Saturday 24 November 2012

More Spin-off: Bishop N. T. Wrong Intervenes

Peter Levite: I'm joined in the studio regarding the fall out of no women bishops by the male bishops N. T. Wrong and Anthony Wedgewood Bigg. Shake hands Bishop Bigg, Bishop New. Yep. Ow, that's a bit strong. I also have with me Jade Stowaway, Rachel Marsovenus and Lesley Tilgate. Ooh, kisses from you all. That's nice. Why purple balloons, two of you?

Jade Stowaway: It's our colour of protest. Women clergy are going to start wearing purple.

Rachel Marsovenus: Rock on, I'll make it fashionable.

Peter Levite: In the spirit of your Church, let me address the men first. You have just published a response, Bishop New, to the threat by...

New Testament Wrong: Call me Newt.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: I can't stay long; I have to keep moving. I want to be able to continue to organise our people.

Peter Levite: You fear some sort of knock on the door, Bishop Bigg?

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: Be careful what you say.

Peter Levite: Bishop er Newt, Parliament seems to be making it clear that it is very unhappy. You could lose your exemption from equality legislation.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg: To be a Church in one nation is a sin; we should stretch a fellowship across the world, our bishops govern themselves abroad and to here and offer oversight. Or a third province would do it. Not only was that measure unacceptable; the present situation can't go on either where there are no bishops like me, no one of the true conviction like mine replacing those men who have retired. We need people to confess their Anglicanism, we need them to be in fellowship, we need good men as our presbyters, we need to be secure that our male bishops are properly chosen and function worldwide. Parliament is irrelevant. I'm sorry but I must be going to my next location.

New Testament Wrong: I don't know what he's fantasising about, but from where I am in Scotland I'm saying Parliament should get its tanks off our lawn. Otherwise we'll blast the institution into the Thames.

Peter Levite: Well thank's for letting me cross examine you, not, Bishop Bigg. Strong words, strong words, Bishop er...

New Testament Wrong: Don't mess with me. I couldn't give a tinker's tipple about modernity or liberals or the State or Erastianism. I take my cue from the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ - Christ! - and nothing else. That's the lynchpin, and I can prove it. [Bangs the table] Mary, she said so. That's the proof, the first one.

Rachel Marsovenus: Way to go!

Jade Stowaway: It's good to have Bishop New on side; he's like your protection.

Lesley Tilgate: Protection racket more like.

New Testament Wrong: Just you be careful - my reach is far and wide. We all know about the Timothy verse, the 1 Timothy 2 taken as refusing to allow women to teach men. But serious scholars like me disagree on the actual meaning, as the key Greek words occur nowhere else.

Rachel Marsovenus: We need serious biblical exegesis to overturn the plain meaning of the text without appearing to be liberal.

Anthony Wedgewood Bigg [opens the door from the corridor outside]: Who cares about so-called serious scholars in the present day? That's just your own version of modernity. It's not true, anyway. The words are not unusual. And as for Mary, we don't ordain newscasters. She never took Judas's place, did she? Look, there's no one about but I really must be going.

Lesley Tilgate: No female bishops without equality! The spirit moves through modernity, that's what liberalism represents. What's this about an empty tomb anyway?

New Testament Wrong: Liberalism is Whiggism and nothing to do with the witness of the Church. Shame on "liberals" in the Church to invite the State to bolster their own cause. We obey the historical resurrection, the God we follow, not David Cameron and his "progamme" or Tony Baldry or anyone else. The Church that obeys human authorities has forgotten what it means to be the Church. And I shall remind them.

Lesley Tilgate: You forget the vote. And that was human. God doesn't intervene. As I said in my sermon on the raising of Lazarus, God didn't raise Jesus in a historical sense. That doesn't happen.

Rachel Marsovenus: Eh?

New Testament Wrong: How dare you question the wisdom of a scholar like me? Don't forget that your ecclesiastical career was going nowhere but for liberal romantic sympathies and don't forget it can go nowhere in the future. One nod from me is all it takes. And that goes for all of you.

Peter Levite: Not me, not a successful local newscaster who gets the public to text and email in their comments - looking forward to them on this! No, I wasn't ordained either. Has he gone? Oh, he has gone. Bishop Bigg has left the building.

Jade Stowaway: The Bible should be our guidebook as evangelicals but clearly we give it to the people afresh in different cultural settings and in ours no one can understand that vote. Is my balloon going down?

Peter Levite: There is someone at the window. It's double glazed - can you hear him? It's Bishop Bigg.

Lesley Tilgate: He says, hang on, "You have devalued the name 'evangelical'. You all have. I cannot stay any longer."

Peter Levite: Oh he's gone.

New Testament Wrong: If he attempts to organise a semi-detached evangelical confessing network then it should be crushed at birth.

Jade Stowaway: It's already born.

New Testament Wrong: Then it must be cast out. So the key point is Junia was ordained, and Phoebe was clearly an ordained businesswoman. Mary Magdalene is the reality whereas modern ideas of "progress" are simply a feminist parody that no one has experienced.

Rachel Marsovenus: Such excellent exegesis! Where does it say that about Phoebe?

New Testament Wrong: It is my opinion as a serious scholar.

Rachel Marsovenus: So I can't use it then.

New Testament Wrong: You can use it if you pay me royalties. The State was always on the wrong side of history, let's be clear, which is why Christianity is now flourishing as a main means of explaining what is important.

Lesley Tilgate: Progress and feminism unrealised? The common narratives today are completely non-interventionist. What about chaos theory, secularisation, science? The Church's dogma is what's behind the times.

New Testament Wrong: But not in the Church! If you want to be in the Church you start obeying the Church's rules. It is the liberals who are the hangers-on, and if not for you and those appalling Episcopalian liberals - in America I mean, not quite so in Scotland, though they're not far off, but exeptions where they buy my books - yes that without the problem of liberals we evangelicals would probably get on well.

Lesley Tilgate: You're as divided as you can be. At least the liberals are united - unity from diversity. Huh - dogma? Inequality? I don't know how I put up with it. Oh yes I do.

Peter Levite: So you women - not you Lesley - have the purple balloons. Do you think the Group of Six, the Archbishops, Proculators and Chair/ Vice-Chair of the House of Laity, will be forced to bring Synod back, especially if Parliament threatens to remove equality legislation opt-outs?

New Testament Wrong: Have you not listened to a word I have said? If they have, they will get their tanks off our lawn. Otherwise plague after plague could visit this land as evangelicals pray to God to send an evolved virus.

Lesley Tilgate: I cannot see the Chair, Sir Flip Giddy, agreeing. He voted against, after all.

Peter Levite: But if Parliament acted?

New Testament Wrong: Let me put your name 'Levite' in my book. What is your first name?

Lesley Tilgate: Don't tell him, Peter.

New Testament Wrong: Ah, 'Peter'.

George Hudson: That's an old joke, that is. I'm on the platform at York, a train is in going up to Aberdeen. Stops at St Andrews. Railways - that's progress.

New Testament Wrong: I have unfinished business down in the south. I want to wish my good friend and confidant Rowan Tree a happy retirement as an adult education art teacher.

Lesley Tilgate: You were never his confidant. Look, you don't frighten me. Yeah this Church might be forced to act.

New Testament Wrong: So why do you think he has become an adult education art teacher? No longer to be even a theologian-in-situ, unlike me. Just a nod, just a tap of the finger. Remember that.

George Hudson: Can I just say that the weather will be as wet as this fresh paint on this York seat?

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