Theology versus Sex
In the lead letter of today's Guardian, PCN chair, Adrian Alker, while paying tribute to the late Bishop David Jenkins, also calls for less preoccupation with sexuality in the Church of England and more honest debate about theology.
Two Anglican bishops in the news: a report that the former bishop of Durham, David Jenkins, has died aged 91 managed to make at least the Guardian online (Report, 4 September); but it was the present bishop of Grantham, Nicholas Chamberlain, who succeeded in making it into print (Business as usual for bishop’s first sermon since coming out, 5 September). Sex has always trumped theology when it comes to selling newspapers.
Few bishops today dare court such theological controversy, concerned as they are to toe the line, to manage church decline and to defend such absurd situations as allowing their clergy to love another person, but if of the same gender not as fully or completely as their straight counterparts. Jenkins, over 10 years ago, blessed the civil partnership of two gay men, despite a church ban. His scholarship, his critical understanding of scripture and his pastoral concern to show the love of Christ would have no truck whatsoever with the hypocrisy and dishonesty shown by today’s House of Bishops over matters of gay love and the clergy. When theology does trump sex we might once more see a church on the move in these islands.
Chair, Progressive Christianity Network Britain, the Rev Adrian Alker,
Image taken for the BBC, used with thanks
Bishop David Jenkins died last Sunday. Another blog on this site contains tributes from three admirers in his former diocese of Durham.