Friday, 23 October 2009

News Talk (with Alison Ruoff)

Another shot in the dark – for anyone interested:

I am going to be on Premier Radio’s Newstalk tomorrow at 11.30am talking about this week’s news stories: in London digitally on DAB radio, or 1305, 1332, 1413 MW, in the UK on Sky Digital 0123, Freeview 725 and also live online at

I was on with Alison Ruoff: and, although she looked vaguely familiar, (the picture I had seen was this one: I wasn’t aware of her position on anything until we were recording (we recorded this morning). So, when I said, “the sooner the Church of England has women bishops, the better” I wasn’t expecting the outburst it provoked from Alison - her deep radio voice carrying the gravitas of her years. “Absolutely not,” she roared, “I will leave the Church of England if there are women bishops.”

Unfortunately the programme stopped there, so I didn’t get a chance to come back at her. I asked Alison afterwards whether she would become a Roman Catholic if the Church of England had women bishops. “No,” she said, “I will go to a Church that doesn’t have women bishops.” (I should have taken the opportunity here to point out that the Methodist Church in Britain does not have women bishops; its President and Vice-President next year will both be women.) Alison added that she didn’t have a problem with woman headship in the secular world, but not in the Church. Her role model? Margaret Thatcher.

I really do not understand the need to mystify the male position of authority within a spiritual context. It fractions rather than fosters our relationships with one another. It is divisive, deceitful and dishonest to cow-tow to an authority that is distinguished solely by the end in itself. All this does is depersonalise us and cripple our compassion rather than enrich our understanding.

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