Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Women Clergy = Horses and Other Absurdities

I am simply amazed at the creative but destructively caustic words that come from those who are consciously bent on schism of The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion, AND who claim to consider themselves "doing God's will" in Christ's name.

The previously unknown/unnamed correspondent, Caroline J.A. Anderson, from the Anglican Mainstream, said the following about our PB Elect, +Katharine Jefferts Schori:

"the most traditional of the Anglo-Catholics do not believe that women can be ordained any more than horses can. Just as we would not consider a horse ordained even if in some odd ceremony it had the prayers of the ordination service prayed over it, and hands laid on it, so an ordained woman is simply not ordained. So for the most traditional Anglo-Catholics we have just elected a very talented but equally misled, lay person as our next Presiding Bishop."

"...how can a non-ordained person hold a position of such authority? For the evangelicals it shows that regardless of what The Episcopal Church may say it has no intention of changing course. For those who are trying to get us to toe the Lambeth line it may be experienced as another slap in the face. Once again, the Episcopal Church has moved faster than the rest of the Communion and has listened to the Holy Spirit more than to the councils of the Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury has sent a gracious message, but he notes that Schori's election will 'undoubtedly have an impact' and he must be wondering what in the world will happen next."

To have the sheer nerve to compare legally, canonically ordained women clergy with animal nature of horses, is to insult women everywhere and their contribution to the church. Why is this? Because we are all "ordained" by virtue of Paul's words, that we are all part of the "priesthood" of Christ. Further, they called +Katharine Jefferts Schori a "talented but misled lay person". If they could only fathom that those who hold this opinion of our PB Elect, don't even qualify to stand in her shadow they are so vastly ignorant of what real intelligence, spiritual gifts, blessings and goodness truly is in Christ's Church.

+Katharine is educated [unlike those who wrote the original article or hold those points of view], spiritual beyond the recognition of those who purport to know "the Truth", in tune with the Holy Spirit [that flame of Wisdom that Christ gave us to guide us as individuals as well as a community of believers; it is obvious that the wondrous seed of the Holy Spirit fall on all believers, but some ground is far more fertile than others], articulate and gracious [to me she is the calm in this doctrinal and petty storm stirred up by those who whine because they can't get their way], and she was the elected by our bishops and consented to by our deputies who felt the Holy Spirit move among them at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Columbus, and in the House of Deputies. It cannot be more clear that God has ordained +Katharine Jefferts Schori as the one to bring positive and enlightened change to our denomination, and most likely--in time--to the entire Anglican Communion.

In the second quote from our Anglican Mainstream truly stuns me, especially when it says this:

"...the Episcopal Church has moved faster than the rest of the Communion and has listened to the Holy Spirit more than to the councils of the Church."

I would much rather listen to the Advocate, the Helper, the Holy Spirit that Jesus Christ gave us than to man-made doctrine that is in and of itself, flawed and inflexible. Man-made doctrine is just that, "man-made" because no women were ever permitted to influence the Scriptures though there are many beautiful examples of women in both Old and New Testaments that obviously show the key involvement of women in Christ's ministry.

God, in His glorious will, has changed all that and has brought us to this positive and defining moment in our church. I am glad we are accused of listening to the Holy Spirit more than the "councils of the Church" because She is part of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What better way to obtain wisdom for the course before us than to rely on the flawed, stilted, and unbending voices of David Anderson and Kendall Harmon.

I am proud and yet humbled to have +Katharine as my future Presiding Bishop, the Anglican Communion's first woman Primate. Proud because she will lead us into an even better future than ++Frank has led us already, and humbled because the Holy Spirit moved among those who sought guidance to choose her, and so showed Herself to be truly and tangibly present to the rest of us. +Katharine will always outshine her critics and naysayers, including the "orthodox" women who have been duped by they narrow-minded male leaders in their little "orthodox" conclaves into believing what they say and do is right.

For those who want division and are threatening to leave The Episcopal Church, I pray:

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

In times of uncertainty I have always remembered one of Paul's more brilliant moments in Romans:

"And God causes all things to work together for good, to those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

+Katharine Jefferts Schori has been called according to His purpose because she truly loves God, and will endeavor with all of our support and prayers to make all the turmoil work together for good.



Will said...

Paul writes in Galatians:

27For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

I've observed these "orthodox" fundamentalists as I lurk in stealth mode at one of their groups (lest I be ex-communicated, God forbid), and they not only have nothing positive to say about this Convention (and certainly nothing good to say about the PB elect), they are so mean spirited and hateful in their remarks that I can only wonder WHAT in the world they really want. Of this I am certain .. if they should leave as they continually threaten to do, it will only be a short matter of time until
they schism even further among themselves. When one is motivated by legalistic ideology, it isn't long until another comes along who is just a bit more legalistic ... and the beat goes on.

Will said...

Paul writes in Galatians that in Christ:

28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

It's not the conviction of the writer of that piece that troubles me ... it's the attitude; that pharisaic, hateful, arrogant, and certainly alienating attitude.

Peace, Will

atticus said...

catherine, thanks for this post...i was in NY on vacation when i heard the news..and thought of you...was hoping i could get the "scoop" on her from you...that is, glad that you are pleased with the choice of bishop...it makes me feel proud of the episcopalian leadership for choosing a woman to lead the church; what a loud statement this makes...indeed,it appears that someone is listening to the Holy Spirit and acting on what they hear...i would love to keep getting updates...thanks again

Songbird said...

The Southern Baptists are experiencing what Will describes. They clamped down on women and non-fundamentalists some years ago. Now they are clamping down on charismatics in the ranks of their leadership. These battle lines are drawn by people who are all about control.
Catherine, I had to read the comment about following the Holy Spirit rather than the Church several times to be sure I grasped the meaning. Very strange. Thanks for your strong writing on this subject.

Jeff Martinhauk said...

You know, there are some parts of a horse that I can equate to some women I know... But then again that goes for some men too and I don't think it has anything to do with their gender.

That same part comes to mind when thinking of whoever made the comparison between ordaining a woman and ordaining a horse.


Catherine + said...

I have highlighted the bizarre portion of the second large quote from the reporter on how TEC has listened more to the Holy Spirit than the Councils of the Church. I could not believe it had been said either and had to reread a few times myself.

If they choose to listen to "the traditions of men" rather than to the Holy Spirit, the gift of Christ Himself,then the God they worship is not the God and Son and Holy Spirit that is in the scriptures and reflect Christ's enlightened and divine Word.

Psalmist said...

How awful! Only a small degree more civilized than when another woman and I were referred to as "Balaam's Donkey" by a misguided "orthodox" sort some time back, for daring to think we could be church leaders. But at least she and I, and our "friend," weren't on the national stage. Ugh!

Please know that a United Methodist in Fort Worth is appalled by Bishop Iker's refusal to accept Bishop Jeffert Schori's election (more accurately, I suppose he refuses to accept her authority). "Iker-reich" keeps coming to mind, but that's probably not fair of an outsider to say, is it?

Anonymous said...

What an incredibly stupid thing to say, and the thing of it is, this statement was meant to be deliberately inflammatory. I have debated with people who are opposed to WO and, while I believe them to be theologically misguided, they never framed their arguments in terms like this. I detect a level of desperation behind the shrill tone and harsh words. The tide has turned and there's no going back.


Catherine + said...

Thank you Karen, and I agree. Integrity is trying to find out exactly who said it so I can give ddiscredit where it is due. I think we have all taken a lot of el toro moc these last three years but also in the weeks and days leading up to Convention.

God has spoken through the Holy Spirit and it is finished in the fruit of the selection of our new PB.

Still a bit inflamed!