Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Female bishops? Ha! Dream on!

Hmm, isn't is strange? For twenty odd years the church of England has ordained women as priests. They've considered them worthy enough to wear a cassock, conduct the liturgy and carry out other prescribed ecclesiastical duties. But today the synod denied them the right to promotion.

 Priest - that's palatable.

Bishop - you must be having a laugh!

After all Jesus had twelve MALE disciples - that's right - twelve full-blooded, breathing males NOT FEMALES

And what's more, God placed the  man as the natural head in the home and in the church. Does the Bible not say in the book of Genesis that the man would rule over the woman? Did the great apostle Paul not say that women should not speak in church. If at all they had questions, they should ask their husbands at home?

Hmm...strange. But women have been priests in the Church of England for decades!

Funnily enough, you don't come across many. And when you do, not only are they a novelty, but they fashion themselves so closely to men, that you completely forget they are women!

It's called power dressing. Guess it's one way of softening the blow. Allowing the male psyche to adjust to the idea of a woman lording it over him. So power dressing has been the saving grace of many female bus drivers, newspaper editors, managing directors, politicians...by becoming one of the lads, they pose less of a threat.

The vote against went through by the slightest of margins:
House of bishops - Yes
House of clergy - Fine
House of Laity - Are you kidding me? No way dude!

Just six more 'yes' from the House of Laity would have sealed the deal.

As you can imagine, the ever-ready critical commentators jumped onto the dashboard to blast the 'medieval church' that has become totally irrelevant and pointless in the 21st century.

Nice one. Criticism comes cheap if you ask me.

I don't support the church's position by any means, but before we cast stones, let's take care with our glass houses.

Let's start with politics. Currently there are 20 women leaders (presidents and prime ministers in the world) - wow! that's amazing isn't it? Yes, it is heartwarming. But no, considering there are 192 countries in the world, that's a tiny percentage.

So while we are pointing one finger at the church, four are pointing back at us.

Look at world institutions like the UN - which sex dominates?

The world of finance?

The world of sports?

The world of academia?

I won't go off on a long-winded rant; the long and short of it is, it has nothing to do with the church. It has everything to do with deep-rooted norms and customs. No matter how liberal we feel beneath our charades of education and modernism, the idea of a woman at the helm of events and as the overriding figure of authority still gets under our skin - men and women alike.

The vote by the synod in England today simply reinforced the deeply ingrained ideas of patriarchy and male dominance. So while it's convenient to lambast the church, let's start with the man in the mirror.

Can we really stand women lording it over us? Do we think women should be allowed to be key authoritative figures?

Answer? Well, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, many of us would admit we have some traces of anti-women sentiments buried deep within. We may avow equality on the outside, but on the inside we feel very differently.


  1. Hmmm! Women Bishop! An issue as sensitive as this has to be approached with one or half leg.Considering the obvious, which is we, having different faith.To you or some or many, can a particular reason or doctrine of mine be ever reasonable or accepted? Our vast faith, which is no fault of ours because we acquire them by birth and by inclination should to an "extent" be welcomed but as a function of choice.

    Traditionally, from the time of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry, we all are conversant of the norm, it has been Male all along.Now things change,Oluchi just like your words can we allow women lord it over 'us', hmm! It depends lol that's why it becomes a function of choice.
    Today and Professionally, we have them at key positions and from their antecedents are doing well.
    Using church as a case study, it becomes an individual thing and not 'titles'. I think the question will be like this - whose image are you? And not your 'titles'.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jude. The house of Laity exercised their choice, however I don't think it's wholly fair that 324 voted 'yes' and 122 voted 'no' but because of church rules, they didn't get the go ahead.

      When the norm, our choices and inclinations trash all notions of fairness, it's about time that we dig deeper & ask ourselves - why make such choices? Do they make the world a better place or worse off?

    2. Lydia, is it really all about making the world a better place? Thought the whole idea behind religion in whatever guise is about life after here; Making Heaven!! In politics, Academia, etc its fine to promote women leadership especially, with the huge population gap. If world population figures are anything to go by, it is no longer a man’s world. Majority sex should and ought to own the world and therefore should lead in determining how to make it a better place. On the other hand, the message of the church and indeed most orthodox churches like the Anglican, is not about the world but the message of salvation.

  2. I think a question we should be asking is - is the slim marginof the NO vote,an indication of the desire for change within the ranks of the C.O.E? A gradual change towards actually allowing women bishops - gradual enough to achieve the desired change just not quick enough to shock the conservatism within the church.I'm sure the sisterhood within the equal rights movement and Feminism feel quite cheated by this decision.Personally I have no problem with women bishops.I am not sure how much effort the latter groups have contributed in the lobby for women bishops? Sitting in the fringes and taking potshots at some perceived sexism will not do.

    1. I see it more as an indication of an electorate that are not sure where their affections lie! What is a woman? What is a bishop? Maybe redefining the two could help clarify what looks like a vote in which the voters themselves are undecided. One thing I continue to believe however is that life is never about what you CANNOT DO. No! Living life involves concentrating on what you CAN DO. So I encourage women and men everywhere to choose simply to live fully on daily basis. Afterall Jesus did not have a title when on earth. Yet He chose and was able to impact lives then and even now. The church/status quo or societal norms do not have to determining our plans and take over our thinking, or limit how we touch peoples lives, except we allow them!

  3. Will, thanks for your comment. I totally agree with you. I believe in the next five years, women bishops will be ordained in the C.O.E. Old dogmas are slowly giving way.

    Wouldn't it be nice if it were also happening on a macro-cosmic scale & not just in the C.O.E

  4. Feel totally embarrassed, imagining it make me sleep in pain.

    1. Then please wake up! As neither embarrassment nor pain are great supports of living a full life.

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