It was strange to discover that my comments on Gender Issues has been partially cut and pasted on to Ruth's Blog and my words have caused a great stushie over there!
Again, I'm being set up as the "baddie", the "anti-women guy", and various other things too! I'm feeling uncomfortable about the way things are going in the SEC, but to suggest that I'm in any way non-supportive of women being appointed to the upper echelons of Church life and work is simply nonsense.
I was part of the selection committee in our Diocese when we were electing our current Bishop, and there were three candidates put before our electoral synod. One of these was a woman without much parish experience, but someone who I believed to have all the gifts and talents required to be an excellent bishop and leader in mission. So, let's get that one out of the way. I am pro women bishops and hope we have one soon. Ruth herself has all the credentials for being an excellent bishop, and this time next year may well be Bishop of Edinburgh. I would applaud that appointment.
It has to be said that, in my opinion, we have in our Diocese , the most gifted clergyperson I have had the delight to encounter. She has a senior position through merit.
Perhaps my concerns have been misunderstood. I'll try again.
The Gender Audit needed to be done and I have no problems with that. However, there now seems to be an almighty rush to put things right. If what I was hearing at Diocesan Synod was wrong, then I apologise, but basically we were being told that in future, those responsible for making appointments to senior positions within the Church, had to always consider the imbalance we have at the moment. That sounds like positive discrimination towards women however you put it. It sounds like, "We must try to appoint a woman here, to be seen to be aware of the terrible imbalance we have."
I think positive discrimination demeans women who I think are perfectly capable of being appointed on their own merits, whether to Dean, Cathedral Chapters, or whatever you care to name.
Now that we seem to be in a dreadful hurry to redress the imbalance, many capable and gifted men will be overlooked, simply because we must be seen to be appointing women as often as we can.
I do not have any real senior position in the Church and a look at my ministry career will testify that I've never been a career priest in search of glory or titles. After Saturday, however, I almost felt like apologising for being Convenor of the Diocesan Church in Society Action Network, knowing, as I do, many women, ordained and lay, who could adequately fill that post. When a man has to consider apologising for being a man, then we are in a pretty pickle.
I suggested that we give time time, and eventually, especially in the SEC, things will work out.
Again, it would be nice to discuss this issue on my own blog where the full text appears, but I enjoy reading Ruth's Blog anyway, so to visit often is no chore on my part!
Comments from my post Synod may be read as they are part of this debate