This morning began very early for me at 5.30am. I was due on BBC Breakfast to talk about Women Bishops. The lay woman speaking for a vaguely Reform position said that men and women were equal without doubt, but that women should defer to a man’s final decision and that a man should have final responsibility for everything. It sounded like double-speak to me.
In spite of my Dad having left this world for better things when I was but a mere stripling, I very much recall him asking for my opinion, working things through with me, questioning my judgment, basically teaching me to think, act, decide for myself, not to be pushed around or swept along by whatever/whoever was providing the pressure of the moment. It has stood me in good stead with this apparently minority faith of mine.
And then, three hours or so later, the news that a young man has lost his life. I have spent much of today listening to the stories of brothers picking up siblings, literally blind drunk; bearing the silence of parents identifying and empathising with the loss of a son, while young people try to make sense out of a culture where even fun seems to be out of control and potentially lethal, even on your own doorstep in a neighbourhood park, surrounded by police.
I’ve also wondered whether any single person, during those conversations thought, ‘I wish she was a man,’ or, ‘I don’t know why I’m even talking to her, she’s not even a real priest,’ or, ‘should we just check with somebody (male) that it’s OK for her to be doing this?’
I think, perhaps, all we have thought, is that it is tragic to lose or deny the life of another, and of how wasteful that is, to spill out and destroy something so precious and irreplaceable. For me that lament resonates from the tragedy on our doorstep to the adjournment of Synod, and the chord in my heart. Please God that we learn to treasure the abundance of life, as a free gift to all, and by whatever means, stop denying it others.