Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I highly recommend the blog – Desert’s Child. Not only is Katie Sherrod a very articulate writer, she gives us a view of what is going on in Fort Worth. My heart and prayers go out to all those in the Diocese of Fort Worth who are experiencing what Katie is.

I’m not often moved to get heated up about comments on other blogs but let’s face it, my current studies have definitely been in the feminist area and I am getting a little hot under the collar (not a real easy thing in Saskatchewan in winter) about those who believe women should not be priests based on the writings and understanding of men who haven’t got a foggy clue about the reality of what the feminine is. Many of our church fathers based their objections on the Plato’s understanding which is so full of misconceptions as to be almost funny. I would laugh except people take it all so seriously and then that does far too much harm in restricting women.

I was at a men’s breakfast last weekend. It was an interesting time and the men I work with to put on the breakfast (which was a tradition before I arrived) are wonderful. There a few that I work with on other things and we have developed mutual respect for each other. It was interesting talking with one of the pastors that I don’t usually work with. He’s from a denomination that does have female pastors (including some senior pastors – he tells me) but it is far from common. This pastor is a wonderful person and he was trying to be supportive of me and I really appreciate that. Fortunately, I was in a good mood so I didn’t take exception to the words he used which could have been heard as patronizing. I realize his intent and I thank him for it.

A few years ago, I attended a two day workshop on church development at one of the big evangelical churches in the city. It is not a tradition that accepts the ordination of women – although I do believe it is coming. Fortunately, the first day I was at a table with a ELCIC pastor who was able make sure that I was included and listened to (although, I often don’t have a problem especially when my back is up). The next day I was at a different table. Not quite as easy being accepted as an equal. I later found out that even the workshop facilitator had a few problems with my presence as it meant he had to revamp some of what he was saying (I was the only female, let alone the only ordained female. My registration application must have really thrown them for a loop. I'm not too sure what he modified either.). It wasn’t even that this workshop was only for those ordained. It was also for church elders – and none were women. I will give credit where credit is due though and say that in general they did treat me with respect and acceptance. I could see their struggles to do so and I really appreciated their attempt.

Over all, in spite of the good will and acceptance involved, it marks us. Even in these two situations where the men were honestly trying to be supportive, I was aware of that there were tensions and struggles within the men over my being an ordained women. I love them dearly for taking on those tensions and struggles, but there will not be full acceptance or equality until our interactions are not marked by them.

What does all this have to do with the opening paragraph? It was on Desert’s Child that I read the following response.

Corie from H-E-B said...
“Okay... So, here's something to think about, seeing as how the Catholic Church also does not ordain women to the priesthood (or the diaconate for that matter, which at least Bp Iker allows that). The priest represents Christ as the bridegroom of the Church. The Church is female, and so the bridegroom (Christ) is always represented by a male. It's not because the guys are better than us, but simply because the spouse of the Bride of Christ (the Church) is male. This is why Jesus was born in a male body, and not a female body. And yes, the Catholic Church teaches that the spouse of a female must be a male. I personally think that is a beautiful thing that is represented by a male priesthood that could never really make sense if the priest was a woman.”

Okay there are days that I just shake my head and cannot honestly think of a reply. Or I can think of so many that I just don’t know where to start and my words become a jumble.

First of all, it's a metaphor or analogy or whatever. It points to something - the relationship of the church to Jesus, using the example of marriage. It does not say that the relationship is completely like a marriage. There are elements of it that are like a marriage. It is not male to female that it is like but like the relationship of wife to husband.

Which brings me to the second point. It is about an understanding of marriage as marriage was at the time it was written -- a patriarchal marriage. The comparison would fall completely apart if one considered a marriage such as my husband and I have - a partnership - rather than one where the wife is subservient to her husband.

“And if you don't think it is fair, then remember that what God, our heavenly Father, considers right and proper just sometimes doesn't seem fair to His children. We don't always see the big picture, and it's not our place to change His rules.”

Whose flippin’ rules are these – God’s or man’s? I would venture a guess that they are entirely man’s when it comes to anything to do with women. Paul, for all that people like to misquote him does not appear (when looked at without major blinkers) to have a problem working with women or even naming women as apostles. EG Junia. Of course men had a problem and changed her name to Junius and then claimed she was a man.

By the way. I have absolutely no problem with changing men’s rules.

“But in the same vein, a church that decides a female can represent the bridegroom of the Church is always just a short step from allowing same-sex marriages. I'm not real surprised the Episcopal Church headed in that direction, and I think it is a shame.”

All I can respond (with the exception of the last phrase) is – YES!!!!!!!!

Love and Prayers,
Ann Marie

No comments: