church truly reflect the struggles of our world with this issue, I believe. Ignoring this reality and simply berating our Archbishops for not living in a perfect Guardian reading "all right thinking people think like us" bubble is not fair and I'm not sure how it moves the debate in the right direction either.
People seem to have been devastated that in the meeting which is described by Colin Slee in the memo reported in The Guardian several people ended up in tears, that people were angry, frustrated, emotional. As though our Archbishops, and Rowan in particular, should be behaving with detached professionalism? I find this particularly worrying as a member of the clergy who is repeatedly told "but we're just human, you should let your vulnerability show." The proof of that pudding seems to be in the stringing up of our Archbishop for showing just such weak humanity. Of course people were upset, so they should be. These people were fighting with issues of conscience, issues which cut to the very heart of our faith in the nature of God and humanity, no doubt desperate to discern balance between short term evil and long term good - if in fact such a thing is possible.
I truly believe that our Archbishop is constantly seeking to discern God's truth while he balances precariously in an almost untenable position. I often feel too that those of us who see justice and equity as God's desire for all people regardless of gender, sexuality or any other categorisation might prove more successful in moving things in the right direction if we actually offered our Archbishop more support instead of waiting for him to mess up and giving him a good kick while he's down.
I live in hope of a much better day.