Monday, May 18, 2015

The Presiding Bishop Slate, 2015

So, we have a slate of four nominees for the next presiding bishop, all men, all from eastern dioceses, one black. There is some predictable creeching about this, particularly in the lack of a female candidate. It appears that there is only one woman who could have been nominated, and that she declined to be considered. I note that of late women have tended to be elected as suffragans rather coadjutors or diocesans, and you can argue back and forth as to the degree this represents some sort of lingering sexism.

At any rate, it's a decent slate, in spite of grexxing from someone at the E-Cafe about one candidate's "lack of prophetic voice on marriage equality in the church." OK, any place where people are hearing "prophetic voices" is a place to flee from, lest a real prophet make an appearance. I'm somewhat more concerned about tales that another candidate has been hard on traditionalist parishes in his diocese.

So, what do we need? Well, Scott Gunn has his list of qualities, and I have mine, which is shorter but largely consonant with his, to whit:

  • Orthodox. No finger-crossing on the creed, no hedging on the resurrection. A bishop must represent the church's teaching, and all the more so for the church's chief clerical spokesman.
  • Articulate. We need someone who can face the press and not sound confused or obscure.
  • Inspiring. I am not necessarily convinced that we need a visionary leader; vision is too often connected with wild deviancy. But we need someone who leads others to say, "I want to be part of their church."
  • Conciliatory. The battle against the marriage traditionalists has been destructive and has been literally costly, to no good end that I see. The combat must end.
  • Prayerful. Above all else, we need a presiding bishop who is engaged in their religion.

OK, so it sounds like a letter for hiring the Rt. Rev. Mary Poppins. But I think there is the potential for this in our slate.

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