The Living Church recently published a piece bemoaning the emergence of episcopal elections where all the candidates were women. In this satirical response, Priest, podcaster, and author Jordan Haynie Ware imagines the thought process of a sympathizer with that article’s premise. This article is satire and to be read with one’s tongue firmly in cheek.
Headline: Holy Spirit loses preference for all white male bishops, is it the fault of feminism? Some observers say yes.
Subhead: Area Man Questions the Work of the Spirit; Film at 11
I’m not sexist, but these all-female bishop slates are just too much, you know? Did you know there have been 4 announced this year? FOUR! Out of eleven. Can you imagine? Fully one-third of episcopal elections have completely shut out the important half of God’s creation this year alone. We men got only one election to ourselves this whole year. CONSPIRACY!
It’s not that I’m against women bishops. Far from it. It’s just so unlikely that the Holy Spirit would produce these kinds of results (even though I have historically trusted diocesan search committees to carry out God’s will); I’m now sure they must have some kind of agenda of their own. It’s not like the Episcopal Church has shut out one gender completely for 200 years, then nominated and elected suspiciously few of them for decades after they were first ordained to the presbyterate. They were inexperienced! God likes experience. That’s why St. Ambrose was elected a bishop before he was even baptized.
It’s basically impossible for a bishop search to result in an all-female slate without some kind of intentional bias from the search committee. Are women ever really selected on merit alone? Can any reasonable person believe that an entire gender of priests who have had to work twice as hard to be called to positions with half as much authority and prestige, not to mention be paid 87 cents for every dollar a man gets for doing them could be nominated for episcopal election based on their abilities and achievements alone? Hey, I’m not knocking them! They are very good at some sorts of ministry, like visiting the sick and the elderly – you know, mom stuff.
Some observers, not all of whom are from the Men’s Rights subreddit I frequent, have indicated that interest groups have always used whatever leverage they hold to stack slates to accrue power for their camp. Well, that may have worked then, but it won’t work now. Starting from this moment in time, completely ignoring historic and current gender imbalances in the House of Bishops, we must ensure that every slate is exactly, perfectly, evenly balanced. You know, to ensure diversity, which I have only just discovered is a good thing now that it means absolutely everybody gets a voice, including the people who have historically silenced the others. What do you mean it might be a good idea for men to take a back seat for a decade or two? DIVERSITY! EVER HEARD OF IT? Two wrongs don’t make a right and recognizing the gifts of leadership women have that have been suppressed for centuries for no real reason is definitely a wrong. If our current political climate has taught us anything, it is that identity politics aren’t good for anyone – and that’s why God couldn’t possibly be working through these elections to rectify a House of Bishops that will retain a supermajority of male bishops, even if 100% of the women nominated in 2018 (and 2019, for that matter) were called to that office.
Again: I’m no sexist. It’s just obvious that the only reason this is happening now (besides the previously-mentioned conspiracy of “females” who are suspiciously all of a sudden actually on decision-making committees) is because too many bishops are retiring at once, so we have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. At least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself as I cry into my bourbon tonight. Because God can’t possibly be calling only women to serve as Apostle to the Apostles. That’s certainly something that He’s never done before.
The Rev Jordan Haynie Ware is an Episcopal priest currently serving a parish in western Canada. She has earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. She is the author of, The Ultimate Quest: A Geek’s Guide to (the Episcopal) Church, and co-host of the podcast, Two Feminists Annotate the Bible