I’ve spent the evening catching up on various blog posts and in doing so I’ve realised that I been mentally arguing both for, and against, being seen to stand up for what I think, though the subject matter has varied.
First up, I was reading up on what exactly is understood by Christian Feminism in a post by Miranda Threlfall-Holmes. I found her explanation really helpful, but wondered about the need to constantly rise to the bait of people who either (a) don’t think through what they’re saying, or (b) are being deliberately provocative to get a rise out of ‘the opposition’.
In the midst of this there’s a conversation going on via Twitter about the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Apparently the Daily Telegraph’s word is good enough to count as an announcement of reality for many. Really, shouldn’t we wait until Lambeth Palace, Number 10, or Buckingham Palace make an announcement before passing comment and second-guessing a judgement on the brave man who will clasp what some might regard as a poison chalice? Aren’t we rising to the media’s bait if we don’t?
And then I read my friend Claire’s post on Remembrance and wearing badges – wearing as I did so:
- 2 Twibbons on my gravitar (one for women bishops, one for the Royal British Legion),
- 2 wristbands on my arm (one RBL, one in memory of the Royal Marine whose funeral I helped lead two years ago),
- and a RBL poppy lapel pin that can be seen on my collar when my coat is on!
And so I realised that perhaps I was suffering a severe case of double standards! I want to be seen to be supporting certain things, yet I am unwilling to speak out against what I do regard as the misplaced understandings of others, whilst also griping about those who wish to close as soon as possible, an uncomfortable chapter of uncertainty in the church.
Or am I? I wonder if it’s a personal thing.
You see, I’ve never been particularly aware of the remarks or assumptions that people make about things I believe are important. Perhaps it’s because I don’t think very quickly, or I share with them a certain shallowness of thought. Usually it’s others who get upset on my behalf about things that might be said about me, or about the Christian faith I share, or how I am called to live that out. I prefer to ‘be’ and ‘do’, rather than speak – unless of course I’m in a pulpit or on this blog!
And though the next Archbishop of Canterbury will I guess be my Managing Director in the long term, or perhaps because of that, I’m not too keen to speak before being spoken to on that subject.
But over the last couple of years, the marking of Remembrance Day and the issue of women bishops, have become more deeply personal. Adam’s funeral turned out to be a huge turning point in my ministry, as I’ve talked about before. And as a woman now training for the priesthood who is finally coming to terms with the inheritance my mother left me, it seems right to care about the future nature of leadership in the church I am called to be a priest in.
Because these things are personal, I want to be recognised for caring about them, so I wear the appropriate badges, and hope they have integrity with who I am and what I care about.
So I go to bed wondering at the badges that Jesus might have worn, and realise that by speaking up, and standing out for what he knew to be right, he gave us possibly the most recognised badge of all, the cross.
I wear one of those as well, but it’s unlikely to cost me my vocation as it has others their career!