There comes a time, I believe, when you have to resign on principle. Perhaps the organisation you belong to no longer represents your views and you cannot, in all conscience remain a member. Or the company you work for has embraced a business model you wish to have no part of. Apologies for misplaced prepositions but it's only a blog.
So, last night, our Parochial Church Council was faced with two motions to debate:
1. Are we as a Church in favour of the ordination of Women as Bishops?
2. Are we happy that this legislation is the best that can be achieved and that it sufficiently honours the promises made to provide an honoured place for those who do not agree?
Item 1, as might be expected in a church such as ours, sailed through. There was one vote and speech against but it was of the 'I haven't had enough time to think about it' variety (18 years since women were ordained priest) rather than the 'I disagree on principle.' We are now, as a PCC, in favour of Women as Bishops, although I fail to understand if this is substantially different to being in favour of (lower case) women as bishops.
Item 2 was a bit stranger. I felt that the wording was difficult for me because I'm not sure that the legislation is the best that can be achieved, nor that it sufficiently honours promises made, but I don't care. I would never have made such promises. You can't easily make promises to safeguard dissenters in a democracy. The best you can promise is a vote on the matter in future (cf alternative vote 'promises' and the outcome recently).
I have all along felt that those who cannot accept women as priests should do the honourable thing and leave the C of E. The chair told me if that was the case I should vote yes.
After a truly unimaginative discussion in which no argument seemed to sway opinion especially and no one speaker fervently disagreed with any other and no strong will emerged we took a vote.
I voted in favour of the motion. Everyone else either voted against it or abstained. Everyone else.
I refer to Tom Baker's loony sea-captain in one of the Black Adder series:
Black Adder: Don't you need a crew on a ship as big as this?
Captain: Opinion is divided on the matter. All the other captains say you do; I say you don't.
Christians are rubbish at taking any decision that might hurt anyone even if not taking it will hurt more people, more often and for longer.
I work in the Church of England. Is there any other body out there that moves slower?