Friday, 23 November 2012
Blogposts have been slow of late for fairly good reasons - death, illness, pressure of work, no time to think things through, so I am considering how to deal with it. To stop the blog or to go on a little more intermittently? For now I am picking up issues started elsewhere..
The Church of England has had women priests since 1994, which, historically speaking, is not very long ago, and the next natural and expected step was that female bishops would follow. So the failure of the C of E to allow women bishops (the history is here) is regarded as a disaster for the church, as indeed it might be.
My own relation to the state religion has been mixed but not in the least unfavourable. As religion it has a relatively tolerant history, allows for a very broad set of beliefs and opinions, its historical texts and liturgy are beautiful, its buildings are stunning (the buildings it came to own that is), and its slightly stiff friendliness is an attractive aspect of the nation as I have known it.
Sometimes, in fact, it seems not so much a church as an institution, and it is as an institution that it is most susceptible to change and modernisation. As a church its problems are different.
I am aware there are various theologies but the bedrock remains The Apostles' Creed that it shares with Catholics, Lutherans and others. Given that, with God the Father, God the Son, and all those books of the Bible based on patriarchal histories, values and beliefs, it might be that Christianity is simply a patriarchal religion. So maybe it isn't Christianity that is wanted but a more female-balanced religion with, if desired, some similar notions - creation, fall, sacrifice, redemption, some shared values and if further desired, some overlap in hierarchy.
In fact I do sometimes wonder why feminists want to engage with Christianity at all. I rather suspect that once we have female Archbishops - as we will - some theological moves in that direction might become inevitable. Do you want a female historical Jesus is the key question? A great deal hangs on that. You might not, and I wouldn't blame you. But then of course it wouldn't be Christianity in the old sense but something different, possibly something just as valid and good. Maybe better. Who knows?
As the Independent puts it: The Church will need to address what has become a jaw-droppingly embarrassing PR problem.
It depends what you're looking for. A religion isn't exactly a brand, nor entirely an institution. It isn't a model of the state either. Maybe then the answer is to separate church and state. Then you can have a heresy that, in time, could become a proper orthodoxy.
Disestablishmentarianism opposed to Antidisestablishmentarianism. Bring back the long words.