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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Catholic Women Clergy Video

Ordain a Lady

Ordain a Lady

Ordain a Lady

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!  It’s going to be hard learning to write 2013.  What a strange number it is.  We can’t even celebrate the 20th day of the 13th month. What day will couples now search out to be married on?  There’s nothing that approaches 12.12.2012.

After a short time away from the keyboard we return to sing the praises of women clergy and have to share this fun video published in 2012 (yesterday), celebrating women called to ministry.

It’s worth sharing on your networks.

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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in theology, women's ordination

 

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“I do not permit a woman to teach” – 1 Timothy 2:12

1 Timothy 2:12 (NIV)
12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

Sounds clear enough doesn’t it? Actually, no.  The translation has a number of problems. Margaret Mowczko unwraps the passage and throws up a number of questions.  Her exegesis demonstrates why it is not enough to select a few texts in efforts to prove your argument.

Questions about how to implement   1 Timothy2:12

By Margaret Mowczko

Some Christians think that the prohibition of a woman teaching a man, mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:12, is clear and straightforward in meaning, yet the various ways this prohibition is understood and implemented in churches seems to indicate otherwise.

The meaning of 1 Tim 2:12 is, in fact, not clear. We can only guess at the original context, reason, intent and parameters for this prohibition. And the original Greek of 1 Tim 2:12 poses linguistic challenges which hinder our understanding of the author’s meaning, force and scope. The ambiguous context and language of 1 Tim 2:12 (and the verses that follow it) raise several important questions about how we should apply this verse. This article looks at some of these questions.  (much more)

 

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It’s time

The more Church leadership attempts to fix the situation of women’s ordination in the LCA the further the Church gets into trouble.

Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power.  Despite different systems of governance, most people would accept that ‘the will of the people’ is paramount, encapsulated by Abraham Lincoln in that significant Gettysburg Address, hoping “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

What is ‘the will or consent’ of the people of the LCA?  On the matter of women’s ordination we will never know.  In fact, we will never the will of the people on any matter, as we don’t have a structure, or the will, for conducting a nation-wide poll of membership.   As the LCA uses a synodical structure, the laity express their voice through congregational motions to General Convention and through elected delegates to General Convention.  While we might revisit the structure of governance within the LCA, such a constitutional change is a matter for another decade.

We have known since 2001 that Synod delegates are in favour of women’s ordination.  As very few young people become delegates or have the freedom to afford time off work and pay for travel and accommodation for the length of the Synod, it is a fair assumption that a larger proportion of membership are in favour of women’s ordination.  That vote was also affected by the President, when he gave serious warning to delegates to vote against the motion if they were at all concerned about schism.  In addition, the President decided that absentee votes would count against the motion, with no reference to the source of authority for this decision.  Even without the influence of the current President, it is presumed that the necessary 66% support would still not have been achieved (with an actual vote of 51%), however, if it was for example 58%, it would have been more obvious that this issue had to be treated with more tolerance and sobriety.

So, we have a situation where a majority of membership and the CTICR is in favour of women’s ordination (statements from 2000 and 2006), while we have a leadership, comprised of generally older and elderly men, who not only are against women’s ordination but obstruct it through a clamp-down on media and the regular creation of extra hurdles for the establishment of women’s ordination.  How long might be this situation be tolerated? How long until congregations begin to take their own initiatives?

Let’s revisit our opening definition of sovereignty: Popular sovereignty or the sovereignty of the people is the principle that the legitimacy of the state is created and sustained by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power.

In the LCA we have a situation where the will of the people and committees is minimised or discounted.  While leadership is entrusted by the Church to lead, if trust is broken by losing the consent of its people, the Church can choose to withdraw its trust.    While women’s ordination may need a two-thirds majority vote, the removal of Pr Semmler as President only requires a 50% vote.   This will free up Church media, allow the national conversation to continue, give back respect to CTICR and CSBQ, and also give back respect to women who experience the call to ordained ministry.

It’s time!

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future

Christian Piatt of Sojourners Community

Christian Piatt of Sojourners Community points out that the majority of those still hanging in within the walls of most churches are women. He says that since prehistoric times men have gone out to hunt, developing independence, while women have remained at home establishing and maintaining communities.  He suggests that, due to changing times, women are key to the future of the church.

While in the past we needed strong leadership, today we are guarded, sceptical and even pessimistic about leadership.  What hasn’t changed is our need for one another.

Who better to model such a resource for our culture than those who have been at the heart of such community since before the dawn of recorded history?

We can hold fast, clinging to our authority, drawing lines and issuing ultimatums, while watching people continue to walk away by the millions. Or we can recognize that what the world needs at this point, far more than another sermon or worship service is a model of healthy interdependent community. And as scripture assures us, if we gather together with the intention of truly seeking God in our midst, we will find what we’re looking for.  (more)

Not so long ago in Australia the Lutheran Church was a rural church with strong Germanic origins.  We had little money for our own religious texts, beyond the Bible and devotional materials. We were farmers with only primary education and we relied on the local pastor to bring his tertiary education to the interpretation of Scripture so that we might be educated.   As a corollary, we relied on our leaders to pave the way ahead.  They were our navigators and we trusted them.

Today, education to a tertiary level, at least in Australia, is almost universal.  In this information age we are hyper-connected, and we are exposed to issues across the globe – even religious issues.  We need to filter enormous amounts of material and contradictory political opinion with some discernment.  Times have changed. We are no longer passive consumers of opinion and theology, and yes, we are guarded about top-down leadership which doesn’t reflect the common experience.  We no longer have the mono-cultural allegiance of early German settlers.  There are many options. Ref 1 and 2

‘Strong leadership’ at the helm of the LCA is, ironically, destroying the trust that some of us have in the LCA.   Those who oppose women’s ordination seem to oppose living together with a diversity of practice, even valuing isolation in the name of purity. Such determined isolationism contradicts their evangelical DNA and does nothing for the Gospel. We fear that such closing of options may lead them to schism.

On the other hand, women seem to offer gifts in building community. They have been nurturing families and relationships since time began with leadership styles that are generally more consultative and encouraging of interdependence. God is not finished with the church just yet.  There are yet more changes to come.


Reference

Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future – Christian Piatt | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.

 
 

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The future of the church: Discernment or intimidation?

Sr Joan Chittister

While Sr Joan Chittister writes within the Catholic context, her writing about change applies very closely to the LCA.  The complete article is worthy of reading.  The following is only an extract from The Future of the Church: Discernment or Intimidation.

It is possible to repress change temporarily — to slow change, to resist change, to deny change — but it is impossible to stop a change whose time has come. It is impossible to ignore change once it has begun to well up through the cracks in the cement of a society, however rigid the barriers to it.

Repressed, people will resist. Ignored, people will remove themselves from an arthritic society. Unheard and unheeded, blocked and obstructed, the seed of a new idea simply grows like ground pine until the ideas break out everywhere and evolution that could have been handled by a process of peaceful reform gives way to unmanageable revolution. Ask the King and Queen of France.

Clearly, for the sake of the society itself, it is imperative that people minister reflectively and consciously at a time like this. Otherwise, in trying to preserve its past, an institution may well destroy the life of its living mission. People will ignore it, deride it, resist it or abandon it. …

To suppress the question now can only delay its coming and, at the same time, increase its impact when it does. The question of women’s place in the church, let alone the issue of the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, for instance, has been ignored at the highest levels of the church despite the growing demand for attention among the faithful.

Nevertheless, the sense of inevitability has continued unabated in society at large and affected people’s attitudes toward the church. …

Second, openness about emerging issues and good theoretical preparation must fill in the gap between institutional readiness to consider the questions and the resistance fatigue in the people. To deny the question will only, in the long run, reduce the credibility of the minister on other issues as well as on the question at hand. …

There is a great deal for us to do on this issue even when it seems that there is nothing we are able to do at all. The time is coming and is now at hand, all the numbers of all the facets of church now say, when the Holy Spirit will once again change history.  Source (The Future of the Church: Discernment or Intimidation)

 
 

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Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice | National Catholic Reporter

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Breaking news! In a historic move, the National Catholic Reporter announced its public endorsement of women’s ordination! Please take a moment to thank NCR staff for being a prophetic voice & standing with the majority of Catholics who believe women should be ordained as priests! Women’s Ordination Conference Facebook page

This is quite a day.  National Catholic Reporter (NCR) in the U.S., while having supported women’s ordination for a while, has now publicly endorsed women’s ordination.  It makes its stance quite clear.

The call to the priesthood is a gift from God. It is rooted in baptism and is called forth and affirmed by the community because it is authentic and evident in the person as a charism. Catholic women who have discerned a call to the priesthood and have had that call affirmed by the community should be ordained in the Roman Catholic church. Barring women from ordination to the priesthood is an injustice that cannot be allowed to stand. Editorial: Ordination of women would correct an injustice | National Catholic Reporter.

NCR’s public stance appears to be precipitated by a Nov. 19 press release from the Vatican of Roy Bourgeois‘ “excommunication, dismissal and laicization” “from the Maryknoll order following his participation in the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August 2008.” ref

The similarities with the LCA are interesting.
1.

In April 1976 the Pontifical Biblical Commission concluded unanimously: “It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate.” In further deliberation, the commission voted 12-5 in favor of the view that Scripture alone does not exclude the ordination of women, and 12-5 in favor of the view that the church could ordain women to the priesthood without going against Christ’s original intentions.

… while the LCA’s CTICR voted with a 2/3 majority in 200o and 2006 with similar wording.

2. After the 1976 Pontifical Biblical Commission the current and previous Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith upped the ante, ignored the statement and declared the exclusion of women from the priesthood as, first, “irreformable” and then as belonging “to the deposit of the faith.”  This association with being “founded on the word of God” was trying to “stop all discussion”.

In the LCA, Pr Semmler ignores the CTICR recommendations of 2000 and 2006 and has decreed that public discussion on women’s ordination should stop because it doesn’t uphold the current position of the Church.

3. Benedict and John Paul both decreed that women cannot be ordained, despite the 1976 statement from the Pontifical Biblical Commission but laity of the Catholic Church support it.

Pr Semmler, Pr Greg Lockwood, Pr John Kleinig, Pr Andrew Pfeiffer state that women cannot be ordained, while laity are in favour.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Inerrancy: I think someone forgot to tell the Bible

The walls of Jericho

On our journey of attempting to understand the thinking of inerrantists, here’s a post worth reading – follow the links to read the full post.

Speaking as a biblical scholar, inerrancy is a high-maintenance doctrine. It takes much energy to “hold on to” and produces much cognitive dissonance. I am hardly alone. Over the last twenty years or so, I have crossed paths with more than a few biblical scholars with evangelical roots, even teaching in inerrantist schools, who nervously tread delicate paths re-defining, nuancing, and adjusting their definition of inerrancy to accommodate the complicating factors that greet us at every turn in the historical study of Scripture.

For many other evangelicals (scholars of other disciplines, pastors, and laypeople), inerrancy is likewise no longer a paradigm of explanatory power, but a fragile theory in need of constant care and tending to survive.

Rather than doing justice to the historical complexity, diversity, and depth of the Bible, inerrancy seems burdened by them. Even when defined with flexibility and nuance, inerrancy is in awkward conversation, if not all out tension, with some genuine and widely (if not universally) accepted advances in our knowledge of antiquity (e.g., Israelite history, human history, various branches of science) easily accessible to all, and shared by non-inerrantist Christian scholars working across the theological, ecclesiastical, and academic spectrums.

The problem faced by evangelicals who are critical of inerrancy is that inerrancy has been a central component of evangelicalism for its entire history, a response to the challenges of biblical higher criticism of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Inerrancy is encoded into the evangelical DNA, and conversations, however discreet, about its continued usefulness are rarely valued; more typically, considerable personal and professional fallout follows in due course.  (more)

“Inerrancy is coded into the evangelical DNA (of evangelicalism).”  This may be useful in beginning to understand conservative’s framing.  If inerrancy is central to faith, without it nothing is sure and key pillars of are threatened. To question the smallest or oldest verse in the Bible or to question a text of terror (last post) is to question the central tenet of their New Testament Christianity.

To us it seems that this leaves inerrantists in the academically compromised position of standing for a belief that can’t then be substantiated without constantly “re-defining, nuancing, and adjusting their definition of inerrancy to accommodate the complicating factors that greet us at every turn in the historical study of Scripture”.

We are still trying to come to terms with inerrancy and are sure that we have misrepresented conservative’s case.  Please add your thoughts, share your thinking and experience, and help us on this journey.  At least read the post referred to and see what you think.

Have you shared this blog on Facebook yet?  Perhaps Twitter or another site? It’s one way of taking part in the conversation when it can’t be had in the pages of The Lutheran.

 

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