The Panel of Reference—the group appointed by the ABC to deal with contentious bishop-parish oversight issues—has finally spoken on Fort Worth’s request for alternate oversight. [Correction: as Thinking Anglicans clarifies, this is the reponse to a different appliction. I hadn’t realized that FW had two items pending…] It focuses on what FW put up as the presenting issue: the election of a bishop who maintains +Iker’s theological agenda. The money section is the recommendations. Some are good. Others…not so much.
I haven’t the time nor energy to comment on it now except to say these things: 1. I’m struck again that most provinces simply don’t “get” the concept of diocese electing bishops rather than having them imposed on them. 2. I know there are people with well-thought out positions who cannot accept the validity of women clergy on theological grounds. I also know there are a lot more who oppose it on less-than-theological grounds. How do I know this and why do I say it? Because of the number of people (mostly older) who have told me how their minds were changed on this issue by seeing my wife celebrate and preach. Institutionalizing a no-women policy institutionalizes prejudice alongside theology. That is, a mandate of this sort allows the non-theological opposition to remain unchallenged, confirming it and giving it room to flourish under the guise of the status quo.