The furore over the bishop of Willesdon is a bit overblown, isn't it? I know Pete Broadbent from Spring Harvest. He is a wonderfully vivacious, shoot-from-the-hip Bible teacher with a keen insight into how the church needs to be communicating its faith to a sceptical world. Oh, and he's an Arsenal fan and a Christian socialist.
Perhaps he shouldn't have facebooked what he did but the reaction of the bishop of London is extraordinary. His statement to clergy in the diocese reads:
Dear Colleague, "I was appalled by the Bishop of Willesden’s comments about the forthcoming royal marriage. In common with most of the country I share the joy which the news of the engagement has brought. I have now had an opportunity to discuss with Bishop Peter how his comments came to be made and I have noted his unreserved apology. Nevertheless, I have asked him to withdraw from public ministry until further notice. I have also been in touch with St James’s Palace to express my own dismay on behalf of the Church.
Arrangements will need to be made in Bishop Peter’s absence and further details will be given in due course. With thanks for your partnership in the Gospel.
A good bishop has been silenced for having the temerity to disagree with a senior colleague about an issue as trivial as a royal wedding. Is it any wonder that the church's credibility is at a low ebb?
So the upshot is that the men in pointy hats will tell us what we think about the forthcoming royal wedding and those who differ will be invited to take time out from all ministry. We just have to smile and pay the bill (estimated at £5bn by the CBI and Daily telegraph in lost productivity because of the extended bank holiday weekend on the back of the previous 4 day weekend).
I think I'll join Pete in Calais for a party...