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Source: (consider it) Thread: Priestly genitalia [Ordination of Women]
Carys

Ship's Celticist
# 78

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quote:
Christ:Church: Presbyter:congregation

Only a male can be a husband. It is a male thing. Thus, only a male can be a presbyter.


I still don't get this. I can cope with only a male can be a husband, but I don't get the thus. Maybe I'm being thick but I can't see the link. I recognise that this is in the context of the previous bit about Christ:Church and Presbyter:Congregation, but having just said that the whole church is feminine in relation to Christ, why should only the half that is masculine as humans be able to represent Christ when we none of us are equal to him. Sorry, I can't explain what I mean at all well.

You've set up a divide between Christ (Male) and Church (Female), and then taken 1 person out of the Church to represent Christ, and said that only the male part can take on that role, even though in comparison even human men are not Male like Christ.

Actually the problem here is that by setting up this Christ (Male): Church (Female) you are putting the Male as being better. It draws on ideas about the Male as dominant, Female as submissive, Male as sower, Female as Garden. If God is Male, then what are we women other than incomplete men? Where does female come from?

God is neither Male nor Female, but both are created in His (blast the English language! we need an asexual personal pronoun) image. Thus both reflect part of the Godness and so if we deny women the major role in the church then lose that part of the image of God which is expressed as female.

If Christ is essentially Male, how can he save women? If he can save women, why can't women represent him?

Traditionally male is regarded as including the female - so references to men include women as well etc. So men represent women, but women can't represent men. That implies that woman ain't equal. That woman are less than men. That's not what the Bible teaches (IMO), although it is a cultural assumption that has been confused with Christianity throughout much of Christian history.

Maybe this confusion is easier for us to see with Islam. In this day and age Islam is often perceived as being anti-women, with pratices such as FGM and the attitudes to women's education held by the Taliban for example. But from what I understand about Mohammed's (sp??) attitude is that he was for women being educated and indeed if you look at the medieval period Islamic countries had a far better record on women's education than did Christian ones. The cultural and religious attitudes have been mixed.

Sorry if this post comes across a bit strong, it's an issue that I feel passionately about. It goes into the depths of my identity.

Carys

--------------------
O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise


Posts: 6896 | From: Bryste mwy na thebyg | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
Shipmate
# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
God is neither Male nor Female, but both are created in His (blast the English language! we need an asexual personal pronoun) image. Thus both reflect part of the Godness and so if we deny women the major role in the church then lose that part of the image of God which is expressed as female.

Are you taking into account the outer/inner argument? It may or may not be valid, but I haven't yet seen it on this thread.

The male is the outer part, the female is the heart and substance.

So God is always described in Scripture as male - Father, Son, etc. We can only see and comprehend the outer part - the substance being impossible for us to deal with or even to think about.

Femininity miraculously represents the inner, silent, and unknown qualities of God's love.

Therefore the outer aspects of religion - the words, the organizational leadership - are traditionally carried by males.

Religion itself, however, is female, and is depicted consistently that way in Scripture - as the daughter of Zion, the holy Jerusalem, the bride and wife of the Lamb.

We can certainly change our traditions, but these archetypes are fairly universal in human civilization, not to mention Christianity. It is hard to leave them out of the account, even in the name of fairness and equality.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marinaki

Varangian Guard
# 343

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quote:
Originally posted by Gill:

Perhaps God has ALLOWED my three chin hairs to grow, to encourage me to become an Orthodox priest?

And I've been plucking them! Dear Lawd, forgive me!! [/QB]


Yep! Well, if you pluck them out then even more grow back --soon you'll have a really bushy beard, and before you know it we'll make you a Patriarch -- or would that be a Matriarch?
Whatever, you'll get to wear three crosses instead of one! And a mitre
(Interesting etymological point: the Greek word mitre is the same word used for womb (in modern Greek at least).
So there you have it, you don't need a 'mitre' as you've got one already!

Marina


Posts: 696 | From: London | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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Sorry about that; maybe Erin can delete the previous post.

quote:
You've set up a divide between Christ (Male) and Church (Female)

Well, I didn't set this up, the New Testament did. Over and over again.

quote:
and then taken 1 person out of the Church to represent Christ, and said that only the male part can take on that role, even though in comparison even human men are not Male like Christ.

But men are male as compared to women; that's why the Christ:Church: resbyter:congregation is an ANALOGY. The Christ:Church relationship is a male/female relationship, described by the words "bridegroom" (or "husband") and "bride"; and since the Presbyter:congregation relationship is a model or icon of the former relationship, then it too must be a male/female relationship, and thus the presbyter is a husband, and husbands are male. I don't know how to make it any simpler than that.

quote:
Actually the problem here is that by setting up this Christ (Male): Church (Female) you are putting the Male as being better.

Again, I didn't set this up. This is part of the "faith that was given once to the saints" that has been handed down. Does it make the male "better"? Better at what? Ontologically better? What exactly does "ontologically better" mean? You seem to be making some sort of comparison which makes no sense to me. Christ is the head of the church; he is "better" inasmuch as he is uncreated and we are created; he is God in essence and we are not. Is this what you mean?

quote:
It draws on ideas about the Male as
dominant, Female as submissive, Male as sower, Female as Garden.

Does it? You're not talking about meaning any more but origin or history. I'm not at all sure how this is relevant, let alone provable/discoverable.

quote:
If God is Male, then what are we women other than incomplete men? Where does female come from?

God isn't Male. Christ is a husband in relation to the church, which is a bride. This is a relational thing. When you're not talking about his relationship to the church, Christ is male in the flesh, but in his Godhood he is neither male nor female.

We may end up having to agree to disagree on the "better" thing.

Reader Alexis

[previous post deleted at poster's request]

[ 28 July 2001: Message edited by: RuthW ]

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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[renaging on previous words mode ON]

I know I shouldn't do this, but what the hell....

Freddy - the imagery is not "always" male/female, God/Church. "Today you have become my son" - addressed to the male representative king of Israel; "I brought my son up out of Egypt", again about Israel. And so on and so forth...

Alex - is representing Christ the only part of the priest's role? The priest is also (as Orthodox writer Gillian Crow says) there at the head of the people, leading them.

Therefore (this is my point, not Crow's), by the reasoning that says only a man can image Christ as bridegroom, we should have an equivalent woman to represent the bride - which suggests:

- you need some sort of male and female double act during the service,
- at the very least the deacon should be a woman; or
- that you truly believe that a male priest is congruent enough to represent all the people, male and female, which somewhat undermines the need for congruence on the plane of representing Christ

[slopes off, knowing he'll bet dragged further and further in if he doesn't leave this instant...]

--------------------
"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:


quote:
First -- how about Swedish Lutherans? Do they get to be in the "catholic club"? They maintain Apostolic Succession.


I think so, yes. I think I got them mixed up with Estonian and Latvian ones -- or perhaps they are in addition to them.
quote:
This whole "what is agreed on is the most important thing" is a sticking point for me. Let's say the reformers in the 16th century HAD decided to ordain women in the Church of England? Would the Anglican Church still be Catholic even if it had had women priests for 500 years?


But they didn't. Which is my point. We could ask all sorts of questions about "what if the church decided X?" But if we believe the Holy Spirit has been guiding us all this time, that in a special way that Spirit inhabits the succession of clergy from the Apostles on down to now, then it's rather difficult to say "Well, they were all wrong from the very beginning."

From a more Protestant point of view -- say, the Baptists' -- the Church did go terribly wrong from very close to the beginning, and was only corrected a few hundred years back. But from a Catholic/Orthodox point of view, it's been at least mostly right all the way down to now. We disagree over whether or not the Pope is the head but we do agree on the nature and role of bishops, for example. And one of the things we have agreed on until very, very recently is the role of women with regard to the nature of the priesthood.

quote:
Well, of course it would, because of the 3-fold ministry and the historic episcopate.


But part of what's at issue here is "are women, when they go through that process, truly consecrated in that episcopate, and how does that affect Apostolic Succession in our church?" So I don't think it's as simple as that. From the "women can be priests/bishops" point of view, of course it follows, but not from the other one.

quote:
I hear you saying "but they DIDN'T start ordaining women 500 years ago."

Right!

quote:
But in 1534 and subsequent years the Church of England took on a very different aspect from the Roman church. It seems to me that you're saying the liturgy (which changed) is a detail but the gender of clergy (which stayed the same) isn't.

It's not as binary as that; I've been saying repeatedly that I believe the areas in which Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic agree, and have agreed from the beginning, are more important than areas in which we disagree. I think liturgy matters; obviously we don't want anything false in it -- but of course the Roman and Eastern rites have been different in various ways for some time, and that doesn't trouble me.

I don't really see this as the same kind of thing, sorry.

quote:
In other words, the 16th century changes are all details, and everything that didn't change til now is not.

See I just don't get that.


I don't either, which is why I didn't say that. In fact, if a doctrine dates only from the 16th century I am less certain of it than one which dates back (and has been consistently held) from the 6th. I'm progressively more dubious about even more recent ones, say from the 17th or 18th centuries -- that is, if they were devised then rather than recovered. In many ways I like the Dark Ages more than the Middle, though I do love the Middle. The Renaissance had some wonderful things, too, but also some bad ones. I could go on but I thought I should mention this lest people think I'm only interested in the 1500s or such.

quote:
When you say the three strains of catholic orthodoxy agree, I always read "agree now".


Why?
quote:
If the events of the 16th century were not enough to make the Anglican church heretical, how then are the events of the late 20th?


Which heresies? Depends on which ones, I suppose.
quote:
"The details of how sacraments in general work are less important than our shared belief that they really exist, aren't they?" -- Except that this is a belief that we also share with Lutherans and Methodists.


Yes, and? Lutherans were in fact one of the groups I was thinking of; there is overlap with all sorts of churches on all sorts of issues. Lutherans believe in consubstantiation, RCs in transubstantiation, Anglicans don't define it as precisely, but we are all agreed that something really happens in more than just a symbolic way. We are also all agreed with regard to the Trinity, and with the Baptists and others as well, and so on.
quote:
Which raises another point. Our ordination of women might distance us from the "catholic" churches like Rome, but does it not align us with Apostolic churches (i.e. churches that believe themselves to be Apostolic whether or not they possess the Historic Episcopate)?


Your point being?
quote:
The Nicene Creed is not a statement of personal faith. It is a profession of corporate faith; "we believe". The Church believes. And in any case, it doesn't say anywhere that you have to sign up to the Creed to be an Anglican.


Um, actually, it's right there in the Confirmation Service and is even called our "Baptismal Covenant." (1979 BCP version: http://www.holycross-raleigh.org/bcp/416.html) It's called a "covenant" for a reason -- an agreement with God... It's also a statement of faith; if we don't believe it we shouldn't say it. I don't see how its being "corporate" lets us off from making statements we don't believe.

Part of the Ordination of a Priest (and Bishop) even specifically requires the candidate to say, "I solemnly declare that I
do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments
to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to
salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine,
discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church." (http://www.holycross-raleigh.org/bcp/526.html and http://www.holycross-raleigh.org/bcp/513.html) In Baptism, the celebrant and congregation say to the newly baptized specifically to "Confess the faith
of Christ crucified" and to "proclaim his resurrection" (http://www.holycross-raleigh.org/bcp/308.html) -- I suppose Spong believes that Jesus was crucified but if the man is denying the resurrection this is pretty basic stuff...

quote:
"Perhaps; I thought he [Blessed Cranmer] was trying to get us back to where the earliest ones were."
Now see, that sounds very Protestant to me.

... and?
It's not like I think, "Oooo, those naughty Protestants, how I hate them" or something. I think they had some things right and some wrong.
In a sense Anglicans are both Catholic (we maintain Apostolic Succession, the Sacraments, Bishops/Priests/Deacons) and Protestant (we have tried to be as close to what we understand the early Church to be like as we can; we just think that much of it was more Catholic than, say, the Baptists do).
quote:
Swift. You're thinking of TALE OF A TUB.

Bless you!
quote:
Are you saying you've never changed your mind? And that Holy Saints or the Holy Church can't either...?


Not sure what to say here; we seem to have very different views of what Christian Tradition means.
quote:
But tradition isn't some static thing like a rule book you must consult.

... no, it grew and developed while remaining true to itself for two thousand years.
quote:
Tradition is the Authority by which the church as the Body of Christ interprets. Living God. Living Church.


Yes, living. But this is not the same as switching gears abruptly all the time and throwing things out the window without warning.
quote:
Now see, this is the same "baby and bathwater" question oen gets with Fundamentalists when discussing the inerrency of the Bible.

And? They may have a point; but the traditions I understand we follow have different levels of meaning within the Bible also.
quote:
I don't have any problem questioning the Trinity.

As an individual or as far as changing the basic doctrines of Christianity? If I as an individual am wrestling with the doctrine, that is one thing, but we're talking about the faith of the Church. What about questioning the Resurrection? Would you be open to the Church letting go of that also?
quote:
Question away. Questions make a strong faith stronger.

But we do believe we have answers.
quote:
Locking up Truth in a tabernacle and never letting anyone see it for fear of questioning it sounds like the paranoia of a weak or uncertain faith.


But we do let people see it. That's why we have books on theology, apologists, catechisms, discussions, etc. It's not a secret what we believe.
quote:
If all the little ducks aren't in a row the whole thing goes out the window, is that it?

I have no idea what you mean here.
quote:
What I mean exactly is that Bishops ordain women. In the ECUSA some bishops ARE women (mine is).

Well, that's part of what's at issue here, isn't it?
quote:
Refusal to acknowledge or obey one's bishop strikes me as extremely un-episcopal, and untenably un-catholic.


But if her episcopacy is, in fact, in doubt, then obedience would also be un-catholic. And if we can question the Trinity (if not the Resurrection), can we not question her ordination?
quote:
It also is tantamount to saying "I am right about this issue and the Bishops and Church are wrong."


In this case, or in mine anyway, it is saying "the historic Church is consistent and right about all the other issues; why should it suddenly be wrong on this one? I cannot deny that I think it more likely to be right when the modern church disagrees with two thousand years of Christian belief and practice, so I am in doubt about the modern decision's rightness."
quote:
"What if they changed their minds, decided it had been a mistake, and went back to not ordaining women to the priesthood?"
Like tomorrow? While I think that would be extremely odd, and would look rather silly to backpeddle, I would accept it.


Why would "looking silly" and "being odd" be issues?
quote:
As Presiding Bishop Griswold said "schism is a worse sin than heresy."

I am not sure he is right or not; it may depend on the schism and on the heresy.
Right now our lack of willingness in the ECUSA to "enforce" dogma allows traditionalists like me to remain and to find churches within it whose theology seems (to us) sound; it also allows Spong to deny the Resurrection and Virgin Birth. If I were told "to remain in the ECUSA, you must agree to this revised Creed which says Jesus did NOT rise" or some such thing, then I would have to leave, schism or no schism, and I think that would be the right thing to do. (Technically if someone said that to remain, I had to accept something much more minor but which I have not been convinced of, ordination or otherwise, I'd have to leave as I can't just lie and say I believe it when I don't.)

I am still of course stuck with the "church A has lots of heresy but some orthodoxy and more love" and "church B is trying very hard to be orthodox in a self-righteous manner," and I am still in Church A.

Ah, rambling again... back to work for me...
Whoops, forgot:

Carys said:

quote:
And if the human race is feminine in relation to God then how the gender of the celebrant make a difference?


But once again I look to tradition and find no support for female priests, so here I am.

Back to proofreading!

[URL links fixed]

[ 27 July 2001: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]

--------------------
My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Therefore (this is my point, not Crow's), by the reasoning that says only a man can image Christ as bridegroom, we should have an equivalent woman to represent the bride - which suggests:

- you need some sort of male and female double act during the service,
- at the very least the deacon should be a woman; or
- that you truly believe that a male priest is congruent enough to represent all the people, male and female, which somewhat undermines the need for congruence on the plane of representing Christ


No, no, you're not getting it. The congregation represents the bride. That's why the last term in the analogy was "congregation". Don't you guys do those "A is to B as C is to D" things over there in Blighty? Ye gods, I remember enough of them from tests I took to flummox a Vegan snow leopard.

Reader Alexis

--------------------
God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


Posts: 62953 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Queen Bee
Shipmate
# 781

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I'm going back to pick up a couple of points from about page two of this interesting, tho' rather long-winded, conversation.

Fr. Gregory explained that the priest is an "icon of Christ" which seemed kind of helpful in clarifying the role of the priest. But then we got into the mess over why a person representing Christ has to male (tho' he could be Jewish or bald etc.). Sorry Fr. G., many of us are losing you there. I can see a perfectly clear image of Christ in female form, just as we have all seen icons of a black Christ. If there is a distinction there, it escapes me.

Dyfrig pointed the whole discussion in a helpful direction by referring to the two possible readings of the Nicene line "he came down from Heaven and was made man". That's the choice, right there. Fr. G. says it means that Christ was A MAN, and nothing else. But IMHO it is clearly an indication that He was HUMAN. And ain't we all?

Obviously I can't agree that "gender is an essential". All that is essential for a person to serve as an icon of Christ in the sacraments is humanity -- and of course the call to this role, and an appropriately trained understanding.


Posts: 82 | From: Durham UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gill
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# 102

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Yep! Well, if you pluck them out then even more grow back

Fortunately, I can assure you that ain't so!

Freddy, why do we have primitive carvings of fertility goddesses then? I know I am fairly ignorant of some of the finer points here but some of what you take as takens aren't. IMHO.

--------------------
Still hanging in there...


Posts: 1828 | From: not drowning but waving... | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
St Rumwald
Apprentice
# 964

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quote:
4: Is there any evidence that churches with women in ministerial roles are declining faster than those without? I imagine not, just rhetoric.

Erm, Methodists? Dying on their feet in the UK. And 'inclusive'language too.

Not causality of course, pure correlation, but this particular discussion never bends to reason on either side.


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AlastairW
Apprentice
# 445

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Some of these posts are getting longer than a chapter in a theolgoical textbook!

Aroudn here severl chrcuehs led by women, ro in which men and womenn are clergy togtehr are actually breaking new ground.

And no-oine seems to have said "rubbish" to the wild generalsiation a few posts back that in the Old TEstament God is always male. What?! Amazingly, given the cultural context God is sometimes described using female imagery eg Isaiah 66: 13 (and many wake Jeruslem here as a periphrasis for God), Hosea 11: 3 - 4, and the whole Wisdom tradition in which Wisdom becomes in Greek Logos wich leads into the thought of John 1.


Posts: 14 | From: West of England | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Freddy
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# 365

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quote:
Originally posted by Gill:
Freddy, why do we have primitive carvings of fertility goddesses then?

Yes many religions have had, and even do have, goddesses as well as gods. The OT & NT, however, disapprove of all of it.

I'm not saying that the exclusive imagery of all religions worldwide is of a male god. Nor is the heart of religion exclusively female. I'm just saying that it tends that way worldwide, and is exclusively that way in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Although granted, as Dyfrig pointed out, the female imagery is not as consistent.

But imagery doesn't prove anything one way of the other. It is an analogy, not a directive.

To echo the point St. Rumwold made above on the question:
Is there any evidence that churches with women in ministerial roles are declining faster than those without?

A source of information would be www.gallup.com - the Gallup Poll site for the United States. The relative declines and increases in membership of the major denominations over the past 50 years supports what he says. Again, no causality indicated, merely guilt by association. Still, the declines are dramatic, whatever the cause.

--------------------
"Consequently nothing is of greater importance to a person than knowing what the truth is." Swedenborg


Posts: 12829 | From: Bryn Athyn | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Space is big, I mean really big. You can't possibly imagine how mind-bogglingly huge it is. You might think it's a long way down the street to the chemist's, but that's peanuts to space. Listen-

Sorry, where was I?

Oh, yeah. Help me a little here, Alex. You said:The congregation represents the bride. That's why the last term in the analogy was "congregation".

So, accepting the analogy for now (it's not the only one in the NT, of course):

Christ=Bridegroom=Male, Church=Bride=Female,

Therefore we have one Male Priest to represent the first because you can't have a woman representing the Male element, and the Bridegroom is singular. And we have ... a large body of people of both sexes representing the Female element because...er...er... you can have a lot of people of different sexes represent the Female, singular Bride..... erm..... erm..... Do you see my problem in getting this?

You said as well: since the Presbyter:congregation relationship is a model or icon of the former relationship, then it too must be a male/female relationship, and thus the presbyter is a husband, and husbands are male....so by definition to complete the icon of this relationship you need to properly represent the wife. Is that achieved by a group of men and women together?

It's not that I object to symbolising things - it's the fact that the symbolism doesn't seem to work itself out fully into the whole Church.

--------------------
"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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Dyfrig, I want to help you, but I'm afraid I'm going to run out of steam here.

In the A:B::C :D, both A and C are male, and both B and D are made up of persons of both genders.

B contains both men and women but is called "bride."

I admit we're holding "groom" to be male while allowing "bride" to be less gender-specific. I don't know what the answer to that conundrum is. I'm trying to parrot back what I've learned, but I haven't been at it all that long. I've only been Orthodox 4.5 years. Maybe there is no specific answer; maybe there is one and I haven't heard it yet. Can't help you any further along this route! Sorry!

I feel terrible! She feels worse!
We can hardly talk in verse!

---Salman Rushdie

As for what was mentioned earlier about women iconing Christ: yes I ahve seen black icons of Christ but they are (according to Orthodox iconology) heretical. The incarnate Christ was a male first century Palestinian Jew. This is the "scandal of particularity." He had a specific hair colour, a specific height and weight (at any given time, of course). He was not a generic human being, but a very specific one, existing at a specific time and place, with specifiable features (at least to those who witnessed His incarnate body first-hand).

Did he come as a man because the 1st century palestinian culture made it easier for men than for women to get around? Then why didn't he wait until the 20th century, when he could have come as a woman? Yet somehow we believe he chose the time and place of his incarnation. It wasn't an accident. Thus his being male wasn't an accident of time and culture, but something He intended.

Seems to me.

Reader Alexis

[smilies disabled]

[ 27 July 2001: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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mousethief

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# 953

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doggone those stupid smilies!

Alex

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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Carys

Ship's Celticist
# 78

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Mousethief, yes I know that the Bridegroom/Bride analogy is Biblical, however, analogies can be pushed to far and that is what I think is happening here.

quote:
But men are male as compared to women; that's why the Christ:Church: resbyter:congregation is an ANALOGY. The Christ:Church relationship is a male/female relationship, described by the words "bridegroom" (or "husband") and "bride"; and since the Presbyter:congregation relationship is a model or icon of the former relationship, then it too must be a male/female relationship, and thus the presbyter is a husband, and husbands are male. I don't know how to make it any simpler than that.

Thanks, you have explained the thus. I still don’t agree with it, but I do now follow the logic. As Dyfrig has stated on a number of occasions, the presbyter represents Christ to us AND us to Christ. Why is a male person able to represent the whole of humanity to Christ but a female person not able to represent Christ to us? This implies that male includes female but female does not include male. A view that I think is wrong humanity = male+female, we are equal, not a sub-set.

I do not think that this particular analogy is necessarily the best to describe the priest’s role. Yes there is the Bridegroom/Bride relationship of Christ and the Church but I do not think that that is the relationship which the Presbyter:Congregation relationship is mirroring. That is the Christ as High Priest relationship, and Christ as Victim, Christ on the Cross reconciling us to God.

It sets the priest up as being separate from the congregation – playing Christ, rather than being one of the congregation given a certain task by the congregation/Church.

There is a danger in relying to heavily on one analogy. Generally in trying to talk about God there are a number of analogies at work, as we try to understand what’s going on.

RE:Better. Better as in ‘more like Christ’ for one.

quote:
God isn't Male. Christ is a husband in relation to the church, which is a bride. This is a relational thing. When you're not talking about his relationship to the church, Christ is male in the flesh, but in his Godhood he is neither male nor female.

I’m glad you accept that God isn’t Male. So if we don’t accept that Presbyter:Congregation is mirroring Christ as Bridegroom in relation to the Church his Bride (as I don’t think I do), then what is there to stop women being priested? What is not assumed is not saved, so Christ in his humanness saved all of humanity, by denying woman that role aren’t you losing part of God’s image?


ChastMastr,

quote:
Carys said:
quote:

And if the human race is feminine in relation to God then how the gender of the celebrant make a difference?

But once again I look to tradition and find no support for female priests, so here I am.


Which doesn’t in fact address what I said (and you quoted). But anyway,

Tradition operates within the culture of the time. I suspect the issue of women priests has not been an issue in other centuries because of the role of women in society as a whole, but that role is changing and women are no longer regarded as some incomplete men, with no brains. We are educated, no longer chattels and are accepted (in theory at least) within the workplace, not told to shut up because we’re just illogical women. We are at last being treated as equals by men – something that Jesus did 2000 years ago. So why oh why is the Church lagging behind society in this rather than leading the way? The Bible acknowledges that men and women were created equally in the sight of God, so why does the Church insist on treating women as second class citizens?

I’m a strong-minded, intelligent, girl who 75% of the time forgets she female and just regards herself as human. Probably about 50% of my friends are male, I just relate to people as people not as some strange other species. But maybe I’m abnormal in that regard.

Carys

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O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise


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Carys

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# 78

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I know this will probably be a follow on posting but I want to reply to something which was said while I was writing the last one!

quote:
Did he come as a man because the 1st century palestinian culture made it easier for men than for women to get around? Then why didn't he wait until the 20th century, when he could have come as a woman? Yet somehow we believe he chose the time and place of his incarnation. It wasn't an accident. Thus his being male wasn't an accident of time and culture, but something He intended.

Aah, but if he hadn't come would we now be in the position that we are. Would society have developed to what it is now without Christianity?

Also there was an interesting article in the Church Times today (which unfortunately isn’t on their website) about Fr Rob Esdaile, chaplain at Sussex University, whose appointment as theology tutor at the Venerable English College in Rome has been blocked by the Congregation for Education in Rome. In a letter to the Guardian in October 1999 he wrote, ‘The major issue which Catholicism has to face is not the ordination of women but the fact that official decision-making authority is reserved for male clerics. The best way of symbolising a real will to improve women's status would be the appointment of women cardinals (a theologically unproblematic step). But of course, that will be over the present pope's dead body - and therefore need not be far off.’

An interesting idea. Is it possible – what are cardinals? Do they have to be ordained?

I agree that the lack of women’s voices can be a problem. Men might think that they are not putting women down, when unconsciously they are.

Carys

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O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise


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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
[qi]Carys said:[/qi]
Mousethief, yes I know that the Bridegroom/Bride analogy is Biblical, however, analogies can be pushed to far and that is what I think is happening here.

This may be the place where we have to agree to disagree.

quote:
Thanks, you have explained the thus. I still don’t agree with it, but I do now follow the logic.

Then I haven't lost all ability to communicate!

quote:
As Dyfrig has stated on a number of occasions, the presbyter represents Christ to us AND us to Christ. Why is a male person able to represent the whole of humanity to Christ but a female person not able to represent Christ to us? This implies that male includes female but female does not include male. A view that I think is wrong humanity = male+female, we are equal, not a sub-set.

I'm not sure I know how to explain this. I keep turning it over in my head but can't come up with words that come out right. Sorry!

quote:
I do not think that this particular analogy is necessarily the best to describe the priest’s role. Yes there is the Bridegroom/Bride relationship of Christ and the Church but I do not think that that is the relationship which the Presbyter:Congregation relationship is mirroring.

Whereas the O. Church does think this; we seem to be at an impasse here.

quote:
It sets the priest up as being separate from the congregation – playing Christ, rather than being one of the congregation given a certain task by the congregation/Church.

Only if you think of Christ as being separate from the Church, which we do not.

quote:
There is a danger in relying to heavily on one analogy. Generally in trying to talk about God there are a number of analogies at work, as we try to understand what’s going on.

As of course is the case here. Again I have to make the (lame, I know!) excuse that I am trying to present what I have been taught, and (a) I'm not a perfect student, and (b) I have only been taught a fraction of all there is to learn!

quote:
RE:Better. Better as in ‘more like Christ’ for one.

In that case I would say that neither gender is better simpliciter.

quote:
I’m glad you accept that God isn’t Male.

See?! There is one area where we agree!!

quote:
So if we don’t accept that Presbyter:Congregation is mirroring Christ as Bridegroom in relation to the Church his Bride (as I don’t think I do), then what is there to stop women being priested?

There are of course other reasons. "The Apostles didn't do it" is a very powerful one with the Orthodox. If it's wrong to not ordain women, then it was wrong for the Apostles to not ordain women.

quote:
What is not assumed is not saved,

You've been reading our theologians!

quote:
so Christ in his humanness saved all of humanity, by denying woman that role aren’t you losing part of God’s image?

Don't see how this follows. God has denied men the ability to bear children, but that doesn't diminish God's image.

quote:
Tradition operates within the culture of the time. I suspect the issue of women priests has not been an issue in other centuries because of the role of women in society as a whole,

I think this is not entirely accurate. Women in the early church took on many roles that were downright scandalous to both the Greeks and the Jews. Yet not the presbytery. If avoiding scandal were really the issue, they wouldn't have been denied the presbytery either.

quote:
We are educated, no longer chattels and are accepted (in theory at least) within the workplace, not told to shut up because we’re just illogical women.

All of these things are excellent things.

quote:
We are at last being treated as equals by men – something that Jesus did 2000 years ago.

Yet he did not select any female apostles, nor leave instructions with his apostles to select female bishops. Was He a misogynist?

quote:
So why oh why is the Church lagging behind society in this rather than leading the way?

Maybe the church realizes that women and men aren't interchangeable, impersonal cogs, and realizes that gender really does encapsulate something about the nature of the mystery of God?

quote:
The Bible acknowledges that men and women were created equally in the sight of God,

And yet it says the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. There's more than simple mathematical equality going on here.

quote:
so why does the Church insist on treating women as second class citizens?

I assume you are saying that not ordaining women to the presbytery is tantamount to treating them as second class citizens. We, of course, do not see it that way.

quote:
I’m a strong-minded, intelligent, girl who 75% of the time forgets she female and just regards herself as human. Probably about 50% of my friends are male, I just relate to people as people not as some strange other species. But maybe I’m abnormal in that regard.

This is impertinent, and you can tell me to mind my own business if you choose, but: Are you married? I can't imagine forgetting I'm male when I relate to my wife; nor do I believe that she forgets she's female in relating to me, even though we relate as equals in all areas. I never tell her what to do, and vice versa. This is something we worked out and talked about quite a bit before getting married, so I'm not just blowing smoke here.

quote:
God wants spiritual fruits
Not religious nuts

I love your sig, by the way!

foolish and sinful,
Reader Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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Honest Ron Bacardi
Shipmate
# 38

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Carys - I'm not RC but I think what is being said runs along the following lines -

1. Cardinals are the leading clerics in the Roman church (and I mean Roman as in Rome - they elect the bishop of Rome). In practice they are chosen worldwide but nevertheless still have a technical responsibilty to a particular church in Rome

2. Cardinals can be bishop-cardinals, priest-cardinals or deacon-cardinals. None of the latter at present I think.

3. Whilst Rome currently does not ordain women to the diaconate, it has done so in the past.

4. Therefore technically there exists a route (currently heavily overgrown) by which women could be involved in the topmost decision-making body of the church.

I think....

Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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I think the Orthodox and Catholic* contributors to this thread are right in one thing. (*forgive me, I know this word describes both HT and CM - but I can’t think of another word. Help! What I mean is both Roman and Anglo-Catholic who do not accept that women’s ordination is the correct).

Anyway.

Where was I?…. oh yes, the Orthodox and Catholic (see above) contributors are correct in one thing: Tradition (with a butt-kicking capital T) is the prime argument against women’s ordination. It has been a consistent position since, as far as I can tell, the 4th century (I’ll explain this choice of date below).

So, let’s think about the issue from another angle for a minute, because as mousethief says, there’s a bit of an impasse going on here.

We know that certain things were done and said in the 1st century (we have the NT record - e.g. that bit in 2 Tim about women being save by childbirth, Paul’s rules about women speaking in church) - however, even in the more "Traditional" Churches, parts of Paul’s teaching is not considered all that binding (hats, speaking in church, long/short hair, etc).

We also know that Chrysostom was saying things in the 4th/5th centuries (for example that women are incapable of reason and wisdom - comments which suggest he wasn’t exactly the most informed or empathetic bloke on the planet). Those more familiar with the period will be able to answer this question - what does the literature between these two points tell us? Did the Church ever ask the question, "Should a woman be a priest?" in that intervening period?

The reason I ask this is because there are many questions which the bible record simply doesn’t address. That’s the failure of most Fundamentalism and Literalism - it asks of the Bible questions that it simply cannot answer because the writers - the Apostles, the Prophets, the Martyrs - never thought of asking the question, in the same way that Byzantium never had to face the grace/works argument because the question wasn't even asked east of Carthage.

Equally, there is much silence on various issues between the NT and the Settlement of 325-451 (which created the institution to which Orthodoxy is the legitimate heir - sorry, John Paul!)

Now, whilst we know that institutionally by around 400 the Church had a view on this issue, are we sure that the Tradition before this even bothered asking the question? Can we say for certain that the Apostles even considered the issue? We know Paul (or at least his stream in the Church) did so, but we don’t adhere totally to what he says on all things, so is there a way of seeing this as a remaining faithful to Tradition without necessarily damning all that has gone before us?

Let me give you examples of the way I’m thinking here - Peter, lovely Peter. Zealous, passionate Peter. Thick, pigheaded and often wrong Peter. Up to Acts 9 seems to have accepted the Jerusalem church’s position that Jewish people only could be Christians. Even after the vision of Acts 10, still seems to be struggling with this issue - cf. Paul’s account of the Council of Jerusalem (the First Ecumenical Council? ) in Galatians - he seems to have struggled quite a lot with the vision that Paul had of the Gentiles being part of the Church. But he (and James, it would appear) came round to Paul’s opinion. So we know that faithful ministers of the Gospel can legitimately change their mind on an issue - we have a typology of it, if you will. And it also suggests that the Church needs to be very careful with its pronouncements - after all, Jesus told Peter that what he bound on earth would be bound on heaven, so he really needs to take a lot of care when taking decisions!

Now, consider Paul - he went out, bursting with zeal to bring the Good News to the Gentiles. He declared that there was no Jew nor Greek in Christ - just people. He managed to work that bit out because he saw it with his own eyes.

And yet his own attitude to women and slaves does not quite match up to his own mark.

Though he said there was no slave or free, he never quite grasped the full implications of that - in fact, the West didn’t do so till about 1800 years later.

Equally, he made the statement "there is no male nor female in Christ", but doesn’t seem to have worked that out theologically (though having Pheobe as a Deacon and Junia as an Apostle suggests that his practice didn’t always match his theology.)

So, like Peter, we have in Paul a paradigm of setting a goal - there is no Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female - and yet not, in his own lifetime, managing to live up to that. Not because he was a particularly useless person, but rather because the question never arose.

For both Peter and Paul the immediate question was "Should Gentiles be accepted into the Church?" They concluded - after a divine vision, a blazing row and a lot of dithering on Peter’s part - that the answer was "yes".

Next comes the question of slavery. Paul has no real view on the institution itself, apart from one comment somewhere in the Pastoral Epistles (which may be deutero-Pauline) that slave traders were not exactly welcome. So, here we can see the Church having set itself a goal, but yet to have worked it out in its life. As previously said, the Western Church would take a long, long time to grasp this one.

So what of women? Did Peter and Paul even ask the question, "Should a woman be a priest?" Was it ever on the table? Can we say with any confidence "The Apostles didn’t allow it"? Or were there more pressing issues - impending martyrdom; the need to bring all these different "Christian" communities together; the threat from both Jewish and Roman authorities?

And if the question wasn’t even asked, do we have the resources and the ability, whilst still remaining faithful to Tradition, to come to the conclusion that women can be priests?

I shall leave you with the words of Gillian Crow, (in 1996, at least) Diocesan Secretary of the Russian Orthodox Church in the UK, and their rep. on the Council of Churches of Britain and Ireland*: "The place of women is another area in which tradition’s vision of the wholeness of the Church is waiting to be rediscovered. Orthodoxy does not have a good record for treating its members as ‘either male nor female’… The status quo has been accepted for the most part unthinkingly, in another confusing of Tradition with traditionalism, that blind lethargy of acceptance without any prayerful thought."

* from Gillian Crow’s article "The Orthodox Vision of Wholeness" in "Living Orthodoxy in the Modern World", Walker and Carras (eds.) SPCK London 1996. Emphasis mine. It should be noted that both Crow and Elisabeth Behr-Sigel, another writer on the issue of women’s ordination, both consider that the Orthodox must explore the issue from within its tradition, rather than having it foisted upon them from the outside.

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


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Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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*Floundering in deep water*
Um... DO we "believe He chose the time and place of His Incarnation?"

I've been an Anglican for nearly 30 years, and I don't think I've ever heard that said. I know that we are told even Jesus doesn't know the time of His return...

Anyway, if all this rubbish is true, how come people think it's okay to ask Mary to pray for us? What is that, if it isn't standing in our place interceding? (Not that I do that. I don't like to bother the poor love after all she's had to go through.)

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Still hanging in there...


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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
DO we "believe He chose the time and place of His Incarnation?"

[qb]I've been an Anglican for nearly 30 years, and I don't think I've ever heard that said. [qb]


Really? Sorry. That's kinda part of the background in Orthodoxy. Our take on the verse "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son," (Galatians 4:4a). "Fullness of time" means God chose when the time was right.

What is the Anglican gloss on this verse?

Reader Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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Oooh I guess as an Anglican I'd have to say I haven't HEARD a gloss on this. Knowing Anglicanism, there are probably several...

I have always heard it preached as God the Father having knowledge which God the Son didn't. No doubt this is some mild form of heresy. Someone explain please...?

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Still hanging in there...


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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
I have always heard it preached as God the Father having knowledge which God the Son didn't. No doubt this is some mild form of heresy. Someone explain please...?

That will do for me. As long as one of the Persons of the Trinity knew the time, I don't much care which one. The point I was trying to make is that Christ became incarnate at a time of God's choosing, and therefore at the RIGHT time, and thus hope to knock some wind out of the sails of arguments about "well they couldn't do it then because of the culture, etc."

God picked which culture Christ would be born into. So any arguments from the nature of that culture that would require overhaul of Tradition (note the almighty CAPITAL "T") are suspect, at least to me and other likeminded Orthodox types.

Reader Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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mousethief

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# 953

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Oh, PS: when you pray for someone, you don't stand in their place interceding, you stand alongside them, interceding. Ditto for the saints who have passed on to glory. They are not priests, they are supplicants just like us. It's just that they don't have anything else to do all day, whereas we have jobs, kids, whatever to occupy our minds and detract us from praying. Thus the saints are able to pray a bit more than we, and this is one important reason to ask them for their prayers.

Or so I have been taught!

Reader Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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Ah, this is where we part company. I was in a very Evo church which taught that this was talking to the dead, and to be avoided. But then, it WAS Tradition in our church... Guess that doesn't count, though.

Well I can come up with nothing more constructive than that all this simply ISN'T self-evident to a lot of Christians. 'Tradition' can't be appealed to unless there is a consensus on what it IS. To be REALLY honest, if this was in Hell, I'd say...

(but I shan't, cos it isn't!)

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Still hanging in there...


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Gill
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# 102

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(I mean, it was tradition to believe that it was praying to the dead. Sorry, it's late!)

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Still hanging in there...

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Carys

Ship's Celticist
# 78

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quote:
I'm not sure I know how to explain this. I keep turning it over in my head but can't come up with words that come out right. Sorry!

Glad I’m not the only one who has that problem! I’ve been struggling on this one too. It’s not just the words, there’s a lot behind them.

quote:
As of course is the case here. Again I have to make the (lame, I know!) excuse that I am trying to present what I have been taught, and (a) I'm not a perfect student, and (b) I have only been taught a fraction of all there is to learn!

And where does questioning the tradition come in this? I’ll only stick up for the party line if I’ve worked it through myself and agree with it. Blanket statements don’t wash with me. E.G. Saying ‘no sex before marriage’ on its own isn’t helpful, but I’d agree with it for a number of reasons, and because I’ve thought it through I’ll stick to it.

quote:
In that case I would say that neither gender is better simpliciter.

Sorry my latin’s failed me. Only done a semester. But I’d argue that by saying a man is better able to icon Christ you are implying that they are closer to Christ.

quote:
If it's wrong to not ordain women, then it was wrong for the Apostles to not ordain women.

Dyfrig’s answered this one. It maybe wasn’t a question then – and Paul’s statement about ‘no Jew, no Greek, no male, no female’ I think is pertinent here. We’ve already mentioned that Christ was a Jew but that we’ve ditched that entry qualification – although why hasn’t exactly been explained – Fr Greg helpful said ‘of course’ when asked if Christ’s Jewishness was pertinent, with no support. I can see why – because the early Church answered this question. It was perhaps the major theological point, do people have to become Jews before they can become Christians and it was answered with a resounding no. But Paul also said in Christ there is ‘no male, no female’ so in the light of that how can we continue to discriminate on those grounds while we no longer discriminate Jew/Greek within the church? Yes, it’s taken longer to be worked through, but that doesn’t mean we can say because it’s taken us this long we can’t change.

quote:
You've been reading our theologians!

No, but I’ve picked that one up somewhere! Must do more theological reading!

quote:
Don't see how this follows. God has denied men the ability to bear children, but that doesn't diminish God's image.

No, but that pertains to the earthly sphere and is part of what does differentiate between men and women and how men and women relate. What I’m talking about is how we relate to God. Surely we need both the male and the female working together to properly image God. (This is one of the places I struggle to express what I mean)

quote:
Yet he did not select any female apostles, nor leave instructions with his apostles to select female bishops. Was He a misogynist?

No – I’ve just said he wasn’t. But what about Mary Magdalen? Wasn’t she called ‘the apostle to the apostles’? Did he leave instructions with his apostles to select MALE bishops, for that matter? What about people like Phoebe and Junia, called an apostle (and I’ve seen arguments about whether Junia was female or male, in an attempt to avoid this one).

quote:
Maybe the church realizes that women and men aren't interchangeable, impersonal cogs, and realizes that gender really does encapsulate something about the nature of the mystery of God?

I recognise that there is perhaps a danger in feminist thinking which tries to make us androgenous. However gender encapsulating something about the nature of the mystery of God brings us back to my point about losing something if we exclude the female from the priesthood. We are losing that part of the mystery of God being represented fully within the Church. Although we can do the same jobs it doesn’t mean that we do them in exactly the same way (although often women who have succeeded have done so by trying to out men the men – see Margaret Thatcher, she was hardly a feminine woman.) but that by having both men and women doing a job you get the benefit of the two different approaches.

quote:
And yet it says the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church. There's more than simple mathematical equality going on here.

And that’s a bit I admit I struggle with. It needs the context of submitting to each other in love (or am I conflating to bits of Paul here?)

quote:
I assume you are saying that not ordaining women to the presbytery is tantamount to treating them as second class citizens. We, of course, do not see it that way.

No but then you and probably most at the top of Orthodoxy are men. To me it feels like I’m a second class citizen because like a black person under apartheid I am deny the chancing of doing (being) something because of an accident of genetics.

quote:
Are you married? I can't imagine forgetting I'm male when I relate to my wife; nor do I believe that she forgets she's female in relating to me, even though we relate as equals in all areas. I never tell her what to do, and vice versa. This is something we worked out and talked about quite a bit before getting married, so I'm not just blowing smoke here.

No, and I’ve not even been out with anyone! Although around 50% of my friends are male, I do not have a boyfriend! It’s never really been a priority with me. I get on with people, I don’t view blokes as being potential boyfriend fodder and get all shy or anything. I’ll admit that if I were in a relationship my perspective would probably change on this particular aspect at least!

quote:
I love your sig, by the way!

Thanks, got it off a poster. There are far too many religious nuts out there!

Re: Christ and his Culture. Yes, it was the fullness of time - God had spoken through the prophets and was now to speak through his Son, but that doesn't mean that every aspect of the culture was perfect. The religious (and I know that maybe this is a false dichotomy) understanding had been prepared, but it wasn't imperative in the same way for the culture to be completely perfect - and perhaps it needed Christ's coming to change the attitude to women. As I see the incarnation is the crux of history. It makes sense of history - prior and subsequent - and everything is seen by the light of it. If Christ could die for my as a woman, then he must, as man, contain everything which makes us human, even though he was not female. In fact maybe it makes sense that he was a bloke - Men have both X and Y Chromosomes - so he has both the male and the female - it was the X Chromosome he inherited from Male. And if he could die for me, then I can represent him.

Unfortunately I’m going to have to bow out of this thread for a while. I’m off to Taize tomorrow, and I haven’t packed yet! Not back ‘til a week Monday and then I’m off to the Eisteddfod pretty much straight away. Don’t know when I’ll get a chance to catch up on the ship!

Carys

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O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise


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ChastMastr
Shipmate
# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by Dyfrig:
And yet his own attitude to women and slaves does not quite match up to his own mark.

Though he said there was no slave or free, he never quite grasped the full implications of that - in fact, the West didn’t do so till about 1800 years later.



Well... um, I wouldn't really say that. He said there was no slave or free in Christ Jesus, as well as no difference between Jew, Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, and men and women, yet I don't think people would say, "Aha! If political boundaries, too, are ultimately irrelevant in Christ, then no countries on Earth should make any kind of distinction between their citizens and other citizens, so if China passes a new tax law, it applies to people in Texas, and that local ordinance in Brighton should be followed in Antarctica, and... " Yet believers in all those places are indeed our brothers and sisters.

Slavery as practiced in OT and NT times was not the (IMO) much more horrible thing it became in recent history (last few hundred years) any more than the kingship of Alfred the Great was like starving under the bubble-brained poster-child for cluelessness (and her clique) who said "The people have no bread? Let them eat cake" in France just before Bastille Day. The fact that the OT, and the NT, and most of Christian tradition, treat earthly hierarchy as a good thing rather than a bad one (all things being equal), preaching obedience to earthly rulers except when they command us to sin against God, is itself one thing which leads me to think our modern impulse toward revolution against hierarchy and toward democracy is not as good as people in America seem to think.

In other words, while I think freedom a good thing in many respects, I do not have any doctrinal objection to slavery in the abstract, though of course I do object to cruelty, treating people as subhuman, etc. which I do not think intrinsic to hierarchy. The form that we most remember in the US was a racially-based one, using concepts of race which did not seem to exist until historically recently.

I could ramble here but I wanted to comment on that. I think the kind of slavery we had in the US and in recent centuries was, or had become, truly horrible, but I do not see all slavery, or all hierarchy, as forbidden; instead we see St. Paul's command that slaves obey their masters as if they were obeying God, and masters to remember that they have a Master in Heaven. And that we are all slaves of Christ, having been set free from slavery to sin, bought with a price, etc.

But then perhaps my views on this will surprise no one...

David

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


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ChastMastr
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# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
That will do for me. As long as one of the Persons of the Trinity knew the time, I don't much care which one. The point I was trying to make is that Christ became incarnate at a time of God's choosing, and therefore at the RIGHT time, and thus hope to knock some wind out of the sails of arguments about "well they couldn't do it then because of the culture, etc."

Yes, this is one of the reasons I've never been convinced of "this Christian doctrine (some aspects of the nature of the soul, usually) was not present in previous Jewish theology, though it was in Greek paganism, and therefore it must be false" -- why not say instead, "God picked the time and place for Christianity to grow up, and therefore He knew what true notions the Greeks had, so they could be more easily cultivated in the Church"?

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

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Gill
Shipmate
# 102

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zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
*Jumps up*
[B]WHAT?{/B]

*Shame-faced* Oh. Sorry... I must have nodded off...

I was having this WEIRD dream about priests...

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Still hanging in there...


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ChastMastr
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# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by Carys:
I’ll only stick up for the party line if I’ve worked it through myself and agree with it.

I used to be in this positikn for a very long time, from the doctrine of the Trinity on down, and it took me many years to come to the conclusion that (after doctrine after doctrine had been weighed, wrestled with, etc.) maybe -- for the most part -- Christian tradition, and tradition in general (see Lewis' book on ethics across cultures The Abolition of Man) was more likely to be right, and now consider it to be a First Principle -- just one I was personally blind to for a very long time. (Different cultures, I think, have different "blind spots" about various issues, and I think one of ours is the weight of tradition. Time for a slight but explanatory divergence...)

I take Christian tradition first of all, even over (GASP!) the Bible -- but necessarily so. I mean, why do we believe the Bible is true, whether inerrant or inspired or mostly true, whether symbolic or literal? Isn't it because that's what Christian tradition has taught us? Did the Bible drop out of the sky into the hands of the various Pagans who converted centuries ago? No, it was word of mouth from missionaries, wasn't it? And aren't there all sorts of cults who use the Bible but out of context? Wouldn't we say to them (as well as to each other in more minor ways when we disagree), "You're not reading this right?" Even the books of the Bible (which ones are canonical, I mean) are, themselves, a matter of What The Early Church Decided, and there is some disagreement there but we all agree that, say, the Gospel According to St. Thomas isn't one.

I became convinced that Jesus as understood by Christianity was, in fact, the Son of God. CS Lewis helped me tremendously in this. This, for me, is the centre of it all, the keystone that makes everything else make sense. (I say this because I've been asked before, "Well, why not believe in non-Christian Judaism instead? It's older!" The irony that by blood I am Jewish (mother's side) though not raised in its theology (I make a good matzoh-ball soup, though!) does not escape me, but I do not see any contradiction between that and following Y'shua Ha-Mashiach as the promised Messiah...)

If a Christian tradition has been consistently followed for, say, the first 1500 years, I am much more likely to think it certain than one which started in, say, 1000 AD. Much more so if it started in 1500 AD. One which started in 1700 AD even more. And so on. I'm a US citizen and I'm not even convinced that the American revolution was morally right! But (oh Irony!!) as England accepted the US as a valid country, and I do not believe in revolution as an acceptable Christian thing to do, I will be obedient to the nation in which I find myself a citizen as best I can until such time as, if ever, I emigrate elsewhere.

Now as far as the sciences are concerned, I think we have made some genuine discoveries, as well as some unwarranted philosophical conclusions based on those. (For example, think the evidence for biological evolution looks good, though various assumptions make this less of the "absolute fact" some people make it out to be, and since I accept the Bible as inspired by God, I have to wrestle that out. However, some of the earliest traditions (Lewis mentions St Jerome as an example; he says those chapters of Genesis are "in the manner of a popular poet") allow for (whether in addition to literalist interpretations or instead of them) symbolic, allegorical, anagogical etc. interpretations of Biblical books, and I find it interesting that those "days" seem to correspond to the most recent archaelogical conclusions about the order in which various creatures evolved... which for years I thought was odd because birds didn't fit -- till I read about James Hunter's quite recent conclusions that the dinosaurs became birds, and suddenly it did. But all this may change in future and I don't want to get sidetracked. In any case I'd say that perhaps the Adam/Eve story is the only way our minds can grasp some truth which is beyond our understanding apart from myth and symbol -- that there is something in the story which cannot be grasped by fallen human minds in a "literal" fashion, and this need not contradict the theory about Australopithecus. But moving on...

If Christian tradition does not give me a solid answer, or has divergent views which date back some time, I look at what I know about OT Jewish principles (which are often absorbed into Christian). Also for additional weight on some issues.

If this does not tell me -- and for more additional weight -- I look to the greater general human tradition, not recent but largely the old Pagans, primarily western but some eastern also. So for example, not only does Christianity teach that Pride is a sin, not only does Judaism teach that humility before God is wise, but the Greek pagans taught that hubris is a very bad thing.

(Including my temptation to be snooty toward the whole modern era, which is a terrible temptation to guard against for me. When one feels isolated but believes one is right, it can be perilously difficult not to wind up a ghastly, self-righteous crank. But I also have tradition to help there also; in a sense, finding that which is good in the present day is, itself, more in line with all of these traditions than merely worshipping tradition for its own sake and not being open to new things which do not contradict that tradition. But it's still hard sometimes and one reason I have not left for -- forgive me, ACA people if there are any reading this! -- a split-off group like the Anglican Church in America is that most of what I have seen from them seems like it would help me become even crankier than I already am. Also, the very traditions I revere so highly teach me that doctrine matters very much, but love matters much, much more.)

In matters of metaphysics as well as theology, I follow these principles; which leads to some odd conclusions which some Christians may be troubled by, even some who would be considered "old fashioned." For instance, I definitely believe that casting spells and attempting to predict the future is forbidden me; but I am not constrained to follow the (quite recent) attitude that many Christians have about the paranormal/supernatural. They take a mechanistic view of the universe and tack on God, angels and demons, with no room for anything else. But I do not see a reason to believe in this mechanistic view in the first place, which I think is not derived from genuine scientific experiments, but the modern philosophical assumptions which many of those scientists have held and the way they have expressed them.

In other words, the existence of everything from "the fair folk" to someone's great-aunt's second sight (not miraculous nor demonic, just unusual) to all sorts of things which do not strictly contradict Christian theology, and have even been held without religious contradiction at various times, are things which I am potentially open to. Some quite devout people have believed in fairies (I hope I don't have to explain I don't mean something funny or cute here) without thinking them demonic or outside of God's sphere, just different than us and very rare (and dangerous) to meet, and one of the early Christian writers (Lewis quoted him) said regarding such things that he didn't have a specific doctrine about their spiritual state. I know of no doctrine which forbids belief (or commands belief) in such things; I do know that I must not worship them -- if they exist in the first place. That's not the same as saying that (if they exist) they are demons in disguise (as some say about them, or even about modern "close encounters" some people claim to have with aliens). In the Middle Ages there were several theories (none of which was formally accepted by the Church as far as I know) about them ranging all over the place about their nature, spiritual status, etc. (I'd tend toward "beings not quite as purely spiritual as angels or demons but not quite mortal the way humans are, perhaps not relating to time the way we do, and which are probably very difficult to understand until we can do so safely and with clarity in Heaven when all unfallen and redeemed beings will be together with God in harmony and love"; I suppose, as we are to "preach the Gospel to every creature," it could make for some interesting meetings should they exist, but this goes into the "missionaries to aliens" thread elsewhere on Purgatory.) (Did I mention that while not necessarily depicted as evil, they're usually depicted as really dangerous to play with? Like wanting to pet a (created-by-God and non-immoral) tiger, perhaps... "ooo, look at the beautiful stripes! ... ouch!")

My, where was I? Ah yes. Some areas of ethics too -- Lewis points out (to the frustration of an economist friend of mine whom I am not sure is right) that the Christians in the Middle Ages, the Jews in the Old Testament, and the pagan Greeks all forbad usury, or loaning money at interest. (Aquinas said it violated justice to make X amount of money equal X + more amount of money -- like saying $20 = $30 and $30 = $40 and such.) I'd not be surprised at all if by ignoring this warning-sign, old-fashioned though it is, we have been getting into the inequity of wealth the world over that many people have. Politically, too, I have become more "liberal" than "conservative" (by US standards) because I look back and see that the government using taxes to feed the poor was usually regarded as a very, very good thing by most people, including most Christians, at most times, and therefore (to me) modern economic "pure free market" principles -- with no government help for the poor -- are on very shaky ground even though many "conservative Christians" here in the US believe in them.

So if someone comes up to me and says, "what do you think about notion X?" I will first want to see what the Church has always said about it, if anything, what the Jews and Pagans have said, and try to learn from that rather than simply take what seems to me to be the "party line" of the present day. I don't always do this right but I think it is the right thing to do...

So some things I believe in, or am open to, seem strangely divergent from a modern, even a modern Christian point of view -- very traditionalist about one thing, seemingly very liberal or New-Agey on another, but I think my beliefs are consistent with themselves and with traditional views both within the church and across cultures. In some ways I think, very seriously, that the Medieval Church, the Jews, and the old Pagans (even some new ones!) have much more in common with each other than any do with the modern set of beliefs we have nowadays, even among many Christians (who may also be sincere and quite faithful -- I think Jesus accepts us from where we are, and will accept a modern person who can't imagine believing that interest on loans is a bad thing, or that fairies might exist, just as He accepted (I believe) people in the past who might be almost polytheistic in their limited understanding of God, and who assumed that torture was a perfectly acceptable way of treating prisoners because it's the "done thing" in their society. In the end, God will correct all our blind spots, whether from the twenty-first century or from the first. But we all have to use the vision we have and work from there...

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
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# 716

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(All of which takes a very long way to say that if I'm not even convinced of the rightness of the US Revolution, or that fairies absolutely do not exist, or that banks doing things with interest are a right thing -- if I consider the last several hundred years of mainstream philosophy, certainly from the so-called "Age of Reason" on down at very least, to be perhaps dubious at best (though there may be some insights lurking in them, even so, which are not limited to their view of God, life, human nature, etc.) -- then I'm certainly not going to be convinced without a great deal of proof, in ways which I still have not seen because it seems predicated on the notion that all this tradition was simply wrong from the start on this matter, of the validity of the ordination of women to the priesthood, which my own church has only accepted for a (to me) paltry few decades. It applies to this notion but to many, many others, which make me (in US society) vastly stranger and more philosophically and politically "heretical" than most people here, who view even the pomp and ceremony of the British monarchy, even apart from any political power whatsoever, with deep suspicion at best, even as many are attracted to such things. (I know many Christians who are extremely politically conservative -- several have broken ties with me or have become distant, as far as I can tell from our discussions, because I believe in more liberal politics than they have. But I must follow what I believe is true...)

I'm not sure what else to say here but I thought if I didn't explain the principles I'm following we were going to go round and round and round without end. I think our disagreement may simply be on the nature and value of tradition itself, and as I am an admittedly extreme case, this might help clarify things.

Where should we go from here? Can I ask my fellow traditionalists if there is any case in which you could conceive yourself accepting female priests? Or the other side, if you could ever see yourself as deciding it was a mistake?

I'm willing to hear all arguments but given what I believe about the nature of tradition, the basic principles the "women should be priests" side are giving here are based on are things I'm not convinced of either, and the Scriptural verses people cite as evidence seem to me not have ever been interpreted that way till now.

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


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St Rumwald
Apprentice
# 964

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One does rather wish William of Ockham and his razor were around! It's possible to argue this in greater and more arcane details butdoesn't it boil down (at least in the Anglican Church) to:

a) Bible

b) Tradition

c) Reason

In which case, one can say a) is equivocal, b) is more or less against and c) is more or less for.

Let women be priests, let people not have women priests.


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ChastMastr
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# 716

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Well, I wouldn't say reason is more or less for; it depends on the data you feed into it. (I'd say, depending on those, it is equivocal.)

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity

Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
ChastMastr
Shipmate
# 716

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By the way, I've wanted to comment on this for a long time...

quote:
Originally posted by Dyfrig:
"A real woman," said a (male) speaker at a Forward in Faith* rally some months ago, "knows that a woman cannot be a priest."

Believing this doesn't permit people to be rude. It's precisely this kind of bullying that embarrasses me for more about my "side" and makes me stand firmer in the Episcopal Church rather than leaving for one of those other groups I mentioned. Ods bodkins, what else does he mean, are all the ones who disagree with him not "real" but pretend? Or perhaps they're men in disguise? (Which would neatly solve the problem, wouldn't it? Women who believe this way are not "real" women -- therefore are men -- and therefore are appropriate candidates for the priesthood, QED. (QED is Latin for "so there."))

Did I mention that a lot of these people also have no sense of humour? I'm not convinced of it, but I have enjoyed The Vicar of Dibley -- we have some episodes on videotape at the local library. I imagine the best we'd get out of some of the people I've known would be to sigh and look grim.

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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Golly, ChastMastr, you said a lot of what I wanted to say without my even having to say it!

Radical departure from 2000 years of Christian tradition seems to imply (to me, anyway) that at some point along the line, the "true" practice was lost or subverted. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing how or when, but by the time the Church was free of persecution, the question of women priests was decided. Shall we open all questions the Church has decided in the past? Let's start with the canon of Scripture. Then the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ.

At some point you have to give up re-inventing Christianity, and just live it.

PS on the question of Junia the apostle -- can someone with a Greek NT say if the word "apostle" there is in the masculine or the feminine? Tx.

Rdr Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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I'm intrigued by the assertion that slavery is not per se an evil. I'm not sure how meaningful the distinction is on a spiritual level between chattel slavery as practiced in the US and elsewhere and slavery in ancient Greece and Rome, or for the matter of that, in Europe. And much of the abolitionist sentiment in the United States was explicitly religious in nature.

Ah, but this is worth a thread all on its own...

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Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm


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dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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Alexis asked:
can someone with a Greek NT say if the word "apostle" there is in the masculine or the feminine? Tx.

I can work out the letters, but I can't do the genders yet. As far as I can tell she is part of a group who are then described as "tous sun autois pantas halious". Any ideas?

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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St. John Chrysostom says, concerning this verse, and Junias in particular: "Oh! how great is the devotion FilosoFia of this woman, that she should be even counted worthy of the appellation of apostle!"

Clearly at least SOME of the Fathers (or at least 1) believe "junias" refers to a woman.

And yet he feels no reason to ordain women as bishops.

A thought: perhaps Andronicus and Junia were a husband-and-wife team. Even today the Greeks call a presbyter's wife presbytera.

Rdr Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


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Hooker's Trick

Admin Emeritus and Guardian of the Gin
# 89

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Sorry to be so late getting back to this. Was out on the piss all weekend and not near a pc.


quote:
Originally posted by ChastMastr:
we seem to have very different views of what Christian Tradition means.

We certainly seem to.

I've come to the conclusion that anything more I say here wouldn't be very useful. I think we're just speaking at cross-purposes. But thanks for your very illuminating replies.

If it makes you feel any better, Bishop Jane looks silly in a mitre. But she looks very fetching in rochet & chimere.

HT

Oh -- Chas Mas, you should try the parish of the Ascension and St Agnes. I think you'd really appreciate what goes on there.


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Honest Ron Bacardi
Shipmate
# 38

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HT wrote -
quote:
If it makes you feel any better, Bishop Jane looks silly in a mitre. But she looks very fetching in rochet & chimere.

There's irony in that, HT! Mitres were first originally worn by deaconesses I seem to recall.

Re: Junia(s) - it's actually a masculine noun but that means little - forget English ideas of gendered nouns. John Chrysostom should know the gender of the described person.

Ian

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Anglo-Cthulhic


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Hooker's Trick

Admin Emeritus and Guardian of the Gin
# 89

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Ian --

Interesting in re: the deaconesses. The Catholic Encyclopedia makes no mention of this, explaining it thus:

"The pontifical mitre is of Roman origin: it is derived from a non-liturgical head-covering distinctive of the pope, the camelaucum, to which also the tiara is to be traced."

From a very interesting article in the Catholic Encyc.


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ChastMastr
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# 716

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quote:
Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:

Was out on the piss all weekend

What does that mean? This must be some sort of Brit-speak. Perhaps it shall rub off on me as well after I am here long enough!
quote:
But thanks for your very illuminating replies.

Golly. I was expecting everyone to say, ah, right! A total loon! Thanks!
quote:
If it makes you feel any better, Bishop Jane looks silly in a mitre. But she looks very fetching in rochet & chimere.

No idea what those are either!
quote:
you should try the parish of the Ascension and St Agnes. I think you'd really appreciate what goes on there.

Well, I appreciate the thought, but I live about a block from my own church here in Arlington and do rather like it.

David
desperately wanting to work in a pun about 'mitre maids'

[UBB fixed]

[ 31 July 2001: Message edited by: Alan Cresswell ]

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My essays on comics continuity: http://chastmastr.tumblr.com/tagged/continuity


Posts: 14068 | From: Clearwater, Florida | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tony
Apprentice
# 318

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Dear ChastMastr,

The picturesque expression 'out on the piss'* indicates that the poster spent some time imbibing alcoholic beverages.

Incidentally, one (of many) British phrases for overindulgence of alcohol is 'getting wasted' which I believe has rather more serious overtones Stateside!

Hope this helps!

Tony

* As in: What is the difference between a pint of beer and a pea?

Answer: About twenty minutes!


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Hooker's Trick

Admin Emeritus and Guardian of the Gin
# 89

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quote:
Originally posted by ChastMastr:
[QUOTE]
Golly. I was expecting everyone to say, ah, right! A total loon! Thanks!

You said it, not I.

A rochet and chimere is choir dress for bishops. The long red number over the long surplice with puffy sleeves gathered at the wrist. The bishops of Virginia are generally photographed in them.

I know I said I was done, but I lied.

It strikes me that there are a few reasons oft-cited in objection to the priesting of women. Let's summarise:

1. Jesus was not a woman

2. It's never been done before

3. Women do not possess penises and without that essential body part cannot celebrate the Eucharist

4. I just don't like it

Now -- I don't really get #1, because most of us believe that the priest concelebrates with the people (hence the eastward facing -- we're all facing the same way), and not that the priest is doing some magic "for us".

Of course, if you DO believe that the priest is doing magic for us, makes sense.

#2. Church never changes. Well, that's unconvincing because it obviously DOES. Corollory to that one is "church can change some things but not any that I care about (see #4 below). Now, if your conception of the church is a body that jealously guards a static tradition and never changes, then again, makes sense.

#3. You really can't have #2 without #3, because presumably the church had a very good reason for having men-only priests. This one really confuses me. I've never been to a church where the priest celebrates with his little partner. His Honourable Member and Two Back Benchers. His crozier and... Well, you get the idea. Of course, no one really says you NEED to have a penis to celebrate. Sometimes people say men are just "different" irrespective of genitals. Or that it's chromosomes. Or that it's some special manly trait known only to God. This is the argument that men, because they are men but NOT because of anything biological or chemical or anatomical that MAKES them men, makes them uniquely designed to celebrate the Eucharist. Oh, and to pronounce absolution.
But since no one can really explain what that magic thing is that sets men apart, I am left with

#4. Women can't be priests because I don't like it.

No one wants to say that. Oh, it sounds so... self-centred, and maybe sexist. Much better to spout a load of bollocks (ha ha pun) about male-ness and Jesus's gender (some people spend WAAAAY too much time thinking about the genitals of Our Lord).

But really, honest, confession time. I would be SO much happier and would respect the opposite opinion SO much more if someone would just come out and say "I just don't like women priests. End of story."

HT


Posts: 6733 | From: Gin Lane | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Laura
General nuisance
# 10

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Yes, but HT, if they said that, there'd be nowhere left to go with the thread.

I really think Chas would be enjoy a visit to Ascension/St. Agnes periodically for a dose of old-time Episcopal church. It's really a short trip from Arlington. As I recall, they almost didn't let the suffragan bishop in on her appointed rounds. Aren't they sort of officially "Anglo-Catholic"? actually?

--------------------
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. - Erich Fromm


Posts: 16882 | From: East Coast, USA | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hooker's Trick

Admin Emeritus and Guardian of the Gin
# 89

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The ladies at Ascension wear doilies on their heads and if any of them were young enough to be menstruating they would NOT even approach the sanctuary for fear of besmirching it.

The church of the Ascension is the only one in the DC area I can think of where birettas may reliably be seen.

HT


Posts: 6733 | From: Gin Lane | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dyfrig
Blue Scarfed Menace
# 15

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quote:
Originally posted by Hooker's Trick:
The church of the Ascension is the only one in the DC area I can think of where birettas may reliably be seen.

HT


You have armed priests in DC?

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"He was wrong in the long run, but then, who isn't?" - Tony Judt


Posts: 6916 | From: pob dydd Iau, am hanner dydd | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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Obviously, HT, if you think that the only thing distinctive about being male is having a penis, then the whole thing makes no sense.

Is there anybody who thinks that, however? If so, I pity them.

Rdr Alexis

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28


Posts: 62953 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged



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