Sometimes the only way to get a point across is to satirise it.
Satire is always unfair, but that is why it gets under your skin and makes you think about issues in a different way.
Hopefully it can also sometimes be funny ... read on!

Monday, 20 February 2012

In praise of Arranged Marriage...

It would be such a shame not to let the Bride walk up the aisle!   That seemed to be the message from Bishop Graham Kings last weekend, in a speech to support the Anglican Covenant.

Even if she isn't sure she wants to go through with it, it would be tragic to stop the wedding plans - the Archbishop has bought her a beautiful dress and the flowers will be lovely!

Talking of the Covenant in terms reminiscent of the Marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer, he points out that the parents of the bride have worked so hard to put it all together, and their hard work, "should not be dismissed today ‘unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly’"

Instead, this arranged marriage between the members of the Anglican Communion "should be accepted ‘reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly and in the fear of God’."

This surprising concept of marriage in the 21st Century seems to take little notice of the wishes of the partners who are to be married - after all, what do they know?  No need for a shotgun here though - not when the 'fear of God' is involved.

The problem is, of course, that the prospective marriage partners are getting decidedly twitchy feet.  Out of the 15 Dioceses in the CofE who have now voted on the Anglican Covenant, 10 of them have voted 'No', including Bishop Kings' diocese of Salisbury.

Even so, the Bishop pleaded, "It is vitally important that  the Covenant is discussed at General Synod in July.  If less than half of the Dioceses vote for the Anglican Communion Covenant, it will not be allowed to be discussed at General Synod. That would be tragic."

Readers of this blog will remember of course, that General Synod has already discussed the Covenant.  Many people spoke against it including one Bishop who said it would lead to 'factory farmed religion rather than free range faith'.   Synod members who were inclined to vote against it were told that it would be wrong to do that because, after all they were only voting to pass it on to dioceses for consideration.

Now however, as the Ecclesiastical Dominos have failed to fall in line, the message appears to have changed.  Now it would be a great shame for dioceses do not return it to General Synod for discussion, according to Bishop Kings - even though they don't want it.

So when is the right time to pull out of a wedding?  Is it better to wait for the wedding day?  For the wedding service perhaps?  Indeed, for the moment of the vows?  Afterall, the planning, the arrangements, the detail which has gone into putting together a wedding of this size, is so much more important than the marriage which follows.

Or is Bishop Kings hoping that if the bride gets all the way to the altar, she won't have the courage to duck out of the final vows in front of her assembled family and friends?

Either way, you would think that a bishop would know that unless the partners are genuinely committed, it really is better to think twice.  And all the evidence from the CofE points to ambivalent mistrust rather than committed love.

The real problem with the marriage metaphore, however, is that the Anglican Communion is more like an existing family of brothers and sisters, rather than a loving couple in the flush of first love. 

And the Prayer Book specifically forbids marriage between siblings because of the bad blood it breeds.  So surely it would be better to stop the wedding before things get really out of hand.

Whichever way you look at it, this marriage is a bad idea and the best advice anyone could give are those three immortal words...

Walk     Away      Now

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

BOGOF Bishops

The Church of England has come up with a new scheme to keep its customers in the cut-throat world of ecclesiastical consumerism.
In a bid to keep its loyal customers who prefer their bishops to have balls, the CofE is proposing a bumper deal for traditionalists – BOGOF – Buy one get one free!
The special offer ensures that a male bishop comes free with every female bishop appointed.  Two for the price of one! 
And who could possibly refuse this mega-offer?    Surely it is too good to be true?  Surely, there must be a catch?  And there is!  You can only get your free BOGOF Bishop if you choose a woman in the first place. 
So there is an irony in the idea…
BOGOF Bishops are being put forward to ensure that traditionalists stay within the church – but the effect of BOGOF Bishops could be to encourage the appointment of women to take advantage of this special deal.  Every diocese who wants to cash in would have to choose a woman bishop in the first place to benefit to the full.
So perhaps then the CofE should go further.  In the interests of equality, perhaps the BOGOF Bishops deal should extend its appeal, and insist that the offer applies to all episcopal appointments.
Appoint a woman Bishop and get a male one free!
Appoint a male Bishop and get a female one free!
That way everyone would get the BOGOF Bishop deal, and the CofE would doubtless double its annual turnover as a result.
Or would it...?