The bitter truth

17 Sep

Just as in the case of slavery, women’s suffrage or anti-Semitism, those people currently blocking women in the LCA from ordination (or perhaps their descendants) will one day claim that they weren’t to know any better.  They will assert, just as those who apologise for the torture of Galileo in his support for the Copernican understanding of the Solar System, that the level of knowledge in society was insufficient for them to understand how much they had erred.

It seems to us that no-one can know all things and so ignorance should not be condemned.  However, in Jesus we have the principle of love, which guides who we are, what we say and how we act.  This principle guides us in how we interact with our loved ones and adversaries.  It is a principle that would have us embracing each other in our hurts and disagreements.  It is a principle that would have us working to respect and build up our adversaries, while clinging to our own beliefs.  If we cannot do this what can we take from Jesus, apart from personal piety?  If that’s what it is to be Christian, we shall be called shallow indeed.

The small clip from Intelligence Squared makes the point succinctly.

Here is the full debate on whether the Catholic Church is a force for good.  Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry argue passionately that the Catholic Church is not a force for good.  They are both atheists and argue convincingly that the Catholic Church has much to answer for.  We’ll leave it to the reader to find relevance for the LCA

If the Church is to be a force for good it needs to be leading the way, reconciling adversaries, living with difference, living with tension, accepting contradictions, embracing multiculturalism, embracing different metaphors for the Creator God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and living with different perspectives on the place of women within the LCA.

We cannot hope that this issue will disappear.  It’s not going to happen.  Would Jesus tell his sisters to be silent?  There is only one option.

Equality will continue to be an issue until it is so complete that it ceases to be an issue.


Posted by on September 17, 2013 in politics, sociology, women's ordination


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20 responses to “The bitter truth

  1. Karin

    September 17, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Thank for posting these videos. I had a sense of déjà vu when listening to the Bishop and MP. The style of argument was the same I have heard presented by pastors of the LCA from the pulpit, in The Lutheran, in Tabletalk and in online blogs, where they explain or defend the official position of the LCA. I noted that the pro-church vote in that debate fell dramatically in the wake of the presentations. The same is happening in our churches, where people are voting with their feet.

    The most frequent and easiest way out for those who support the church at all cost is to blame those who speak against the church, rather than those who deny its faults, and blindly defend it with pious platitudes and scriptural quotes.

    • Katie and Martin

      September 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks for your comment Karin. Yes, it’s too easy to scapegoat people.

      Along with sharing the Gospel the church needs to lead in matters of compassion and justice. Anything else leaves the church compromised and disingenuous.

  2. Doug

    September 18, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Reading The Bitter Truth and other issues re Ordination of Women it saddens me greatly to notice ill feeling, anomosity and yes almost hate that has developed between the parties discussing this issue. To state that it is almost back to slavery, ant-Semitism is a bit over the top isnt it.
    Where is there any Christian Love showing here. Aint we supposed to show tolerance and acceptance to each other as Christians.I am sure that this is what the Lord expects of us all.
    I can see the works of Satan lingering around these discussions.
    Why dont we all [those women who want ordination also] just take it to the Lord in Prayer.
    We understand and are told that He anyway is going to be the one who decides the outcome HE wants. The whole church has been disrupted,Officials prompted to retire because they didnt or dont tow the line and do the RIGHT thing as certain minority members.wanted them to do.
    God help us all. Doug

    • Karin

      September 18, 2013 at 8:42 pm

      Doug. I believe the women who want ordination have taken it to God in prayer. isn’t this what you tend to do when you feel “called” to ordained ministry? Some may argue that this “calling” comes from God him/herself. At the moment, the LCA is denying this call from God to take place.

      • Doug

        September 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm

        Karen what do you mean God Him/Herself . Where do you get that idea from God is a she. Yes you would like that wouldnt you.
        We are rural folk and no one in our area women or men would like ordained women.Plenty of Lords work for them to do as is now. You need to work for the whole church not to take over from what we have now.

        • Karin

          September 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

          Doug, standard Christian (including Lutheran Theology) has always stated that God is beyond gender and that all the characteristics of maleness and femaleness are found in God. To limit God to any gender is heresy.

          • Doug

            September 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm

            Karen, Hundreds of us in our 80yrs plus age and have been involved in our church life fully in its studies , teaching Sunday school, works, duties etc [I was an Elder for many years and we had female elders as well] have never heard that God/she version.
            Why do we pray “Our Father who art in Heaven” when reciting the Lords Prayer.
            Are you sure you are talking about the Lutheran church

        • Karin

          September 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm

          Doug, You wrote that we need to work for the “whole” church. You are completely right there. However, the whole church includes people who are in favour and those who are against female ordination. Thus by denying female ordination, you are not working for the “whole church”, but only for people like you. Yet, I too belong to this church, and at the moment, it is not working for me.

          • Karin

            September 18, 2013 at 10:18 pm

            Doug, I am sure

          • Doug

            September 18, 2013 at 10:22 pm

            Karen you say the church is not working for you.Why not Whats missing Doug

          • Karin

            September 18, 2013 at 11:00 pm

            Doug, what is missing is the female voice, female spirituality, female theology. What is missing is the opportunity to take my rightful pace as a beloved child of God.

            We are taught that “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:28). Thankfully, the church has finally come to reject slavery and anti semitism. We are not there yet with regards to gender.

            In Christ we are all ONE, not male only.

          • Doug

            September 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm

            Karen It concerns me that you feel you are missing the female voice, female spirituality, female theology in your relationship with God and that you feel you havent the opportunity to take your rightful place as a beloved child of God.
            I am sure that your church life up to now has been one of service and commitment to God and rest assured that this is well accepted by God and a blessing to Gods work on this world .
            Why cant you be satisfied at what you have ofered to God and how you have served your maker.
            Maybe God says that the ordination is not for you Only God knows that.
            Time will eventualy see Women Ordination, I doubt us older ones will see it but it will be there one day.
            Some people including women dont take change easily. Some look on Womens Ordination not just an equality measure but these ordained female pastors as wanting to take over and boss every one around and hopefully one day way down the track take over from men.[Karen not my views ]
            One gentleman was heard to remark why should I be bossed around by these females when I get this at home all the time.[Karen is there a smile on your face. All the best Karen and God bless.

          • Karin

            September 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

            Dear Doug.

            thank you for your kind words. I can see why you were selected to be an elder 🙂 . I would like to clarify one point though. When I wrote that what was the female voice, female theology, etc. I was referring to the LCA and not God. The two are different things. The LCA, is an institution which claims to proclaim the word of God, but it is not God’s spokesperson.

            As a female, I have a voice in Christ, there is room for me to grow and develop my spirituality, there is room to cherish in the realization that I too am God’s beloved. In God, I am nurtured and loved. In the Lutheran Church of Australia, as a female, I am not. This then reduces the options that I as a female have. It is either LCA dogma or my journey with God. It really isn’t much of a choice. For this journey is about my journey with God, not an institution.

    • Katie and Martin

      September 18, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      You misread the article. The reference to slavery and anti-Semitism refer to the status quo of the day that is no longer acceptable. While every one of us may have supported such a status quo if we had lived at such a time, the sins of one era need to be confessed in another era.

  3. Katie and Martin

    September 18, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Officials prompted to retire because they don’t toe the line? Who has that type of power? Minority members wielding power? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms?
    Doug, with respect, this is an enormous issue that the previous President forbade clergy to talk about and forbade The Lutheran to publish any comment on the matter. Disruption comes not in talking about matters but in the repression of the will of membership. Silencing and disempowerment is a recipe for revolt, even schism.

    • Doug

      September 18, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Yes my family and friends believe it will cause schism in our once beloved church.

  4. Graham Semmler

    September 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Doug, I note that you say, that no one in your area would want Ordained Women, That is your option and I don’t havea problem with that. If their is Ordained Women in the LCA and trust me one day their will be, then your Congregation doesn’t have to call a Women Pastor, that is your option and no one is going to force you, so why should you stop or force other Congregations from calling a Women Pastor.
    All we are asking for is the right to vote on the issue and let the majority decide and if God wants women Pastors then there will be a Majority “Yes”, if not there will be a majority “No”. Why don’t we all trust God to make the decision.
    Regards Graham Semmler

    • Doug

      September 24, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      You are SPOT ON Graham,
      The statement “If God wants it it will happen If He doesnt want it will not.
      That is what I have been trying to put across the day I started my comments.Trust God In other words in ALL things it remains ‘God Willing”
      In passing as one lady commented when I referred to God as “He” she answered stating He/She. .
      I find that hard to accept. As over 80 years of ager 80 years plus we have always prayed Our Father in Heaven, Mentioned Fther God in our prayers etc.
      Cheers Doug

      • Karin

        September 25, 2013 at 4:11 am

        Doug, does your reply then mean that you would support a vote for female ordination even though you yourself appear to be against it? More importantly, would you accept a majority vote in favor of WO as “God allowing it to happen?”

  5. Christian P.J. Bahnerth PhD (Barney)

    March 14, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Why don’t you all read Matthew 4:4? and let the theories of the world be just that theories of the world!


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