Church Swap

By DeusExMacintosh

I can reveal that Dr Jeffrey John, the openly gay but celibate Dean of St Albans, has been blocked from becoming a bishop once again. He has not been chosen as the next Bishop of Southwark. Liberals will be dismayed that the Church has lost its nerve – but there is no reason for evangelicals to celebrate, either. This is bad news whichever way you look at it:

1) The Church has missed an opportunity to show that it is inclusive of homosexuals.

2) Jeffrey John has gained a reputation as a gifted preacher and effective pastor at St Albans cathedral and would have been a popular bishop.

3) It indicates that the Crown Nominations Commission is afraid of appointing any bishops who might bring a bit of colour.

4) A dignified and talented cleric has been embarrassed again.

5) The row over homosexual clergy could have been brought to a head, but will now fester until a gay priest is finally made a bishop.

It is also bad news for Rowan Williams. Although he is only one of 14 members of the Commission, liberals will be perplexed as to why he allowed John’s name to be included on the shortlist if it was only to be rejected at the last minute. To be fair, he didn’t know that this fact would be leaked to me, and he is said to have been livid with the Commission that it was. But, given what happened in 2003 and his apparent distress at forcing his old friend to stand down from becoming Bishop of Reading, it will surprise many that he didn’t use his influence to try and sway the few undecided members who could have secured his selection.

Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Sunday Telegraph


  1. Posted July 11, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Apparently the evangelical wing aren’t going to be happy unless he’s willing to ‘renounce’ his homosexuality and ask for forgiveness… which would be a trifle awkward given that he’s in a civil partnership with another (male) priest. They’re effectively asking him to divorce! So much for family values…

  2. Posted July 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] : I’ve got a lot of time for Williams and Spong. (Spong’s “Sins of Scripture” is full of grist for the mill).

    But, the hypocrisy and selectiveness of the all the right-wing Abrahamic groups on this issue, not just in “high” Xtian churches, is well dissected in an exchange from the West Wing, where Jed rips into a TV bible-thumping shock jock:

    Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
    Jenna Jacobs: I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
    Bartlet: Yes, it does. Leviticus.
    Jenna Jacobs: 18:22
    Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, and always clears the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath, Exodus 35:2, clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here’s one that’s really important, ’cause we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother, John, for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads?

  3. Posted July 11, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to go OT, but this is a message for DEM. I’m currently at Geneva airport and will leave at 11:50 (10:50 UK time). Basically Alphonse and I (like the couple of dyslexics we are) managed to bugger up the time. The effect of this is that I’ll be back in Edinburgh by mid-afternoon today.

    Dyslexics of the World, Untie.

  4. Posted July 11, 2010 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Bugger. I have to send the gigolo home early.

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