I am almost in the market for a job! The little curate has a little while left to cook before *ping* - post of first responsibility. Put another way, I watch for vacancies on websites, in Jezebel's Trumpet, in the eavedropped conversations of others - so that I know what is out there when the time is right for the Vernacular Curate to be let loose on the unsuspecting world.
I saw such a vacancy yesterday which I will not name, but which made me shudder to the very core.
Let me remind you that I am one of your Anglo-Catholic types who wears a black shirt and that odd little strip of white plastic (or starched silk when I can afford it). I like anything 'Eucharist', I know how to wear a biretta, know what a maniple is all about, am not afraid of the threat to my masculinity that wearing a little lace might bring, can articulate the differences between a Romanzier and Dearmerite and parp incense from some furrible or other. Yes, dear reader, I am one such type of bloke!
Well, I saw a vacancy for a post: it wanted Jesus but the improved liturgically sound version. It wanted Nelson Mandela in a biretta; it sought Mthr Teresa but didnt want the oestrogen or the breasts; it aimed way beyond perfection; it wanted the Archbishop of Canterbury plus a little more experience in church leadership. In other words - it was a normal advert for a Rector, Anglo-Carflic style. So I ventured to its website, as you do in such instances. Listen to this (cut and paste from its Homepage):
To find out more about Forward in Faith and to find 'safe' parishes in your area please follow the links below
The history of S. **** has led to a strong identification over many years with the catholic tradition in the Church of England. The church occupies part of the currently uneasy territory between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church and longs for reconciliation between them. We believe that the Church of England needs catholic witness and understanding to fulfil its mission as a national church, and S. **** sees its role as an upholder of what is sometimes mockingly called the traditionalist' faith, believed by all at all times.
Is it me? I am from a stable like this, but I look and I wonder what kind of disease ridden beasts this church offers safety from - oh yes, wimmin - in all their grotesque menstruating filthiness - or so they would leave you thinking. 'Safe'? Is there a woman-zapper on the door; a hormone-sniffing hound in the pews; a skirt alert posted in the porch? They base this on biblical principals like so many people do when they want to exclude and marginalise normal God-fearing Christians.
No, no, no, no and no!
This is probably a church-shattering thing I am about to say, but we need to contextualise the Bible in how it deals with people. St. Paul tagged along with the murder of Jews but I doubt a word of chastisement has ever been uttered from a pulpit - because he saw the light. The nativity shepherds were a little lower than scumbags in NT times - then the biggy: it was kind of normal to crucify in Bible times. I have never read or heard a clear condemnation of crucifixion, just lots of platitudes about how horrid it might have been. Yes, cross-born murder was quite normal at the very same time that women were being cast to the fringes. We cannot take one without the other. You cannot uphold an anti-female stance 'cos the Bible tell me so' without introducing the state sanctioned murder of criminals and itinerant preachers at the same time.
The Cross upon which our Lord died is the very reason why we have to learn from the Bible, not recite and live it verbatim.
Needless to say, I shan't be applying - I know which Bishop is mine.