Dear Bishops, please stop traumatising your clergy

Feb 4, 2020 by

by David Baker, Christian Today:

Sometimes it feels as though I am a small child living in a household where the parents are constantly arguing and undermining each other.

Except, of course, that I’m not an infant – I’m a middle-aged man with slightly too much of a stomach but still (though I say it myself) a mighty fine head of hair. And I’m not living at home with my parents, either.

However, I am a church minister trying to exercise some form of pastoring and teaching among three congregations in the Church of England at a time when some of its leaders – some of our Bishops – seem to spend much of the time undermining each other and long-established church teaching.

So when I ask our Bishops, ‘Please stop traumatising your clergy,’ I don’t think this is hyperbole. I mean, quite sincerely, that I find what is going on, to put it mildly, ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience’ – which is what the definition of trauma is. And it needs to stop.

It’s like walking on egg-shells. You wonder what on earth the next thing will be, coming out of the blue, that brings confusion and disruption into everyday parish ministry. Take these past two weeks. On one day we have a superb restatement of the 2,000-year old orthodox Christian view on sex and marriage. Lots of hostility in the secular world, of course – but no surprise there. That’s par for the course and always has been (as 1 Peter 4v4 makes clear).

But then we had a significant number of Bishops coming out and criticising their own statement with a kind of passive-aggressive, pseudo-spiritual language that is actually very disingenuous. Oh yes, they don’t overtly reject the statement per se – it’s just the way it came out, the timing of it, the wording that was used – as though introducing a few swirly flower motifs in the margins, changing the font from ‘Times New Roman’ to ‘Comic Sans’, and sending the whole thing out in a gift-wrapped presentation box with a free Parker pen was all that was required to satisfy them.

Read here

Also from Christian Today: Conservative views on sexuality ‘need to be part of an ongoing conversation’ – Bishop of Norwich


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