Best of the Blogs July 2014

My July was happy and busy (though it should be noted that I did next to no writing. It turns out I can either live or write, but not do both at the same time). Meanwhile, the world fell apart (Ukraine, Iraq, Gaza), and the Church of England accepted Women Bishops.


Women Bishops. I rejoiced when I heard the Archbishop of York announce, ‘the motion has carried in all three houses’. Last time, the motion for women bishops was narrowly defeated, because although there was a two-thirds majority vote in the House of Bishops and Clergy, they were six votes short in the House of Laity (non-ordained people). The papers were full of disgust at a ‘misogynistic’ and ‘behind the times’ Church, but they failed to understand the reason it hadn’t gone through.

It fell in November 2012 not because the Church of England didn’t want women bishops, but because there was not enough provision and protection for those AngloCatholics and Conservative Evangelicals who could not in conscience accept women bishops. Some of those who were egalitarian in theology and for women bishops, voted against it then, for that reason. I found myself agreeing with Elaine Storkey’s speech, who said that although she was disappointed that the motion had been defeated back in 2012, she is now glad that it didn’t go through then, because what is on the table now is better.

Back in 2012, the speeches were impassioned and trenchant – either for or against, and with not much movement or grace between them. In 2014, the speeches had a different tone, with the assumption that the motion would go through, and expressions of love and forbearance on both sides.

What made the difference? Between then and now, Justin Welby has gathered together the main stakeholders, and they have hammered out a workable solution, with hard compromises on both sides (and particularly hard compromises for the conservative evangelicals). These compromises, which give some level of provision for those who object to having a woman Bishop, have meant that the Church can go forward together. I really hope that the tone of love and inclusion in the speeches of Synod will be borne out in action and speech, and that Conservative Evangelicals and AngloCatholics will not be ostracised. I agree with many speaking in Synod that the appointment of a Conservative Evangelical bishop would go a long way to signal that Conservative Evangelicals were fully included and valued: it has been a long time coming.

I love this part of Archbishop Justin Welby’s speech to General Synod on women bishops:

I expect and hope the vote to go through, and I rejoice in that. But I also rejoice that we are promising to seek the flourishing in the church of all those who disagree. If I did not think that was likely, I could not support this legislation. You don’t chuck out family, or even make it difficult for them to be at home: you love them and seek their wellbeing, even when you disagree.”

Here’s the full speech. 

On Gaza

On Christians being persecuted in Iraq

On the Assisted Dying debate

“…we don’t like seeing pain. We try to shut it out, eliminate it; but that is not what compassion is. Compassion is sharing the pain, accompanying the other through the valley of darkness and the shadow of death. That takes guts and faith in equal measure.” – Sister Catherine, iBenedictines

On the spirituality of suffering:

On M.E.:


Over to you:

  • What’s the best of what you’ve read on the interwebs this month?


4 Responses to Best of the Blogs July 2014

  1. Pam Smith 9th August, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    Tanya, this is a real treasure chest of interesting things!

    I don’t know much about the lightening technique apart from knowing someone whose wife did it and was completely cured of Me (in his terms). He now has the view that everyone can be cured of ME by doing the lightening technique. I know everyone can’t be! “Solutions” like this – and graded exercise – worry me because they take us right back to the old mind over matter approach. I strongly suspect things “work” when people are getting better anyway.

    There was a definite turning point with my son – after he had his appendix out – where over about a year his energy levels steadily improved. Had he been put on any kind of regime at that point, it would have seemed that it was the regime that improved him. As it happens I was told there was some link – or might be – between appendix infections and ME symptoms – but there’s no way of picking up that an appendix is inflamed before it’s so bad it needs to be taken out.

    Hope you are feeling good.


    • Tanya 13th September, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

      Pam – thank you SO much for this comment, it really helps to know that I am not the only one who has this approach when it comes to healing with ME. Your story about your son is very astute. I’ve noticed that even when patients themselves answer with, ‘don’t know what was the turning point, but I just started getting better’, their friends will still fix on the last thing that the patient tried, and claim it as the solution. It seems that instinct is very deeply ingrained. I have also been approached by some Lightning Process evangelists, with varying degrees of bullying. It is not helpful. Thanks so much for stopping by – you’re a star.

  2. Jocelyn 8th August, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    Thanks for the mention, sweetheart! Much appreciated.

    • Tanya 13th September, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

      You are so welcome. Thinking of you especially at the moment.

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