Vicarious History

The Vicar of DibleyThere are certain historic events that stay with us forever, even if we only witness them vicariously via the tv and radio.

Forty-nine years ago today, JFK was assassinated. I was quite young, but remember my cousin being very upset as she rushed in to switch on the tv. (Her family had emigrated to the US, but she lived with us while she finished her education.)

There was the death of Princess Diana which heard about on the radio news as I lay in bed on a Sunday morning, although I was more sorry about Mother Theresa who died the same day.

I watched the events of 9/11 unfold on BBC 24 because I happened to be off work that day. Then there were the confused reports about 7/7 in London that slowly became more horrifying.

Anyway, what set me down this particular memory lane, apart from the JFK anniversary, was the ruling of the general synod the other day on the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England.

You knew this was to be an historic moment because Radio Five cut into its news programme to bring decision live. Except it wasn’t momentous at all because the idea of equality in the eyes of God (or his representatives on Earth) got the knock back.

Inevitably, there were tears before bedtime following the vote which was jolly close by all accounts and swung on the views of the lay representatives rather than those of the bishops and the vicars.

Hands have been thrown in the air by the politicians and David Cameron went as far as to say that the church should ‘get with the programme’, whatever that means.

As I’m not at all religious or well up on the theological arguments, I’m not really in a position to pass comment. But I will.

I realise that this was important if you happen to be a church goer or employee, but how much does it matter to the majority of the population? Not a lot I would hazard, even if there were plenty of ‘disgraceful’ comments being read out on the radio and published in the press.

The church does what it wants to do and it isn’t for us heathens to question that in the same way that we shouldn’t challenge them on gay marriage. If a church is happy to perform the ceremony, that’s fine, and if they’re not, well that’s fine too.

But if the church is so far from public opinion and what the politicians think, isn’t it time it was separated from the state?

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

5 comments… Add yours
  • Roger Green 22nd November 2012

    As a churched person, though not that one, I think these things DO matter, because it expresses whether people of faith think the Bible is a stuck dead religion, or a living faith. when women are priests, e.g., it shows the secular world how expansive faith and God can be. And the opposite, as in your example.

  • Trevor Rowley 22nd November 2012

    Don’t lose too much sleep over this one, Mr P, it won’t happen in our lifetime. Unfortunately, the Anglican church has become so “wishy washy” in recent years as it seeks desperately to be everybody’s friend. Rather than pander to public opinion perhaps it should focus more on reminding itself how we got here in the first place. God’s message is tough, even at the best of times, and tradition is there to function as a backbone to hold everything up and off the ground. We have been told, for some time, that the various Christian denominations should be working towards echumanism. This isn’t going to happen in a million years if the Anglican church continues with such proposals.

  • john 22nd November 2012

    I dont give a stuff about gay marriage in the church
    if the church in the uk wont let women be bishops then I dont stand a hope in hell to say “i do” to chris infront of an altar
    mind you if we indeed did have the chance to do it… I would not bother…. not religious….. not bothered!

  • Reverend Pudding 23rd November 2012

    I am anti-religion – whatever its hue. However, I think that an Anglican vote for lady bishops would have sent a healthy message out to our Muslim fellow citizens whose own religion is so misogynistic as to be positively medieval. It would have said – hey you lot – this is Great Britain and we are changing, developing – giving women their rightful equality – even in the area of church leadership – in spite of how we did it in medieval times. How about appointing a few female imams and letting Muslim men and women worship together? After all you are in Great Britain dudes – not Ancient Babylon!

  • Reverend Pudding 23rd November 2012

    P.S. No bishop bashing!


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