Thursday, 16 July 2009

Princely Bishop of Durham rides to the rescue

There's nothing quite like a good Church of England bishop in full purple wrath mode. The Bishop of Durham Dr Tom Wright, in his op-ed comment for today's Times, gives marvellous rhetorical shape to the grand old tradition of the Durham prince bishops. I knew he was writing it, because I asked him to. But even so, on reading it over coffee and croissants in Kew this morning, I was a bit stunned. I half expected a little army of purple-shirted crozier-waving mounted bishops to charge out of the newsprint and start doing battle with the fluffy kittens under my feet.

Like many Anglicans, perhaps, I've always in my heart greeted talk of schism with an inner response of 'yeah yeah'. Steve Bates, of The Guardian, was always confident it was inevitable. I was equally confident it would never happen, however much it was threatened. Even with Gafcon, ACNA, FCA and all the other acronyms of new life springing forth from the primordial chaos of the Anglican alphabet soup, it still seemed safe to assume the Church would somehow muddle through as usual. But it hasn't. What is so significant about the Bishop of Durham's intervention, and especially I would argue in a paper such as The Times, is that he has come to be associated with the 'open' or moderate evangelical group Fulcrum, the stayers not the splitters, the ones who we all secretly suspect are liberal at heart. Read more
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