I had heard a rumor that Kenneth Stevenson was about to drop something of a ‘bomb’. It seems that his book A Fallible Church, published this week by DLT includes an essay by the Bishop of Liverpool, generally a conservative evangelical, who apologizes for his opposition to the appointment of Jeffrey John (a gay man) as Bishop of Reading. His essay is on his diocesan website. The storm around the appointment of this Suffragan in the diocese of Oxford led Archbishop Williams to pressure Jeffrey John to withdraw from the nomination. Bishop Jones is an interesting man who was in Atlanta a year or so ago and I had a chance to meet him. He is very committed to the stewardship of creation and was in the USA encouraging some conservative evangelical groups to embrace this as part of their biblical agenda for the world. I fear his embrace of David and Jonathan and Jesus and the Beloved Disciple as biblical models for same gender relationships will alienate him from many of his friends. I have long since stopped claiming the label ‘evangelical’, but this is the kind of honesty that I admire greatly. I share with the evangelical party of the church (and I hope with many others) a belief in the transforming love of God in Christ and the importance and desirability of making a conscious decision to follow Jesus (using whatever words are helpful for describing that decision) as part of living and sharing the Gospel.
Today is not April Fools day, but Shrove Tuesday and the day when many will enjoy pancakes for supper. At All Saints’ these will be cooked and served by intrepid members of our Global Missions group. Pancakes for supper are not my favorite thing to eat, but I love the occasion which includes the burning of last year’s palms of Palm Sunday to make ashes for Ash Wednesday tomorrow. On Shrove Tuesday we are shriving ourselves of things we will forgo in the Lenten fast, traditionally including butter, sugar and eggs—hence the pancakes. I have had such good time since thanksgiving with a plenitude of parties that I have begun to amuse myself by thinking less of Shrove Tuesday and more of ‘Shrove January’.