Is anyone surprised? Having spoken about the Patriarchy last week, the fates have been kind enough to bless us with one of the oldest on the planet wheezing and lumbering into our headlines all week. Of course the Church of England has a voting system that allows the conservative minority to preserve their precious traditions. Reading about this has been a perfect storm of subjects guaranteed to get my blood up; inequality and religion.
From Abraham down, it’s no secret that the major faiths are patriarchies, all viewing God as a male, viewing sex as evil and generally encouraging the suppression of women. The quote I’ve most often read with regards to this is St. Paul from 1 Corinthians 11:3: “The head of a woman is her husband”. They neglect to mention St. Paul hammering home the point that we are all equal under God. How about Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – see, the problem with relying on the Bible as your moral barometer is that you can get away with just about anything. I’ve read of both sides saying “This is God’s will” in very different contexts. It’s not God’s will. It’s the will of the few seeking to control the many and getting away with it.
What is there to lose? I’ve read of fear of schism if women were allowed to become bishops. But if the Church is not facing schism as a result of the vote then I don’t know what will prompt it. Surely but surely the more able bodies and minds the Church can have extolling its message the better for it? It could be that I’m missing something? Maybe God’s word means nothing if spoken through a woman’s voicebox.
This looks to me like an old and archaic institution in its death throes because of its refusal to change with the modern world. And this is why I find people so fascinating. They are capable of the most enormous change and invention even in the toughest of circumstances, but are also capable of being the most stubborn, habit driven creatures. The Church of England changed and adapted to having female priests. The Church of England would have changed and adapted to having female bishops. And this is the most frustrating thing: the world has proven time and time again, it phases out things that don’t work and keeps things that do and this way progress is made. So why not take the risk? If female bishops truly didn’t work, then they wouldn’t.
It’s almost as if the Church of England is ignoring all the evidence.