Cheap shot

There are of course two kinds of bishops: those who read New Directions and are happy to own up to the fact, and those who read New Directions but claim to bin it each month without opening it.

Or, to put it another way, those bishops who are credible and those who are incredible. 30Days is delighted, for the second month running, to salute the Right Reverend (and Very Credible) David James, Bishop of Bradford, who is quoted on his Diocesan website as follows:

‘I am horrified how much I spend on heating and lighting at Bishopscroft. Although New Directions, the Forward in Faith magazine gave me the ‘wooden crazier award’ as the cheapest diocesan bishop in England, I am the 15th most expensive when it comes to my fuel bills! This Lent is a good time to stop and think and to go on a carbon fast and remove a few light bulbs, enough to notice the difference and to remember that the people who will suffer most from global warming are those in the poorest countries who cause it least! However, our advice to Bishop James
– if he wishes to maintain his credibility- is that he should stop calling himself ‘the cheapest diocesan bishop’ and opt instead for ‘the least expensive’!

Has Ruth Gledhill gone bonkers?

There was a time when a Religion Correspondent working for The Times probably wouldn’t have used the word ‘bonkers’ in the same sentence as the words ‘Archbishop of Canterbury’, but we live in interesting times – which may be why the current incumbent of the post felt able last month publicly to ask ‘Has the Archbishop gone bonkers?’
Ruth Gledhill – the Media Strumpet, as she occasionally calls herself – was writing on her blog about that lecture, of course, and, needless to say, her provocative headline soon brought in the punters. Within less than a week, 250 odd (very odd, most of them) folk had posted comments ranging from the downright offensive (A religious parasite
wanting to feather the nests of other religious parasites’), through the infantile (‘bearded twif) to the pig ignorant (‘The Queen should fire Williams’). Bonkers? Given that she posted 22 stories on her blog during the entire month of January which attracted on average just 26 comments each, one might argue that she has proved herself to be anything but!

Liturgy by Homebase

Jason and Tracy Engel’s San Juan Capistrano home hadn’t been blessed before Epiphany Sunday but on January 6 they moved from room to room with a do-it-yourself kit from their church,’ reports Episcopal Life Online. ‘For 10-year-old Sarah, who lingered a few additional seconds over Sparkle Jr, Marie and Martha, her fish, taking charge of the bright blue vial of holy water was especially fun but also very serious,’ the report goes on.

Canon Robert Edwards, Rector of St Margaret of Scotland’s Episcopal Church, said, ‘the interactive, intergenerational liturgy was designed to empower parish families to develop spiritual practices. The Episcopal Church has the brightest, most creative and thoughtful people in Western Christendom and they can figure out how to conduct a meaningful ceremony in the confines of their home!

Ah! An interactive, intergenerational liturgy! And there you were thinking that it was a DIY house blessing because the Rector couldn’t be arsed to go round and do it properly for them! Shame on you!

Bad behaviour

‘It would be easier to let US conservatives secede to join another Anglican province without a fight, but I don’t think that’s a faithful thing to do. Episcopal leaders are stewards of church property and assets, protecting past generations’ legacies and passing them on to future Episcopalians.

Allowing congregations to walk away with church property condones bad behaviour. In a sense, it’s related to the old ecclesiastical behaviour toward child abuse, when priests essentially looked the other way. Bad behaviour must be confronted!

Thus the Presiding Bishop of the ever-wonderful Episcopal Church, speaking to Religion News Service on 16 January. (Comment would be superfluous and probably impossible without lapsing into profanity!)

Education, education, education

We are grateful to for this gem:

‘Members of the Church of England’s General Synod have been told that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that a vote on whether to allow women to become bishops will be taken before 2010… The statement shocked a large number of Synod members, who met and expressed their outrage at the length of time the process was taking. The Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, one of the youngest members of Synod, said she only learned in theological college that women still couldn’t be bishops!

According to Crockford, Ms Threlfall-Holmes graduated from Cambridge in 1995, soon after the first women priests were ordained. She then moved to Durham, where she knocked off a Master’s and a Doctorate, before fetching up at Theological College in 2000. Her Doctoral study formed the basis of her book, Monks and Markets: Durham Cathedral Priory 1460-1520, published in 2005 (OUP, a snip at £62) and she is now Chaplain and Fellow at University College, Durham. Elected to General Synod in 2007 at the tender age of 34, she is quite clearly not without ability.So, one is bound to ask, how in the name of all that is sacred did she manage to come to her faith, discern her vocation, offer herself for ordination, attend a Selection Conference, be sponsored for ordination – all presumably whilst collecting her impressive list of academic qualifications – and still manage to arrive at Cranmer Hall, Durham towards the end of 2000 without realizing that she was a member of a church which did not ordain women as bishops? Answers on a postcard, please!

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