Today a woman was excommunicated by/from the Mormon church because of her advocation for the ordination of women.
This week the clergy of the church that I loved and worked for for many years, and finally chose to leave in order to pursue my calling to ordained ministry, meets and is discussing ordination and gender roles.
At the end of next week I will be ordained into the clergy of the Swedenborgian Church of North America.
These three events are connecting in my thoughts and feelings today and lead me to say:
May women be honored as the whole and created-by-God humans that we are–everywhere, and particularly in our churches and communities of faith.
4 Replies to “Today”
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the ability of political parties pursuing anti-immigration policies (I’m writing from the UK) to garner support by inspiring fear, putting forward a very fixed world-view and whipping up the anger of potential supporters. The latter is especially important because it inspires people to action, even if the action is only putting a mark next to the name of the candidate of such a party. Giving those who feel powerless something they can do is something that I believe is an important part of the appeal of such an approach.
I wonder how many parallels there are in church circles, including New Church circles, around the ordination of women (not to mention other issues). Fear certainly plays a part (e.g. articles I have read which suggest that fewer men will attend church if women are in roles of clergy leadership). So does a particular world-view, which sadly often consists of dogmatic thinking which has elements of truth in it, but usually only tells part of the story. When it comes to action, the action is very often more words than action per se, but is a form of action nonetheless. Convening meetings, making statements and writing papers or articles is something that people feel they can do when they can’t acknowledge that they are facing something that even they know deep down to be unstoppable. There are no doubt power issues in all of this in some areas, but the irony is that anyone trying to maintain existing power structures is actually powerless to stop change which I believe is inevitable. There are unfortunate results of such an inability to recognise this, not least the growing tendency of churches to be irrelevant to the majority of the population (this is more marked in the UK/Europe, but it is growing in the US, especially amongst younger people). Another unfortunate result of people sticking their heads in the sand about this particular issue of women’s ordination is the resulting difficulty of addressing this more general issue, which I would personally see as even more fundamental. There are, praise be, honourable exceptions to this, but then, readers of this blog won’t need reminding of this. All power to you, Anna, in the work you do and to all those supporting it in any way…
Yes, may it be so/
Amen- let it be so. I have so greatly admired your courage and strength in following the Lord’s leading in your life, rather than the dogma that would have dismissed your gifts and passion. I pray, too, for a young lady I dearly love who told me she wished she follow a calling she felt into the New Church clergy. Let her life not be limited by tradition; let her be honored and supported in following her heart, listening to the Lord’s voice in her life, and finding her calling. Ordination of women began many decades ago in the church I was raised in, and we are far better for it. It seems so obvious that the length and breadth of human experience should be held within the clergy, and that women’s souls, wisdom, empathy, learning, and intelligence should be honored for what they can bring to the task of shepherding the church.