Comments: Yes 2 Women Bishops conference report

What a great title, hence my disappointment at the 2 papers given by Stephen and Jody.
I can sense the fulness of joy of each in what they have discovered and wish to share, but it seemed to one reader at least, that their persuasions lacked substance.
Indeed Scripture reveals to us that what God created in His image was not just ‘man’ but a being in both male and female form – Gen 1.27.
What surely has to be deduced from that diversity is that they are not the same, and not necessarily for the same functions [the male does not bear children!]
Yet both speakers, having come to rejoice in the creation of ‘man’ in male/female form in order to fulfill all that God purposed by such a creation [especially in marriage to reflect the Christ/Bride relationship, Eph 5] proceed to identify the roles – so that they can rejoice in ‘equality’ of the distinct male/female of God's creation.
It seems that ‘equality’ is what drives their theology, especially Jody’s explications!
Here’s the challenge for such approaches, [if my reading of what is moulding Fulcrum’s thinking is correct] – is it possible to be unequal, yet without inferiority/superiority? I think they imagine that is impossible, but it is certainly true within the Trinity, and our Triune God in forming His image on earth was surely in some way incorporating that order of things!
We were created male and female, not to occupy the same roles and perform the same functions – and both forms are needed to make a complete ‘man’, the image of God on earth.
I would imagine such thinking will eventually also lead to ‘same sex marriage’ – for it is driven by the same philosophy – that male and female must be ‘equal’ and able to perform the same functions – yet the current proposed legislation just exposes that two of the same cannot perform the functions of the diverse male/female!
The philosophy of the LGBT lobby has been very astute; if they had purely advocated debauchery in their relationships they would never have won the day in contemporary society. But by advocating ‘equality’, they have persuaded the nation – in fact they even seem to be encouraging a christian way forward!
It seems to me that the same approach has won the day with Fulcrum as well – and enables speakers to rejoice and call others to rejoice with them.
We indeed rejoice in the wisdom of God and long to see the Church rejoicing in all its Fulness, but it will be through complementarity not ‘equality’, through acquiescing in God’s handiwork not redefining it because ‘equality’ trumps all.

Posted by william at Sunday, 17 March 2013 at 8:27pm GMT

Oh dear William, where have you been living? The prospect of men and women fulfilling the same or similar roles in the secular world must really distress you. How post Fall it must all seem! You at least keep yourself pure: I am sure you never do housework, change nappies, or do the cooking, but restrict yourself to fulfilling your male role in all its fulness.Perish the thought that any woman should have a career- what a disruption to the natural order! Would that we could all return back to the nineteenth century with you, but alas, even the evangelicals seem to have perceived complementarism (?) for the nonsense it is. I fear the world is doomed.

Posted by Helen at Sunday, 17 March 2013 at 10:23pm GMT

We learned in America that "separate" is inherently "unequal." The whole philosophy of the "differing roles of the sexes" is a construct of man, not God. God calls some women to ministry. Period. God has created male and female and gay and straight. And God said that her diverse creation is "good."

The short answer is no. There is no way to do "unequal" without inferiority/superiority. Because whoever is in the power role is going to demand their prejudiced view of what that looks like. We women, and we LGBT persons are created in the image of God, loved by God, and called by God into roles that some people don't "get." But I'm sorry, the fact that some people don't "get" God's vast and diverse creation does not empower one to oppress others.

How convenient that this philosophy happens to support the status quo, continues to empower the privileged, and is shockingly dismissive of the voice of women and LGBT children of God.

Posted by Cynthia at Sunday, 17 March 2013 at 10:55pm GMT

"The philosophy of the LGBT lobby has been very astute; if they had purely advocated debauchery in their relationships they would never have won the day in contemporary society."

Project much, william? Kyrie eleison!

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 17 March 2013 at 11:50pm GMT

'Complementarity' seems to be the new weasel word used by those opposed to the LGBT community and women's ministry. 'Debauchery' on the other hand, is just plain offensive.

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 5:00am GMT

'The philosophy of the LGBT lobby has been very astute; if they had purely advocated debauchery in their relationships they would never have won the day in contemporary society'.

William, Your outdated approach to theology is depressing - but this particular disgusting comment exhibits a degree of insulting homophobia that has no place in a serious Christian debate.

Posted by Rosie Bates at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 7:07am GMT

Please can we focus comments strictly on the issue of women bishops, and the content of the conference talks.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 7:53am GMT

It would appear that the primary factor behind Fulcrum's hosting of this Conference was to assure doubters that Women's Ministry is not an essential element in the Church; but rather, an acceptable 'add-on' where it may be conscientiously received. Not really a serious theological appraisal.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 10:36am GMT

Sorry, Simon, that is not good enough. Using the word 'debauchery' in association with LGBT activity in the early 21st century would get any commentator rightly villified in secular society. Those of us who find such language unacceptable do not need a lecture on staying 'on message.'

Posted by Stephen Morgan at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 12:03pm GMT

I found William's lack of paragraphs distressing, as it prevented me from reading it.

But now having read comments upon his comment, I can see I may have saved myself some real upset.

EDITOR why not require Conservative or lunatic-fringe posters here to present their comments in Latin ?

Just askin....

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 4:09pm GMT

Well Simon, I'll try to stay on topic. The first two make arguments based on complementarism. While some of the arguments, especially about inclusive language, seem strong I find it limited. And it leaves the door wide open to the homophobia we've seen right here.

Perhaps there is truth to this philosophy, but not if limited only to male and female. It might make sense if we think in terms of all members of God's diverse creation as having a complementary place at the table, and within the body of Christ. All races, all gender identities, even all religions. "In Christ there's neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female," etc.

I for one am grateful for William's post, most especially that disgusting comment about debauchery. Because it reveals the truth that homophobia is based on ignorance, fear, and hate. And some will build elaborate philosophies to justify their prejudices. We need to know this truth.

Posted by Cynthia at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 8:13pm GMT

Personally I think male and female should be equally able to respond to God's call, and the church is unfaithful if it does not allow itself to hear that call. God has called women in the past (Deborah, amongst others). Try putting Deborah in a box of segregated but equal female functions - it doesn't work, she was called because the men weren't up to it - and that's in the Bible.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Monday, 18 March 2013 at 8:56pm GMT

This morning, I heard about a new study. The findings are that people who have power tend to de-humanize those under them. A fact we mostly know already, but supported with research (at the University of Colorado, Boulder).

The cure is diversity and inclusion, combined with respectful listening. Fortunately, theology, this resembles the Kingdom.

Posted by Cynthia at Tuesday, 19 March 2013 at 4:37pm GMT

As you indicate, Cynthia, we all know that dehumanisation is practised daily - and not just by those who have power! So the image of God in the lives of His creation, both male and female, is defaced and spoiled.
Wasn't this behind Jesus saying to those who were to be leaders in His church that they were to be servants and not lord it over one another? - setting the paradigm Himself by washing the feet of His disciples.
Is that not 'the cure'?

Posted by william at Tuesday, 19 March 2013 at 8:34pm GMT

William, as someone who does a fair amount of volunteer ministry, I would definitely agree that servant ministry is part of the cure. But we are talking about polity. If we are to live in community and work out our salvation as we minister to others, there is an organization and hierarchy that comes with it.

How are we to be in community together? The life of Jesus included women and had angry words against the Establishment for using the Law to exclude and demean people. This, to me, is incompatible with a hierarchy of old white men excluding women and LGBT persons from participating equally. They have the power and tend to de-humanize those without it. The status quo are indeed "Lording it over" those more vulnerable.

Jesus said that we can tell the real prophets from the false ones by the fruits of their labor. Homophobia leaves LGBT people open to abuse, notably in places like Uganda and Nigeria, and bullying in schools, etc. Referring to my 22 year relationship as "debauchery" is a blasphemy against a gift from God. But thanks, because it really makes things clear.

Posted by Cynthia at Wednesday, 20 March 2013 at 2:02am GMT

William, yes, but just calling yourself a servant doesn't make you one.
When men declare women to be equal but different, and when that always always always translates into "I tell you what the difference is and it's tough luck if you don't agree", then there is very little genuine sense of servanthood.

That is precisely not following the example of how Jesus lived.

Posted by Erika Baker at Wednesday, 20 March 2013 at 7:38am GMT

William - are you suggesting that men should serve women instead of lording it over them?

Posted by Mark Bennet at Thursday, 21 March 2013 at 6:03pm GMT
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