Tuesday, February 05, 2008

His Master's Voice?

Curiosity made me research Bishop David Mulready of the Anglican Diocese of North-West Australia and I found this just posted today referring to an ABC interview of a few days ago.
Women are prohibited from leadership in the Anglican Church, he said, because the Bible says so.

He quoted this passage, from Paul’s first Letter to Timothy: “Women should learn in silence and all humility. I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must be quiet.” The passage goes on to say: “For Adam was created first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God’s law.”

But he adds kindly: “But a woman will be saved through having children, if she perseveres in faith and love and holiness, with modesty.”
Nuff said. Quite obvious that he is a graduate of Moore College. Also I note all his new priests, sorry presbyters, come from Sydney.
The Diocese claims to be the largest in area in the Anglican church, however it only has 18 parishes and most of them are supported by funds from Sydney so I guess we can see Mulready head for Gafcon not Lambeth.


Aghaveagh said...

Well, first off, most scholars do not think that Paul wrote this letter. And one book on the Pastoral letters suggests interpreting this passage with the "hermeneutics of suspicion": "a method that questions the validity of these cultural presuppositions...this method enables contemporary readers to arrive at fresh readings of the text which are free from the cultural assumptions of the past" (Terence J. Keegan, First and Second Timothy, Titus, Philemon).

Keegan notes that in Paul's letters, we find female prophets (1Cor. 11:1-13) and a certain measure of equality among women (Gal. 3:28). Probably the writer of 1Timothy was influenced by the prevailing idea of the time that women, who are unable to control their sexuality, are unfit as public teachers (we see this bias elsewhere in the letter, for example, at 1Tim. 5:11: "But refuse to put younger widows on the list [for communal support]; for when their sensual desires alienate them from Christ, they want to marry")

In any event, we see once again the inability to view the Bible in its cultural and historical context--one wonders why these people aren't also advocating the sacrifice of animals or slavery.

My favorite way of looking at it is: if Jesus were to establish his ministry here, today, would he have had women disciples? Of course he would--and gay disciples, people of color, and so on...

Brian R said...

Thanks aghaveagh for this learned explanation. However I hope you do not intend applying to teach at Moore College, Sydney :-)

Aghaveagh said...

Ha! As the Romans would say, immo ("Nay, rather!").

But then Grendel could visit you!

Brian R said...

yes but I think Grendel would be very growly if his Mom worked in such an institution.

Anonymous said...

Amazing that bishop of the Church would hold such backward positions about women (and gays) in the 21st century!

Kurt Hill

Brooklyn, NY

Alcibiades said...

Dogs are banned from Moore College housing, which is yet another reason BlackStar & Fiver would love to have Grendel come on a visit with them to sort a few people out (after the first few bites I've no doubt the rest would run away ;-)

As a woman, aghaveagh, you'd be only slightly more welcome than the dogs: women are no longer allowed to teach any classed at Moore in which male students attend. Which just goes to show: dogs may sniff (& occasionally even eat) poop, but they don't talk it, or ever claim it's from God.