Friday, November 23, 2012
a woman on women bishops
Remarkable essay by Sarah Coakley, Anglican Priest and Systematic Theologian at Cambridge University on women bishops. (I’ve engaged with her work previously – When non-priests pray: A conversation between Sarah Coakley and Bono Vox regarding incorporative pneumatology and priestly prayer. And here in relation to indigenous relationships.) She points to the absurb lack of logic in ordaining priests while not allowing them to be bishops -”an offence to theological truth, a running sore of incoherence in our theological life-world without whose resolution and healing no other, related, theological project in our Church can I believe go forward and flourish.”
What is fascinating is her demand for theological rigour and depth with the tradition of the church, yet in a way that (to my reading) is still giving enormous permission to fresh expressions.
Hooker’s perspective does indeed allow for novelties in the rational reception of Bible and tradition: the plastic nature of Hooker’s conception of reason, and its deep understanding of historical embeddedness, does allow for creative development in response to the primacy of Scriptural authority and the deposit of tradition, without the danger of a merely historical or moral relativism. There is nothing in Hooker, then, that would give credence to the slogan that “nothing new is ever true.” But there is everything to suggest the possibility of hopes for future creativity and renewal.
In other words, (my words) being “traditional” is never an excuse to block innovation. Rather being “traditional” is to be innovative, to expect a great depth of creativity, that emerges from the hard work of understanding context and one’s roots.