Sunday, October 11, 2009

Role of Women

Have been reading about the latest shenanigans in the  progression towards women bishops in the Church of England. I do not understand all the details except that it is trying to find ways for men who will not accept women to remain in the Church.

I really become very angry and have trouble seeing these men, who will not accept women as priests or bishops, as even Christian. Whether they be the extreme evangelicals like those who run the Diocese of Sydney or the extreme Anglo-catholics, I do not want to have anything to do with them.

I needed to read Davis's comment at Audacious Deviant to calm down.

We start bickering about all the details, but so often we're missing the reason for daring to be Christian. It's about love - even of our (perceived) enemies.

Love one another.

It's worth every bit of pain.
   Thanks Davis.

When I began teaching aeons ago, women had few leadership roles except in girls' schools. I taught in co-ed and occasionally boys' school and saw the gradual movement of women into leadership roles and finally become Principals.  I saw how they had to push harder than men and how men ridiculed them for being pushy. Apparently it was okay for a man to be authoritarian but not a woman. I have worked under hopeless women and excellent women but also hopeless men and excellent men.
That this argument should be still going on in the church in the 21st century angers me. How can one defend one's church when it is so antiquated? St Paul wrote in the 1st century and there are many things he writes which are just irrelevant today and I do not believe reflect the teachings of Jesus.

In Sydney Diocese some women have just been brainwashed. It is sad to read their writings. The senior woman, Archdeacon Narelle Jarrett (Arch deacon, not priest) is pathetic in my opinion.  One woman wrote about her work in her parish as a deacon and it was obvious she was seen as second rate by the male clergy and she accepted this situation. I felt like being sick.

In Australia we have 2 women bishops but neither is a Diocesan. It remains to be seen what will happen if one is elected a diocesan. If men cannot accept this they can go to the Roman Catholic church in my opinion.

New Zealand has had two women diocesan bishops. Bishop Penny Jamieson, Dunedin was the first woman diocesan in the Anglican communion and Bishop Victoria Matthews is now Bishop of Christchurch.  Two New Zealand Dioceses will be choosing a bishop this month, including Dunedin this weekend. I do not know what the possibilities are.

I would like to quote Father Ron Smith from Christchurch who commented on Thinking Anglicans. He expresses my views much better than I ever could.

It would be wonderful if the Church of England could be humble enough to take a leaf out of the book of it's fellow Anglican Provinces - who have trusted the Holy Spirit to call and equip women for the total ministry of the Church. This has been quietly going on now for at least a decade in most overseas provinces, and the Church buildings have not fallen down. Why not take a calculated risk and trust God's providence, and preserve the Church from further schism?
When I was confirmed into the C.of E., I was taught that bishops were the focus of unity. What has changed in the theology of the Church that could possibly dictate otherwise - in the modern age, where women have been accepted as equal partners with men in most other spheres of human endeavour. To create a division in the Church on the grounds of sex or gender does seem to compromise Paul's later understanding of our common (male/female) life in Christ.
The whole idea of 'flying Bishops' sounds like something from science fiction. Do we need to bring further extra-terrestrial paradigms into the serious business of getting alongside both men and women in the world of today, where there are many problems to be solved that require the different skills of both male and female clergy.
Christ was not just a representative male, he was representatively and fully human. He chose not to generate children, but rather to nurture all who came into contact with his inclusive grace and empowerment, giving men and women the equal right to become 'children of God'. AND, Mary Magdalene (a woman) was chosen by Christ to bring the Good News of his resurrection to the male apostles - who, of course, did not believe her. What's new?


motheramelia said...

I think the church, at least in England and Sydney, is one of the last bastions of the "old boys" way. When I was a young woman and in college I applied for a lab technician's job. I was asked to take a typing test. When asked why I would need to type as a technician, I was told that I might have to type labels. Another company refused to even interview me because they wouldn't hire women as chemists or technicians. I have lots more stories, all from before laws were passed to stop this. Of course then women weren't on Vestries and they had no vote at General Convention. I do believe that there is a wish among some men that life were like this again. It makes me both sad and angry. Thank's for the post Brian.

Suem said...

The decision of the revision committee is certainly depressing but I am hoping it will be overturned at synod. If these proposals are passed the Church would ( as WATCH points out) be in the extraordinary position of asking Parliament to pass legislation that discriminates against women.How embarrassing, how against gospel values. I really am pissed off at the thought!

Leonard said...

When I was young, still in college, I was a Department Store Buyer (trainee) that soon was a Buyer (before College graduation)...I was aware that there were no women in my ¨training group¨ but there were women buyers and 2 female merchandise managers in the Store (mostly older glamorous women who had worked there way up in the store and started as teenagers)...later at another, and more elegant, store where I was a buyer while still in my mid 20´s I got promoted and was ¨in¨ on the selection process for a replacement for Buyer of my former Departments...the President of the store said that if we hired (a certain women that applied from a agency in Los Angeles) we would be paying her far less (and that was ¨good¨ considering how qualified she was for the job)...suddenly I realized that all the female buyers (and merchandise managers) were making drastically smaller salaries then the men in the Retail Merchandising odd that seemed to me at the time that I was making a lot more money than several people more capable/experienced than I was...I never heard any of them complain about was the way things were done and nobody questioned the system at that point.

Leonard said...

I can´t imagine sorting male from female (etc.) the experience for spiritual leadership and ¨calling¨ how The Church of England Synod can morally justify their immoral grandstanding. ¨Holding their breath¨ while pretending they can´t breath (on several subjects) in and out is plain stupid...are they blind? Can they See?