Monday, July 14, 2014

yes… women bishops at last

The Church of England Synod’s vote in November 2012 against women bishops marked the end of my time worshipping in the Anglican Church. At that time, I posted this blog and said that, following the vote, my "separate, personal, lonely journey starts today”.
So, you can perhaps imagine my enthusiastic response to today’s news that Synod has overwhelmingly voted to allow women bishops (only 45 lay members of the synod voted against it and 152 in favour. The majorities among bishops and clergy were even greater).
I’m absolutely delighted and relieved by today’s outcome… and delighted for so many of my Anglican/Christian friends.
So today’s decision means that I can abandon my futile(?) protest against the institution that calls itself the Church of England… well, actually, I’m afraid not.
Yes, for the past 18 months or so I HAVE been on a separate, personal, lonely spiritual journey… but, in that time, I’ve found myself reeling against the institutional church on so many things and I certainly don’t think I’m currently anywhere near returning to the Anglican Church fold - I won’t rule it out at some time in the future but, for now, I’m continuing in my spiritual wilderness.
Since November 2012, I’ve read many books that I’ve found helpful (and, indeed, I’ve re-read books that I’d previously been encouraged by). Books by Richard Holloway, Ian Adams, Basil Hume, Jonathan Sacks, John O’Donohue, Peter Millar, Kathy Galloway, Mourid Barghouti, Kader Abdolah, Dave Broom, Billy Collins, Tony Benn, Martyn Percy, Sara Maitland, Alice Munro, Jane Bentley+Neil Paynter have all proved invaluable… and I’m sure there will be others in the future.
Yes, I’m sure there will be people who read this post and want to shake some sense into me… and give me any number of reasons to return to the Church of England. The fact remains that, while I’m still unsure about my own faith journey, it’s far better for me to remain in “exile” than to return still an angry man (perhaps a little over dramatic, but I was certainly finding myself coming out of church after a service regularly feeling angry and frustrated… and, despite today’s good news, I don’t think the frustration (and the anger?) will have subsided sufficiently.
So, I'm still wondering and wandering...

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