WOMEN’S ORDINATION: Authority, or the two elements left out of the argument—people and God

Authority, or the two elements left out of the argument—people and God

It’s Advent.  It’s not the time for arguments like these, but the Church of England, otherwise known as the Anglican Church, has decided, once and for all, to allow women to consider themselves bishops.

There had been a man who cared about how this move would affect the congregants of the church, but he was ousted from his position of authority.  And the deal was sealed.

This move has stirred up much feeling and comment.

So, while I am not participating in any online conversations during Advent, I allow myself to peek in on the argument from time-to-time.

It’s like being in a boxing ring, being pummeled, and having no gloves on.

After reading what amounts to a most painful low blow, I decided to write.

Here.

For that, I apologize.

Most of the argument concerns scripture, tradition, and reason: the Anglican three-legged stool of faith.

Most of the time it’s like watching children on a beach having a war with pebbles.  Well, this word indicates this.  No! that word in Greek really refers to that.

But up came the issue of authority.  Just who, it is asked, has the authority to decide this?

Well, to my mind there are two answers to that question: people and God.

People

What is never approached in these heart-felt and hardy discussions is the matter of people.  Or the truth that the ordination of women very successfully unchurches its Orthodox congregants.

This is not a gentle stroll along a path by a serene river.

More this is like going away for Thanksgiving and coming home to find someone has taken over your house, changed the locks, and evicted you from your own home.

Or, it is like having paid your mortgage on time for thirty years, only to discover that your bank has made an “error” and is foreclosing on you.

All that you have invested is being thrown out with you.  Your commitment amounts to nothing.

Women’s ordination, for the Orthodox members – those people who built the churches that are now being sold off to become sports centers, who maintained the churches that are now sitting empty for lack of use, who supported charities that are now neglected – for these people, women’s ordination is nothing short of a form of rape and pillage.

I would like to write that the unchurched are not seen by the current Episcopal Church.  That they are invisible.  Nonexistent.  But it is so much worse than that.

The Supreme Druidess of the Episcopal Church has raised her arms up to whatever she worships and has declared that the unchurching of the Orthodox Anglicans from her church is the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is a blessed cleansing.

So, we the unchurched, go from being just unwanted evicteds to being the lepers of the church.  And are treated accordingly.

And so, you ask?  So what?  Go somewhere else.

Authority: the power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.

Fracturing the church has apparent consequences: people strewn about hither and yon results in a weakening in the very structure to do good in the world.  To evangelize.  To care for the needy.

To create a spiritual home for those whose souls cry out for relief.

It is more an effective way to allow evil to grow than to bring the light of Jesus into the darkness that is spreading so swiftly in our world.

In very real ways, community is authority.

And it’s not as though the Episcopal Church has assumed this work.  Other Anglican provinces in the world are turning their back on TEC.  No longer is it seen as a port in stormy weather, to be depended on.  In addition, the Supreme Druidess has now taken to stealing from children’s mite boxes and trying to break irrevocable trusts in order to continue her reign of terror.  Well, her reign of trying to close down the church altogether.

Instead of authority, she offers the world impotence and ignorance.

God

Now I am a mystic.  And I know certain things about God better than I know my own name.

One thing I know about God is his fundamental laws:

  1. Respect
  2. Courtesy
  3. Gratitude

I want a proponent of the ordination of women to show me respect.

I do not want to experience any more arrogance on the matter.

I want a proponent of the ordination of women to show me courtesy.

I do not want to be coerced into agreeing with the “right” kind of thinking.

I want a proponent of the ordination of women to show me gratitude.

I do not want to be told that I am being prayed for.

Because I know it’s not my sprained ankle being prayed for.  Or my tennis elbow.

It’s my mind that is being prayed for.  Prayed to be healed of its confusion, its stupidity, its mental imbalance.

I want a proponent of the ordination of women to show me respect.

And here is one MAJOR point: coercion is not of Christ.  Our savior is one who offered tenderness and understanding.

Acceptance.

I want a proponent of the ordination of women to show me courtesy.

Condescension only increases the feeling of insult received.

I want a proponent of the ordination of women to show me gratitude.

I taught Sunday school.  I have managed more church suppers than you can count.  I have plucked weeds, participated in group discussions, delivered food to the hungry, stood with the homeless in the rain.

If respect, courtesy, and gratitude are not values of this new church, then, for me, this church is not of God.

Because God is the ultimate authority.

One final point

So much is made of Jesus, who he loves, how he loves, and why he loves.

This, of course, is of no import whatsoever.

It’s not who Jesus loves, it’s who loves Jesus.

And how he loves Jesus.  And why he loves Jesus.

And in order to love Jesus in the way he meant you to love him, you follow him.

Amen.

1 Comment on WOMEN’S ORDINATION: Authority, or the two elements left out of the argument—people and God

  1. The frustration you and others feel and experience comes across in your post. It is interesting how people can interpret the same facts so differently. As faithful conservative Episcopalians have left in large numbers out of frustration, the leadership that has created an unprecedented decline in membership give it the positive sin of purifying the ranks. The reign of God is furthered by this debacle not in the least.

    Like

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