Learning to love the questions

20 Nov

exorcising the question cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

I don’t think the important thing is to be certain about answers nearly as much as being serious about the questions.
When we hold spiritual questions, we meet and reckon with our contradictions, with our own dilemmas; and we invariably arrive at a turning point where we either evade God or meet God. Mere answers close down the necessary struggle too quickly, too glibly, and too easily.
When we hang on the horns of dilemmas with Christ—between perfect consistency and necessary contradictions—we find ourself in the unique place I call “liminal space.” Reality has a cruciform shape to it then—and we are taught best at the intersection of order and disorder, where God alone can make sense out of the situation and we must surrender. All real transformation of persons takes place when we’re inside of such liminal space – with plenty of questions that are open to God and grace and growth.
Richard Rohr

The following is from the 1956 (and still current) LCA  Thesis on the Office of Ministry VI:II

Though women prophets were used by the Spirit of God in the Old as well as in the New Testament, 1 Cor 14:34,35 (exegesis) and 1 Tim. 2:11-14 (exegesis) prohibit a woman from being called into the office of the public ministry from the proclamation of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments.  This apostolic rule is binding on all Christendom..

No room for doubt, no questions allowed – there is absolute certainty!  Really? These ‘answers’ have really closed down ‘the necessary struggle too quickly, too glibly, and too easily.’ Rohr (above)

The LCA was finally formed in 1966 from two synods after decades of deliberations, arguments and compromises. Ten years earlier in 1956 the two synods agreed on the Theses of Agreement as a basis for union.  Note the post-war confidence with which the authors bind not only the LCA but “… all Christendom.”  It is unlikely that any theological commission would be so bold today, given the new position, expertise, respect and authority that women hold in society today, and given the wealth of research since that time into the sociology of gender, power and violence, as well as other new fields like postmodernism and post-colonialism.

The absolute certainty of adolescence is rarely something that mature individuals are proud of in later life.  Just as the LCA was mature enough to rescind its adolescent thesis that the Pope was the anti-Christ, and just as the LCA was mature enough to acknowledge that women could vote in congregations and synods, it’s now time to acknowledge the centrality of women to the mission of the Church.  Without doing so, the LCA is bound for irrelevance.


Tags: , , , , , ,

9 responses to “Learning to love the questions

  1. cdonges

    November 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    To go back to something Wally brought up… it seems likely that the 1 Cor passage is an interpolation and the pastorals aren’t written by Paul, but are later anti-gnostic texts. If neither anti-woman passage has apostolic authority then what is the problem?

    • vegan

      November 20, 2012 at 6:15 pm

      it’s not about the truth…

    • Katie and Martin

      November 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Thanks cdonges. Good point.

  2. cdonges

    November 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Love the cartoon btw…

  3. cdonges

    November 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    “it’s now time to acknowledge the centrality of women to the mission of the Church. Without doing so, the LCA is bound for irrelevance.”

    Looks like the Anglicans in England are heading towards irrelevance

  4. Sandra Wittwer

    November 20, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Did you hear the same confusing news I heard this morning, that the Church of England did not have a two-thirds majority vote that women could be bishops (or bishops could be women?)?

    • Katie and Martin

      November 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Sandra, sadly women bishops did not get approved. They gained 2/3 of the vote in the house of bishops and the house of clergy but not in the third house of laity. Different system to the LCA. Perhaps it could be said that the LCA has a house of clergy as they get first option to debate issues and present recommendations to the Synod.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: