Maybe you already heard– The Church of England just voted by a hair NOT to allow women in the episcopacy. It’s funny to me that there’s still enough residual cultural Christianity left in the West for the media to continue reporting on the inner machinations of the Anglican Church. But that’s not the point I want to make.
Here’s my point. And it has nothing to do with how culturally antiquated, sexist, undemocratic etc this story makes the C of E appear.
It’s more like a quick nugget of theological observation:
I’ve long thought the best argument in favor of ordaining gay Christians to ministry is that the Church has already baptized them. Baptism, after all, is the beginning of Christian vocation. In a sense, we’re all ordained in our baptisms to some form of Christian service/witness in our lives.
Pastoral Ministry is but one form that baptismal vocation takes. If the Church isn’t ready to ordain gay Christians, then, it shouldn’t baptize them.
Shut the door where the theology starts, in other words.
The same logic holds true when it comes to women serving as bishops- especially in the Anglican Church. The Church already has women ordained to ministry as priests. Having them serve as bishops is a matter of promotion not ordination. It’s functional not theological. If the Church isn’t ready to have them serve as bishops they shouldn’t have ordained to serve as priests. It’s sloppy thinking to such an extent that sexism is the only credible explanation.
Sadly, this is another knock on Archbishop Rowan Williams, one of my heroes. Another case of a good, brilliant leader proving unable to dent an ineffective bureaucracy.