Saturday, 4 August 2007

Nigerian flying bishop for England?

We live in a jolly postmodern Teletubby world where if people object deeply enough to anything, they don't have to be stuck with it. Antsy Conservatives are as entitled to be like that as anyone else. Out on the streets, politics, focus groups and factions rule. The Church of England Newspaper reports an unnamed source saying there are plans to consecrate an English priest as a Nigerian flying bishop. So, to quote the great Barry Norman, "Why not?"
  1. The whole mentality is against Scripture. I Corinthans 12: "What if the eye says to the hand I have no need of you?" There was all kinds of moral and theological fandango going on in Corinth, but St Paul did not send in his own clowns to sort it all out. The NT way of doing Church says apostles represent the gospel by grace, not factions by political choice. Church is a place of shared respect and accountability — mutual submission. A Church which forgets loses the plot.

  2. The whole English flying bishop thing works, when it works, because of dedicated colleagues who are prayerful, discipled and charitable, with a profound lived sense of Catholic order. Attempts to run this geometry without that last factor can only be toxic.

  3. History contains various partition schemes — 60 years ago in the Indian subcontinent, 86 in Ireland. We're still picking up the pieces. Perhaps these were the only way of containing lethal craziness at the time, but in the end people have to grow up and be reconciled, because that's the way of Jesus and you can't get away from it. One day he will be all in all. It's really sad if the Church forgets this and can't do better than the secular world about this sort of thing.

  4. The postmodern Teletubby "Pick Your Own" thing promises so much but delivers so little. It achieves its narrow short term aim, but on the way mucks up bigger relationships and loses sight of long term realities. The way to Revelation 21 leads through I Corinthians 12, not around it! Do you have to go through Canterbury to get to Christ? Yes, of course: and Lagos, and Darfur, and Bangalore, and Rome, and Penge, and Chicago. God made the lot, and his mercy really is over all his works.

1 comment:

Neil said...

Hooray! Thanks + Alan for a calm, thoughtful, slightly laid-back take on this

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