Monday, April 10, 2006

Let The Challenge Begin!

John Kirkley (Oasis/CA) offers the kind of prophetic challenge we need to be hearing more of in his reflections on but one of the problmatic aspects of the report from the Special Commission. Read it all on John's blog -- meditatio -- but this'll get you started:

What concerns me is that the caution is framed in terms of folks whose "manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church." Now, I know that this is left vague on purpose, and probably rightly so. Still, how seriously can Christians be expected to take such an admonition? Jesus was crucified because his manner of life offended deeply the sensibilities of the cultural consensus of his time. He was rejected by the religious authorities, tortured and executed by officials of the Roman Empire. God forbid he should be King, or even High Priest!

So, how does emulating Jesus lead to a refusal to elect bishops who "challenge the wider church"? Are we only to elect as bishops those men who reinforce the cultural and religious status quo (clearly, women would have to be excluded altogether on the basis of this criterion lest we threaten the sexist norms that hold sway in our church)? Can we only elect men who
refuse to take risks for the sake of the gospel, who refuse to speak boldly and prophetically, who take care that no one is challenged to grow or change or repent or sacrifice?

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