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What then must we do?

Portrait of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. Oil on c...

Portrait of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy.

We start with a quote.

‘What then must we do?’ That is the question that Leo Tolstoy, having surveyed the misery of the ordinary Russian people, tried to answer in 1886. It is also the question that people pose – often somewhat resentfully – when confronted by the … social and psychological status quo … ‘It’s all very well to criticize, but have you got any better ideas…?’

As Christians we have compassion, that’s just the way it is.  Compassion, however, is not just a feeling – it is action.  Compassion is speaking for those who have no voice. Compassion is standing with those who are invisible. Compassion is taking on the structures of power in their systemic abuse of individuals and groups. Compassion is refusing to abide by unethical or alienating by-laws and governances. Compassion is being the Christ figure to those who society forgets.

What would happen if a thousand people wrote to the College of Presidents (email) this week to complain about the lack of due process in dealing with the call for women’s ordination?  What might happen if a thousand people stopped their subscription to “The Lutheran” (email), citing the President’s ban of the discussion of women’s ordination as the reason? Your voice is significant!

There is much that might be done. Alone you may be feeling fragile, so create a group and strengthen each other. You never know what might arise from your group.  Use Facebook, network with larger groups like Women’s Ministry Network and find out what’s happening on the national scene.   Share this blog and others that support women in any domain. Make a difference!

You are not alone in your hope for equality under God.  We thank God for the many who have contacted us from around the world offering encouragement.

How might your voice be heard this week?

Please share your ideas for bringing about change. What has worked for you in any cause that you are part of?

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When churches represent hate, hang in there

I’ve come across a very down-to-earth woman’s blog from corn-country in Illinois, US.  The blog, Halfway to Normal, by Kristin Tennant, gives a hint that life hasn’t turned out like she thought it would and that life is messy and complicated.

Her post, ‘ “Why church?” is the wrong question‘, ponders what happens for many people when church doesn’t measure up to their hopes, when people need to leave church for their own health, their own sanity. She tells the story of people dropping their church attendance because of, “bad worship songs and fake people, hypocrisy and often more evidence of hate than love”.

She says, “Sometimes I still wonder ‘Why church? Why do any of us bother?’ When I hear news stories about pastors who are doing all in their power to spread hate, like the pastor in Florida who has plans to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, I’m tempted to distance myself as far as possible from all pastors and churches. If churches represent hate to more people in the world than they do love, I want to find another way.” (Halfway to Normal’s emphasis)

Those of us alienated by men-only ordination in the LCA so easily experience Church as hateful.  When women are excluded generation after generation, yet are unhindered in public life, when the institution belittles a woman’s call, yet cannot fill parish vacancies, the implications are clear.  It is not surprising that Church can be experienced as hateful.

Fortunately Kristin Tennant found a welcoming, embracing church community where the pastor reminded her in a sermon, “I need to be with brothers and sisters in Christ so I don’t forget what I’m about—what God wants to do through me.”

If you are growing weary of the LCA’s disconnectedness and current direction, please hang-in there.  Don’t walk away from this Church. We need you so that we “don’t forget what (we) are about.” Do what you must to change the Church.   Who do you need to connect to?  Who should you write to?  Talk about it in your congregation.   What can your congregation do about it?  If your pastor isn’t interested in supporting you, find those who will. Connect with this blog, with Women’s Ministry Network or with the Facebook page, Women’s Ordination in the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.

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Posted by on September 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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“The shining exterior of inclusion and equality masks a reality of denial, marginalization and despair.”

GENEVA, 30 October 2009 (LWI) – Statistics about increasing women’s ordination in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) member churches are encouraging. However, “the shining exterior of inclusion and equality masks a reality of denial, marginalization and despair,” representatives from LWF member churches heard at the ongoing Women’s Pre-Assembly (WPA) at Bogis-Bossey, near Geneva, Switzerland.

As the CTICR has ruled that there are no theological roadblocks to women’s ordination, the matter is now simply a sociological/administrative issue within the LCA.  There is no need to treat the issue as if the Church is breaking new ground.  Others have trod this path and their experience is highly positive.

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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We need to talk

Welcome to Katie and Martin’s little blog.  We have been worried for some time about the way power is used in the Lutheran Church of Australia.  While we talk about grace and the work of the Holy Spirit, we are aware of how various people in positions of power within the LCA maintain a conservative stance on women’s ordination.  While this may ensure they remain comfortable and unthreatened by change, it also means that the LCA is quietly sliding into oblivion as people move out of our Church and into more progressive settings.

The influence that conservatives have over the LCA leadership, ALC graduates, General Convention, the way scripture is interpreted and who is ordained into the public ministry of the Church, continues to deny a membership trend, as was made obvious by the significant majority vote for women’s ordination in 2000. Their power and influence is considerable.  While the ELCA in the US ordained women in the 1970’s, we are still suffering from the compromises made that were necessary when our own two Synods combined.  Enough is enough. It is time to get out of our isolation and back into the world where we have much work to do.

This blog is to discuss the abuse of power within the LCA, and how the worrisome and somnolent affects of theological conservatism are bleeding the essence from the LCA and its membership.

In the meantime, take heart from online social networking.  Never before have there been so many ways for people to share their hope for the future and to quickly disseminate news.  No longer do we need to rely on the sanctioned lines of communication within the Church.  No longer do we need to remain silent, when work from special committees gets shelved, when we have witnessed and taken part in abuse of power against women, against delegates at General Synod, against laity.  No longer do we have to shrug when conservative ALC lecturers mould students, entrenching conservatism in the Church well into the future.

Communication is enlightening and empowering.  The more we communicate with each other, the less we in the LCA will submit to those who have much to gain from a passive membership.  We all have a vested interest in theology and we should all participate in theological discussions.  Therefore it is important not to leave the big decisions in the LCA to those in positions of power.

Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance.  The only thing it cannot be is moderately important. C.S.Lewis

The call to justice for women in ministry is not just moderately important, it is essential to our core beliefs that come from Jesus. Without action towards justice for women in the LCA we are simply another ‘moderately important’ community organisation.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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