Monday, 9 June 2008

Some stuff about female bishops in Melbourne, and courage

This quote from Andrew Moody began with a fairly typical mistake on my part. So assume a glitch by me, head on over to read the context if you feel you need to, or just read on.

Andrew says:

I'm not completely sure we're talking about precisely the same thing here as what my last post was about but I agree with what you are saying here. Which is useful cos it also gives me an opportunity to respond to a couple of comments from Tim and Jason.

[Andrew quotes Jason:]

'To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.'
-Abraham Lincoln.
...I find the Abraham Lincoln quote personally offensive in this context.

[Andrew quotes Tim:]

It's easier to be part of a discussion with an inquiring mood than an accusatory one. Much appreciated.

[And Andrew continues, with his comments on Jason and Tim's posts:]

Okay lookee here. It's not for me or Gordo or anyone to say that YOU, yes YOU are a coward for not getting up and having a go. Clearly not everyone needs to get up and fight every battle (Tim's point), and not everyone needs to make synodical (okay, I think I just made that word up) activism their top priority (your point, Jason). But here's the general observation – when nobody makes a stand shouldn't someone feel guilty? Is God really calling everybody to be Obadiah and nobody to be Elijah? Or Daniel? Or Phinehas (okay too graphic)?

These are the things I do know:

1. Melbourne evangelicals have a culture of self-censorship and everyone has a reason not to speak.
- for some synod is a lost cause so they concentrate on other things and walk away;
- those from Sydney feel they need to be careful because they are from Sydney (not Gordo ;-);
- young guys feel like its the job of the leaders;
- the leaders are keeping their noses clean so they can work with the hierarchy and achieve long-term goals;
- those entering the candidature system think they have to conceal their theology.

2. This state of affairs is unhealthy. If we choke down that knot of uncertain fear and guilt and do nothing when we think we probably should be saying something it changes us. It does, as Lincoln says, make us a little more cowardly. It makes it a bit harder next time. This is especially true for guys starting out in ministry (why else did there used to be a policy of putting evangelical curates in lib/cath parishes?) but we are all vulnerable. Even the leaders.

3. It is worth flying our colours even if we can't win the debate. If we want faithful conservative candidates to enter the ministry we need to show them that the Anglican system contains people who will not be cowed. It scarcely needs to be said that this is true for this issue especially - if we say we believe in male responsibility we need to act like men.

I want to believe that this is all changing. As I said, I think there is evidence that this is the case. But that synod was a low point. Let's pray it was the nadir and encourage one another to get into the habit of sticking our necks out.

Brave words, Andrew.


Timothy Wonil Lee said...

Thank you Gordon, for your challenging words.

Gordon Cheng said...

Not me, Timothy! Andrew Moody. He's said some great stuff here.

I've fiddled with formatting now to make it a bit clearer who said what, with apologies for any confusion.

Timothy Wonil Lee said...

Oh, haha. Ok, well, thanks for posting Andrew's words, then. :-)

Emma P said...

Here here Andy!