Wednesday, 20 November 2013
Following the typically poor reporting of the topic in the media today, I have decided to clarify, for a confused public, the recent decision by the General Synod to allow parishes to choose 'alternative bishops'. As a pre-amble I should explain that the Synod is the body that makes the laws of the Church of England, and that I have been acting as a consultant to it since its failure to agree on the ordination of female bishops, my role being to facilitate a more harmonious and constructive process of decision making. Regular readers will be aware that I, virtually single-handed, brought about the revolution in British humour that subsequently became known as 'alternative' comedy. It was a simple step, for me at least, to extend that concept to an Episcopalian context, and to suggest to the lay and the clerical houses of the Synod that the time had come for a new style of bishop. Instead of the sexist stereotypes that have figured in mainstream preaching for two millennia, we would see the introduction of un-structured, 'observational' sermons, with no punch-lines as such. Already a cohort of young hopefuls, male and female, has crammed for two terms at my comedy and theology academy in Woking, which I run jointly with the Wessex Jesuit Phalanx, and hopes to pass out at the end of the comedic year with post graduate diplomas in Alternative Bishopry. It is a classic 'third way' manoeuvre, designed to end a polarised conflict by distracting the antagonists with a third option equally unacceptable to both opposing groups. Connoisseurs of my work will recognise the stratagem as being the same, in essence, as that which I used to bring together Bush and Putin, with the presence of Gordon Brown, in that case, being the unappealing alternative to their own mutual company.