|AB Antje Jackelén PB Jefferts Schori Ven Peggy Jackson|
“On July 8, 2012, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached her brand of post-Christian religion while masquerading as a Christian bishop,” reported convention attendee Dr. Sarah Frances Ives. “She mocked most of the crucial doctrines of the Christian faith, including the God of creation, the Incarnation, and the Trinity. She accomplishes this through her demeaning use of rhetoric. She taunts the Lord by the use of the name ‘Big Man’ and then points her finger at everyone listening and tells them that they have ‘missed the boat.’
“Jefferts Schori then proclaims that she has the answer for this. We all need the ‘act of crossing boundaries’ to become God after which our hands become a ‘sacrament of mission.’ In this sermon, Jefferts Schori continued her mission of destroying the Christian faith through her rhetorical device of dismissive ridicule". Read the whole sad story here.
In Sweden the appointment of Antje Jackelén as Archbishop of the Church of Sweden has prompted one of the church’s most pre-eminent theologians, Professor Eva Hamberg, to leave her post as a member of the church’s theological council in protest against bishop Antje Jackelén’s failure to stand behind the Church of Sweden’s profession of faith. In a number of interviews Professor Hamberg has expressed her disappointment that 'not even the top leader of the church' will clearly profess a Christian faith but wavers between Jesus and Muhammed. Professor Hamberg has also renounced her position as priest and her membership of the church.
When candidates were asked if they thought Jesus presented a truer picture of God than Muhammed she could not choose between the two. The report continues: It is not only Jackelén’s motto and her unwillingness to put Jesus ahead of Muhammed that has evoked strong feelings among many committed Christians. During the pre-appointment questioning, the new archbishop also said that the Church of Sweden has more in common with other religions than with other Christian churches, that the Virgin Birth must be understood metaphorically, that hell doesn’t exist and that the Biblical texts should not be taken as truth. The full sad story here.
In England Jackelén's appointment has sparked a row. Not so much about her suitability to lead a Christian church but the implication that gender was the issue, something pounced on by the Rev Miranda Threlfall-Holmes in her blog about "Christianity, History, Feminism" with particular emphasis on the later. The Rev Sally Hitchiner Kicked off with her tweet: "Antje Jackelen elected Sweden's first woman archbishop - Come on England: the Swedes are decades ahead again!" Never mind the quality! If someone else does it we should do it too and should have done it first. That was the response here and here to the news that the Church in Wales voted in favour of women bishops.
The appointment of Antje Jackelén made it crystal clear that the major imperative was to appoint a woman. There was less concerned about her beliefs. As the Rev Peter Ould wrote in response to Sally Hitchiner's tweet: Are you not slightly concerned she denies parts of the Creed? Is that OK because she's XX? Perhaps those making the appointment were influenced by anything goes in today's liberal church, particularly in the example of TEC.
The liberal Church of England is desperate to see women bishops at any cost. This was the reaction of the Archdeacon of Llandaff after she was "shocked" by the General Synod vote in November. She said:
“I feel saddened that the Synod lay members revealed themselves badly out of touch with the feelings of ordinary people, inside the Church and beyond. It gave a quite wrong message about the Church’s attitude to women in all walks of society, appearing to deny women’s ability to hold positions of leadership and authority, and imply that they should be content with discrimination and subordinate status.”
The Archdeacon proposed the amendment to the Bishops' Bill in Wales which denied faithful Anglicans a statutory right to continue as loyal Anglicans in the Church in Wales. Peggy Jackson is an intelligent woman, a chartered accountant and a pilot but she is unable, or is unwilling, to see the difference between people of faith who take the teaching of Christ more seriously than the opinions of people in the street. We do not deny "women’s ability to hold positions of leadership and authority" or "imply that they should be content with discrimination and subordinate status." (Interview here).
I can understand her feelings after being deserted by her husband when she said, “I was at a low in my life, I thought I would give the Church a go and I found the most wonderful welcome. I was feeling desperate and it was a lifeline at a very black time.”
Of course it is all about gender with some women serving their own interests above all else. However embittered some may feel they should be able to see that it is a very black time for many cradle Anglicans. They know the tide has turned but it is not a feminine trait to abandon others. All that is asked is a lifeline.