Monday, 6 October 2008

more on planning for women bishops

The Telegraph has a report by George Pitcher today, Women bishops face ‘flying bigots’, which follows up on the recent reports of national proposals with an account of what the Diocese of London did on Friday:

Some priestly women activists had urged a boycott of the event, fearing a mugging from the Anglo-Catholics. In the event, they had nothing to fear. The oppressive St Paul’s felt like that foreign land where women did things differently, but it was unmistakably of the past.

Dr Chartres, too, was playing an open hand. He acknowledged that, for some, the gender issue is one of justice, over which there can be no compromise.

The London Plan, first devised by Dr David Hope as Bishop of London, offers an Episcopal oversight, in the shape of the Bishop of Fulham, for those who cannot accept women as bishops. The question is whether it can be a paradigm for the wider Church. My guess is that the women’s faction will accept such provision for male traditionalists if it’s from an area bishop, like Fulham, within the diocese (whose diocesan bishop may well be a woman) and within a simple code of practice, but not flying bishops effectively from a “third province” founded in law. As Dr Chartres affirms, there can be no “episcopacy-lite” for women.

But that takes no account of the real-politick in evidence in St Paul’s on Friday. Some of the men-only camp are set on legal protection by the back door, after Synod voted clearly for a code of practice. One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others.

There are important further details on his blog at Language of women bishops and ‘flying bigots’.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 6:10pm BST | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

"One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others."

Well said, but there's a even briefer way of putting it: Drama Queens. ;-/

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 8:47pm BST

Total of clergy leaving Church in Wales since Provincial " Flying "Bishop abolished....0

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 9:22pm BST

If Richard Chartres still sees himself as a candidate for Canterbury then he needs to play 'an open hand' because he will then finally have to get round to ordaining women - as he said he would be prepared to do so last time around.

The current London scheme has a Bishop of Fulham who is openly associating with North American 'anti-gay' schismatics - which for those who know London and those under the Fulham jurisdiction is a bit rich. It's a good thing that the legendary lack of understanding of 'irony' by Americans is true.

Posted by: penwatch on Monday, 6 October 2008 at 10:39pm BST

Robert,
There isn't a woman bishop in Wales yet, is there? So perhaps those who are against having a woman bishop are simply waiting and hoping that they'll make it to retirement before it happens. Just because they haven't left yet doesn't mean they've agreed to accept a woman bishop, does it?

Posted by: Chris H. on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 1:51am BST

Perhaps as well then that the 'Sacred Synod' was transferred from All Souls, Langham Place, a church noted for it's antipathy towards renewal of the Gospel initiatives for justice presently being put in place by other, more liberal, parts of the Church of England and of the Communion.

The strange coalition of extremist evangelical and catholic clergy who are hell-bent on preventing women's ministry in the Church might not have felt mutually comfortable in such austere surroundings. At least, at Saint Paul's Cathedral there would have been people like Canon Lucy to help even up the 'odds' - against any radical revisionism of the General Synod's determination to at least openly consider the claims of women who experience a call from God to the episcopate.

The very idea of 'Flying' bishops evokes thoughts of pollution of the atmosphere (of the Church Catholic, if not of the earth itself). Who will be paying the cost of the emissions as a result of further proliferation of this travesty? Why, the people in the pews, of course - especially any who happen to be women or gay. Why is it that some clergy, whose calling in the Gospel is to be
all things to all people' are prone to turning a blind eye to issues of common justice - such as is at stake here?

Other parts of the Communion are already suffering the predations of 'Flying Bishops' - from deepest Africa and Southern America - into the Provinces of the Unites States of America and Canada; where their interference is largely not welcomed by the majority of local Anglicans. This is a form of 'christian' colonialisim we could all do well without. Is it worth the extra cost?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 5:35am BST

Father Ron

I agree with you. Flying bishops create precedents with more problems than they solve.

It's time for souls to get used to the idea that size and fitness of one's pectoral muscles does not determine one's spiritual clout or grace before God. Nor that men are infallible and women always in error.

Both male and female are just as capable of making a mistake, and just as capable of rising above the situation to see the bigger picture.

In fact, the exclusion of one group or denying of grace actually diminishes the excluders - in failing to see Spirit in another they demonstrate their own blindness. Zecharaih 3: rebuke those who fail to recognise the holy spark in the "dirty".

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 9:01am BST

“competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others"

What an abvsolutely delightful term! It's like what my partner says of such people "I would get your point, but then I'd miss a chance to be victimized." It's also referred to as "My disfunction's bigger than your disfunction."

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 1:33pm BST

"One or two of them were indulging on Friday in what Canon Winkett called “competitive vulnerability”, invoking a term coined by novelist Sara Maitland for those who believe their pain must be bigger than that of others."

>Well said, but there's a even briefer way of >putting it: Drama Queens. ;-/

That's a bit rich. We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?

Posted by: Jon on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 2:28pm BST

"Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?"

Very interesting question, actually. Supporters of OOW might say that the pain felt by those who stand in the way of the Gospel and God's justice is less valid. Conservatives might say that the pain felt by those who stand up for the truth is more valid. But they are really saying the same thing, just with different definitions of what God's truth and justice are. I'd suggest that any kind of pain suffered by God's children, regardless of whether or not it's deserved, is valid, actually, and I feel for those ACs and others who simply can't accept an ordained woman. I'd love for them to come into the "glorious liberty of the children of God" since I'd love for everybody to experience the Gospel. But if they can't they can't, and must be ministered to where they are. Treating them like disposable relics of a bygone era is just not right. We're supposed to meet people where they are in their faith, after all, not insist they be as "advanced" spiritually as we think we are. All the same, this "competitive vulnerability" is a very common thing in human beings. We all play at it, conservative and liberal alike, our society encourages it, for God's sake. So while the pain may be real, it is still valid to acknowledge this failing in human nature and poke fun at it. THAT'S Christian counterculture.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 2:50pm BST

England needs to look at the example of the Diocese of Massachusetts. When Barbara Harris was ordained, her visitations were scheduled based on invitations from parishes, and if a parish had issues with women as bishops, David Johnson either visited himself or had a retired bishop visit. There were more than enough parishes that wanted her to visit that it was never an issue.

I'm not sure how ordinations were handled, but I suspect that all ordinations were done by David, or by the two bishops together.

And when Barbara finally did visit the conservative Anglo-Catholic bastion of All Saints, Ashmont, she presided at Solemn Evensong and Benediction, rather than at Mass, out of respect for those who had objections to women celebrating the sacraments.

Much better to meet the situation with grace and love than with hostility and legalism.

Posted by: Jim Pratt on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 4:38pm BST

Jon: "We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?"

I'm an Anglo-Catholic, Jon, and I happen to be convinced, on very catholic premises, that women should be ordained to the episcopate. Your viewpoint does not have a monopoly on the term "anglo-catholic."


Posted by: Fr Mark on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 5:32pm BST

Hear hear Jon. It appears that the concept of "competitive vulnerability" is just one of many aspects of the debate that has become unacceptable since July's Synod, when it became no longer a useful tool for those in favour of the ordination of women.

Posted by: Daniel on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 5:37pm BST

Chris the Welsh flying bishop was created because the lie was told that when women priests
were allowed there would be a mass exodus, and this would stop it. Their bluff has been called.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 5:49pm BST

Jon and Daniel,

I, like Fr. Mark, am a dyed-in-the-wool anglo-catholic, who loves the sacraments of the Church, and yet now utterly convinced - like the General Synod of the Church of England - that there is no theological justification to exclude women from the priesthood or the episcopate. ("By their fruits you shall know them")

Many female anglo-catholics, who feel they have been called into the ministry of the Church, are still suffering from the fact that their call from God has been denied, consistently, by their male peers - on the grounds that Jesus did not call women to be one of the original Twelve Disciples. One only has to research the culture of the time to realise that women would not have been considered as Church Leaders in the early Church. However, Jesus did 'send' (apostello) a woman, Mary Madgdalene, to 'tell' the Good News (Gospel) of his resurrection from the dead - to the male disciples.

Ahead of his time, and seemingly to his fellow Jews - improperly - Jesus treated women with a dignity they had not received before in the church of his day. This is just one of the reasons for which he was eventually put to death.

If priesthood's primary task is to bring Christ into being at the altar; the BVM (a woman) was called by God to bring Christ into being in her womb. Was that not, also, a priestly act? Being, myself, a devotee of Our Blessed Lady (and how anglo-catholic can you get?) I have come to understand that her role as Theotokos, God-bearer, ought to open our eyes to the equality of all women, as potential God-bearers, as priests - together with men - in the Church Catholic. My prayer is that the Roman Catholic Church, which also honours the BVM, will one day come to this understanding of God's equal reliance on both men and women to share the redemptive task of the priesthood in the Church. It is important to accept that Jesus was representatively human, not just representing the male of the species.

PS. We have just welcomed our new Bishop, the Rt. Revd. Victoria Matthews; a formidable theologian,
pastor and teacher, priest and bishop - and female
- into our Christchurch, New Zealand, Diocese. Thanks be to God for her calling!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 9:54pm BST

Fr R Smith - I understand your posting but you, now utterly convinced, don't understand how people can think differently from you. If the ordination of women was simply a matter of justice - and for the vast majority on these boards it is, then any opposition is seen as scandalous - and rightly so. But you must try to see the whole question in a wider perspective, and that tradition needs to be engaged with rather more thoroughly.
Jon and Daniel are utterly correct and Lucy Winkett's comments - coming after all the visible competetive pain (and tears too that many of them were good at) from many women prior to 1992 is more than rich - it is a cheap disgrace.

Posted by: Neil on Tuesday, 7 October 2008 at 11:41pm BST

"That's a bit rich. We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics? Posted by Jon"

[Geez, as a Yank, *I* am supposed to be irony-challenged? Assuming Jon is from Blighty, um...]

Anglo-catholics can do many things about their pain, Jon. They can resist, they can swim the Tiber, they can try another rite, or they can "test the spirits" of ordained women (perhaps discovering none other than the Holy Spirit?). They can . . . well, get over it.

No one can change their chromosomes, Jon, from X to Y. Behold the difference!

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 12:13am BST

Neil: the ordination of women is not simply a matter of justice. But it is partly a matter of justice: and Anglicans have historically undervalued the biblical imperative for justice.

Nor are those of us Anglo-Catholics who agree with the ordination of women necessarily anti-traditional. Most of the FiF clergy are very Modern Roman in the way they do things, which would be regarded as ananthema by RC traditionalists; and most of the RC faithful are in favour of the ordination of women.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 9:20am BST

Neil
did you actually read what Fr Ron said? His last post was full of purely theological arguments and not a single one based on social justice.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 9:39am BST

Get over it is what I have heard from most of my friends. It would certainly make life a lot easier and I have changed my opinions on plenty of other issues over the years, so it's entirely possible I will on this one too.

However, I thought we were a broad church, encompassing a wide range of belief? It seems that a window is to be made into our souls after all.

Posted by: Jon on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 10:15am BST

"We have been hearing of the pain experienced by women priests and their supporters for many years now. Is that somehow more valid than pain currently being felt by anglo-catholics?"

Oh, the pain, the pain...somebody, somewhere is being led by a woman bishop! How can I ever survive this?

Please....

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 11:37am BST

How I would have loved to see +Barbara Harris officiate at Solemn Evensong and Benediction at All Saints, Ashmont!

Posted by: Geoff McLarney on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 12:56pm BST

'They can resist, they can swim the Tiber, they can try another rite, or they can "test the spirits" of ordained women (perhaps discovering none other than the Holy Spirit?)'

Some people indeed have changed their minds and see the Holy Spirit at work - but for others who see a move towards a sub-Christian Faith - there is no good reason to flee. Their job is to call the Church back to the fullness of Christ's gospel.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 3:23pm BST

"sub-Christian Faith"

What is this, and how does ordaining women lead to it? I have only ever heard the term used by the Bishop of Sydney in reference to Roman Catholics, which is rich when you think about it: a devotee of radical innovators, who preaches a kind of Christianity unheard of till 500 years ago and which constitutes a far more radical "reassessment" of the faith than anything he opposes today, calling those who adhere to one manifestation of the older tradition "sub-Christian" is the height of audacity! I'd suggest that if anything can be called "subChristian", if that means "less than Christian", it would be the kind of Christianity that denies the majority of the faith in favour of the musings of a bunch of Europeans who, 1500 years after the fact, thought they understood the Gospel better than those who heard it from the Apostles and their heirs.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 7:06pm BST

Perhaps the OOW as nexus is so difficult, just because it does draw together multiple strands of inquiry and discernment which are quite complicated and difficult in themselves, before the issues of OOW come along.

We have issues of social justice, no doubt. Just being against OOW does not settle these by ignoring or excluding social justice, since anti-believers still have the hard task of demonstrating justice - a biblical value, a gospel value if ever we had one. God's calls to women in church life open up myriad mystical doors to being something besides a mother, or a vowed religious community member, or an invisible lay believer whose only witness to God is following males, first and foremost and above all.
We have theological issues beyond justice, including the practical ones of how to make some church life provision in some way for believers afraid of women that does not further rend the big tent. We watch and worry about the trojan horses of the current ongoing conservative realignment campagning.

This vexes the OOW issues further, not least because in addition to unintended consequences, we know the conservative realignment agenda is devious, and wishes deeply to tear apart the very big tent whose leeway is claimed in order to have conservative room to attack, and tear in the first place. This trojan horse meanness is way beyond doubt to any of the rest of us who have been watching the realignment campaigning. It is a familiar set of deceptions, all familiar meanness.

Such analyses can be spin doctored as competitive vulnerability, but the point is still bald, still mean - about asserting big tent leeway as a means to hurtful ends. The burden conservative believers bear is to show just how getting protection from women does not put those women and the rest of us in vexed, and possibly impossible positions, as to our common witness and common worship and common Tikkun in a big tent sort of Anglicanism gone global. If bad faith is not truly the bottom line point, then show us how this is so by demonstrating how you will connect with women called and do careful and wise things to live with the rest of us. How can you continue to make windows into women's unworthy souls, while deftly turning side such scrutiny of yourselves? Whatever you do to women is done to you, ironically.

Posted by: drdanfee on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 7:27pm BST

"Their job is to call the Church back to the fullness of Christ's gospel."

A task which, in my experience, ordained women are particularly good at, Neil.

Posted by: JCF on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 7:27pm BST

Neil: "for others who see a move towards a sub-Christian Faith..."

Yes, but the problem is that people like me see the "conservatives" in the Church as currently moving towards sub-Christianity. The comments of Peter Mullen, discussed elsewhere on TA at the moment are a case in point: the "new" subChristian form of Anglicanism is the shrill scared screaming intellectually-challenged neanderthal conservative mindset, as far as I can see - it isn't at all what I was brought up with.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 8:56pm BST

Neil,

Moves 'backwards', such as you have suggested, are hardly calculated to further the cause of the Gospel - as has been proven by Roman Catholic moves to 'return' to the Church of pre-Vatican 2.
Retrospection can only cause confusion - as it did with the historical Ebionite demands for the restoration of circumcision and other out-dated rituals of the pre-Christian era.

There is, of course, the need to preserve what is sacred from our past Christian Tradition, but should that prevent us from seeking out ways of justice and integrity in the modern world - where women are now accepted as co-inheritors of the created order, alongside men?

Regarding the suitability of uniquely 'feminine' characteristics that have been overlooked by generations of males in the Church, there is the reminder that Saint Francis of Assisi, when sending out 3 Brothers to preach the Gospel, ordered that one of them should be 'mother' to the other 2. also, the reminder that Jesus spoke of himself as a 'hen', who gathers her chicks under 'her' wings - surelty a maternal, rather than a paternal metaphor for ministry? (Matt.23;27)

In the Early Church, there were many women who ministered to Jesus and the disciples, but their inclusion into the priestly order was not seen to be a possibility in that time. However, there were many women in the later history of the Church who had formidable roles of leadership within the Church - Hilda, Julian of Norwich, Teresa, Clare, etc., whose spiritual authority was often accepted by mere men. Today, there is a different climate of acceptance of women in every field of human endeavour. Could this not be the time for the Church to accept the fact that God might be calling women into episcopal ministry?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 10:25pm BST

Fr R Smith - thank you for good post. Yes, there is much in what you say I agree with and would argue for, and winning an argument after a debate is what needs to happen in addressing tradition. But that is not the same as reducing the whole argument to a matter of justice as many lazy people do.
Also, if a matter purely of justice and equality, this argument will become vulnerable to what I believe will be a new orthodoxy within a decade - the complementarity and difference in gender.
Surprising as it may seem, there are intelligent and rounded people who sincerely believe the ordination of women will never arise in the RC church because of our differences. As you point out, historically women seem to be better disciples, providing suitable paradigms for the Christian life. None of what you say though is an argument for any sort of ordination.

Posted by: Neil on Wednesday, 8 October 2008 at 11:29pm BST

Neil: "Surprising as it may seem, there are intelligent and rounded people who sincerely believe the ordination of women will never arise in the RC church..."

You do accept, though, that this is a minority view amongst the RC laity, don't you?


Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 9:20am BST

Whilst remaining unconvinced about the OOW myself I do accept that is now part of the Church of England and do not seek to change that. I have had cordial dealings with female clergy on a personal level and was glad that we were able to co-exist in the church we both call home.

It now feels, however, that people like me are being told either Change your mind or Leave. Legislating belief seems to me to be deeply un-Anglican.

Posted by: Jon on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 9:44am BST

Fr Mark -- to quote Archbishop Ullathorne, "The laity? What are they?" To which John Henry Newman is said to have replied, "Well, your grace, the hierarchy would look rather foolish without them."
(Quoted from memory)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 10:15am BST

"It now feels, however, that people like me are being told either Change your mind or Leave. "

Why? Seriously, and you are talking to someone who stopped going to church for 18 years over this issue and then went back. I believe strongly in OOW, btw, now. But, I used to feel just as strongly that the leaders of the Anglican Church of Canada didn't get it at all. They simply could not make a theological argument for OOW, it was all about a woman's rights, as if anyone has a right to be a priest. They had no respect for tradition. They didn't care about how conservatives felt. Sound familiar? It didn't help that about 4 or 5 years after I stopped going to church, I came up with a theological argument for OOW that I have yet to hear a Canadian clergyman make, and I have no theological education at all. That doesn't exactly instill confidence in me that our clergy even now "get it". I do know some, but not many. But I still don't agree that there is any desire to get rid of those who oppose OOW, and I was once one of them.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 11:28am BST

Perhaps I'm feeling over-sensitive after recent events in Synod here in the UK, but the decision to provide a Code of Practice rather than anything more formal for those parishes unable to accept a woman Bishop seems a pretty clear message.

I'm not going anywhere just yet though!

Posted by: Jon on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 2:00pm BST

"the decision to provide a Code of Practice rather than anything more formal for those parishes unable to accept a woman Bishop seems a pretty clear message."

Well, I don't know how to help. All I can do is tell you how I came to the place I am, but I'm an Anglo-catholic, and giving one's testimony is not part of our stock in trade. For me, it began when our rector, who had led the anti-OOW movement in our diocese, suddenly changed his mind. He told me that he had been approached by a woman who felt she had a vocation. He had tried to get her to go to someone else, she refused, he was her priest. His exact words were: "Ford, as I worked through it with her, our experiences were so much alike I had to admit that if I had a vocation, so did she." There was more. Then there was the idea that it must be Christ's humanity, not His ,maleness, that is important in the Incarnation, otherwise, it isn't effective for over half the population. And it must be that humanity the priest represents on the altar, not His maleness, so "in persona Christi" isn't negated by someone being a female. The there was "in Christ there is neither male nor female". All this, and a growing sense that there was more to my faith than this brought me back. And, for that last reason, that fact that the leadership of the ACofC seemed in an even worse shambles than it was when I left didn't seem to matter all that much. I found that asking myself about any issue "Why is this so important for me?" is a big help. Good luck, and don't buy in to the persecution myth. That becomes self fulfilling.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Thursday, 9 October 2008 at 5:02pm BST

Jon and Neil,

My heart goes out to you both. Like Ford, I was once totally opposed to the ordination of women - on the grounds that Jesus had never counted them aomngst the Twelve Apostles. But then, I began to understand that - though Jesus did not personally choose Saul/Paul - God chose him to be an Apostle of Christ. If God chose an active persecutor of Christians to become an Apostle of Christ, could God not choose a woman - a one-time very unlikely candidate for ordained ministry - to become a priest or bishop?

I think that it was after experiencing women's ministry as priests in the Church that I came - almost by osmosis one might say - to understand the validity of their priestly ministry. I guess this is part of the problem, especially in the UK. Until we are prepared to actually experience the ministry of a woman, we may never be open to the possibility of their calling. It took me quite a while to accept the ministry of the sacraments from the hands of a woman - until I came to the understanding that God can use anyone to preach and to BE the messenger and minister of Christ in the Gospel. ("In Christ, there is neither male nor female" - Saint Paul - true or false?)

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 10 October 2008 at 6:55am BST

"Jesus did not personally choose Saul/Paul - God chose him to be an Apostle of Christ"

Fr. Ron, can I point out that this seems too strong a separation of the hypostases? Jesus IS God, after all. Can I give you some gentle ribbing about being a closet Arian?

Posted by: Ford Elms on Friday, 10 October 2008 at 5:38pm BST

Jesus is of God but Jesus is not all of God.

There is the Trinity. Plus every single soul contains a spark of God.

Jesus was annointed as Lord of this earth and all its occupants. One of the functions of the bible is to act as a handbook for God's annointed souls. So as Lord of all the Earth, Jesus is meant to fulfill the messianic decrees. A performance review with the conservative Evangelicals held up as the "pinnacle" of Jesus' manifestation led to Jesus having a very poor performance review.

Idolotry, corruption, greed, deceit, opportunism, misogyny, xenophobia, elitism, genocide, duress, violence, complacency and selfishness. These souls are just as guilty as satanists - they are both prepared to build high mounds for themselves, to sacrifice children and to destroy and desecrate an entire planet and its occupants, simply to posture and preen about their own self-importance.

Things have gone very wrong when there is greater hospitality in hell than in heaven, when there is more compassion amongst the evil than the divine, when there is more responsibility taken by the weak and outcaste than by the strong and approved.

Apparently since Jesus became all of God, it became okay to diminish the Cherubim of the Glory to some simple energetic manifestation without feelings consciousness or free will. Her dark Cloud of Divine Presence that enveloped Mt Sinai, Solomon's temple consecration and Jesus at the transfiguration not even commentable. Apparently Jesus thinks that he came from himself and is only accountable to himself. That's okay, Jesus won't mind if those "non-existent" souls stand back and let him run the show. After all, anything else would be an act of rebellion (Who are we to prove that we exist when his "best" Christians insist that we don't?).

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Friday, 10 October 2008 at 10:11pm BST

Ford,
I expect Fr Ron meant that Jesus in his human form had not personally chosen Paul.
If God gets a look in, and maybe even the Holy Spirit, the argument against women priests collapses straight away.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 10 October 2008 at 10:41pm BST

"Jesus did not personally choose Saul/Paul - God chose him to be an Apostle of Christ"

Dear Ford. I still stick by my iteration (above) of the fact that 'God' called Saul/Paul to become an apostle - if only to convince you that I do believe in the Trinity as both 'One and Three' - (Persons in One God). And actually, it was the Riesn Christ who commissioned Saul who became Paul, possibly the greatest Christian apologist.

Perhaps what I was trying to actually convey, was the fact that it was not the pre-resurrection, incarnate, Jesus who commissioned Saul, but the eternal God-in-Christ. Gosh! I'm not too good in the art of semantics! I suppose if we think of Jesus as The Eternal Word, you do have a point.

Yours, Ford, was a reminder that this blog does call for all of us who are contributors to be 'Thinking' Anglicans. Thank you for your continuing common sense on this blog. But then, I could say that about most of our fellow bloggers.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 10 October 2008 at 11:34pm BST

"Jesus is of God but Jesus is not all of God."

Well, Cheryl, that is not what the Christian faith has taught since the First Ecumenical Council. I don't challenge you often,largely because you don't say much that riles me up. But, I don't accept your Christology. I find it Arian at best, and it goes against a lot of what informs my faith and makes both Christianity's mysticism and its social message so attractive for me. I simply do not find a half divine Jesus to be meaningful. Sorry. You're free to believe as you do, but we'll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

"I'm not too good in the art of semantics!"

Nor am I, Fr. Ron. And my post was more on the lines of teasing one of the family, so to speak. I have found your posts to be quite Trinitarian and Incarnational, so far forth as I am able to judge these things. It was one of those minor semantic points that we Christians of a certain stripe love to argue over, even to the point of schism in some cases. :-) And we AC tat queens are always seeking to perfect the art of nit-picking!

Posted by: Ford Elms on Saturday, 11 October 2008 at 6:52pm BST

Ford,

I find your teasing much preferable to the sort of theological empiricism one finds on some blogs. At least, we are civil to one another here. The whole business of Jesus and God is so deep and precious a paradigm that I have ceased to try and dissect its most intimate parts. However, I do understand from the teaching of Paul that: "Here, we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see Him face to face. What a gloriousd experience that will be. I'm really looking forward to it. God Bless!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 6:24am BST
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.