We have to face the fact now that we are an embarrassment in any Anglican clergy chapter. Why? Because the growing proportion of female clergy find us offensive. Any bishop appointing a conservative evangelical faces the wrath of his local women's ministry support network.
So in the coming years, under the almost inevitable single clause women bishops' measure and more or less covertly even without that, conservative evangelical opponents of the unbiblical innovation of women presbyters and now bishops are not going to be appointed to incumbencies.
There are some glowing exceptions. Carlisle is conservative evangelical friendly. But how many conservative evangelicals want to go and minister in Carlisle? How 'strategic' in conservative evangelical eyes is Cumbria compared to London and the south-east?
Where are the chambers teeming with barristers, the banks bursting with wealthy financiers, the Clarendon public schools and the top-flight academies in the environs of Keswick?
However, the debarring of conservative evangelicals from platforms of influence in London and the Home Counties could be a great opportunity for us to rethink 'strategic'. Surely anywhere that has people in it who can be reached for Christ is strategic.
Was not an obsession with the socially powerful and influential a spiritual problem that the Apostle Paul had to correct in Corinth? -
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1v26-27 - NIV).
Besides, who knows what is going to happen to the south of England in the future?
Under a future socio-economic disaster scenario devastating London and the south-east, Cumbria could be the springboard for the re-evangelisation of the British Isles.