Thursday, December 04, 2008

What is better will not be taken away

Caught this gathering of some of the ordained women as they gathered with Bob Duncan last night after the celebration service marking the birth of the new Anglican Church in North America. I am reminded of that wonderful passage in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke where Jesus comes to visit the home of Mary and Martha.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Luke 10"38-42

Amen.

21 comments:

ettu said...

I was not planning to comment but was moved by the juxtaposition of the biblical text and the photo showing ordained women. My belief is that the ordination of women is indeed being diminished and taken away from them by this coalition of the various contradicting strands of acceptance and denial of WO. Quite schizophrenic in the belief system of this disparate group! I cannot see it holding together over the decades let alone centuries that are the mark of God's grace.

BabyBlue said...

Kinda like Mary and Martha, isn't it? Martha was pretty upset by Mary's choice as well - distracted by her work, she blamed Mary.

But Jesus said of Mary, who took a public and traditional position of a rabbi's disciple reserved for men only, that her choice would not be taken away. Why is what Mary chosen better than what Martha expected?

If you know the women in this photo, you will know why their choice will not be taken away. And it's not based on rank or expectations, but the condition of their hearts, as Mary's was.

These women have risked much, so very much and we honor them here at the Cafe - may the Lord bless them for choosing to be His feet.

bb

Anonymous said...

"But Jesus said of Mary, who took a public and traditional position of a rabbi's disciple reserved for men only.."

Very interesting observation, bb.

RalphM

ettu said...

Well I find it interesting that they have voluntarily chosen a position of diminution of women's rights - it is for that very reason that I find it impossible to recommend this church to my daughters.

Perpetua said...

I think it is a wonderful witness that not all women who were ordained were seeking to undermine orthodox teaching.

It has been so disheartening to see women's ordination used to undermine the church. And to hear GLBT activits and their supporters equate the status of being a woman with the behavior of homosexual activity.

Robert said...

Humility and taking the lesser position even when you deserve the greater is quite Christ-like.

ettu said...

Ah, but Robert how men have abused women because of their hormone determined subservience
I refer you to the recent biology examining hourglass versus cylindrically shaped women and their respective testosterone levels --found in ?yesterday's BBC website. Such a shame subservient women do not provide a better witness to the ideal of equality also found in the scriptures. After all, any one point can be found in the Bible but rather it is the "connect the dots" approach that allows us to see the basic themes in scripture and, by that reading, there is no justification for enslavement which -reductio ad absurbum - is what female subservience mirrors and validates. It is a statement of superiority based solely on birth.

ettu said...

PS I am not so concerned with these particular women who have tasted the fruits of advancement as I am for their daughters and their grand-daughters -- and also for their sons and their grand-sons. May they not have to fight for equality and opportunity as hard as their forbears - going back to the suffragettes and before - were forced to in order to be seen as whole humans and not partial men.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone catch the Diocese of Virginia's comments in the Richmond paper yesterday?

Robert said...

I was not focusing on just the subservience of these women as women but on them as Christians. They put the Gospel before their own need for earthly glory. They made a decision of their own.

ettu said...

Robert- Thank you for the clarification and my best wishes for you and your family

Anonymous said...

Right on, BB!

As a woman who has considered herself a feminist, I used to support women's ordination, assuming, rather naively I've learned that women who sought ordination shared real commitment to Christ's teachings. The lesson's I've learned from TEC have disclosed that unforunately most of them didn't. It was more of an intent to exploit ordination to undermine the faith. Women are not any less human and are as given to corruption.

I don't believe all women are insincere in their faith, but rather ordination needs to be based on commitment to Christ's teachings, not on a desire to subvert the faith. WO is not a priority to me at present, having a true Anglican presence is.

ettu said...

Dear Anonymous - My point exactly!! I agree 100% that "Women are not any less human....." So nice to agree on that point - other than that it is a matter of world experience and opinion. I respect your hesitation to put WO at the top of the problems but I hope you see others might give it a different priority. I fear that if it is relegated to a subsidiary role now that it will never regain validity - at least not for many generations in the new ecclesiastical structure that is being formed.

Perpetua said...

Dear ettu,
I think the blame lies with the deceitful women who obtained holy orders with the intent to undermine the teachings of the church. These deceitful women have set back the clock for all the faithful Christian women who may actually be called to Holy Orders and will not be considered due to the actions of these deceitful women.

ettu said...

Perpetua!! I am amazed that you know the hearts of the women who obtained Holy Orders so well!! Wow! Well, I am privileged to know a few and my perception differs from yoours - and let me assure you I am as well acquainted with their motives as I believe one can be. I can think of one who entered Orders with graave reservations and definitrly without any deceit in her mind. One can be called by the grace of the Holy Spirit and I believe most are - especially with the rigorous discernment process seminarians undergo. (I am familiar with various diocesan and seminary committees and leaders.) I am sorry that your experience has been mainly negative. Have you not met even one admirable and worthy female priest or bishop??

Perpetua said...

Hi ettu,

I am thinking that you may have misinterpreted my most recent comment on this thread. When I used the phrase "the deceitful women who obtained holy orders", I was distinguishing a subset of all the women who obtained holy orders. In my first sentence of my first comment on this thread I wrote : "I think it is a wonderful witness that not all women who were ordained were seeking to undermine orthodox teaching."

I know there is a category of deceitful women who obtained holy orders because, at the Episcopal seminary I attended, there were women trading tips on what to lie about and how to lie to pass the discernment process. And these lies were not just about sexuality issues, but theology as well. And there intention in being ordained was to gain the status/ credibility to promote alternative teachings that would undermine the traditional teachings of the church.

Perpetua said...

Ooops, And their intention in being ordained was to gain the status/ credibility to promote alternative teachings that would undermine the traditional teachings of the church.

ettu said...

But surely you must have known ONE good female priest/bishop?? It is the old adage about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater - well as kids say "..whatever.." It is just that it smells a bit like conspiracy theory to me but if that was your experience then so be it - not mine though --- regards

ettu said...

PS--Sympathy to you for whatever happened to you in seminary- I just hope it has not colored your response to the wider issue

Perpetua said...

ettu,

I do not believe that all women who were ordained were seeking to undermine orthodox teaching. When I used the phrase "the deceitful women who obtained holy orders", I was distinguishing a subset of all the women who obtained holy orders.

I don't understand why you continue to misunderstand my comments.

ettu said...

Point taken regards