August 2, 2006

The Woods are Lovely, Dark And Deep

Where does our preference/desire leave off and God’s immutable truth take over? As an example, whether or not to ordain gay bishops in the Anglican Communion?
Ordaining women or gays is not even a question in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Of course they won’t. Their 2,000 years of tradition and church teaching rule out either option. Makes it easier in some way, more objective, easier to rationalize. Provides a sense of security. Alleviates the doubts.
In fact, I find it very comforting to be able to say here is the collective wisdom of the church fathers (but isn’t that patently patriarchal?) and I can rely on them without question. They almost certainly know better than I do. I should trust in the their wisdom, their being guided by the Holy Spirit and not rely on my own understanding. Almost like the old bumper sticker “God said it, I (or we) believe it, that settles it.”
Except that excluding half the population because they are the wrong gender and even more because of their sexual preference seems offensive. What about the example of Mary Magdalene? She was good enough to minister to Jesus. Was the fact that all the recorded early church leaders were men simply a product of the time, place and culture? To have twelve women in charge would have been absolutely unimaginable in first century Palestine.
Or is my wanting to accept women as equals in ministry a product of my time place and culture? I am a child of the Feminist Revolution. Is my not wanting to exclude gays a result of my falling for gay propaganda? I have a gay sister. My views about homosexuality, positive and negative, color where I come down on the issue.
The Anglican’s debate over ordaining women 30 years ago was as rancorous as the current debate about gays. Have female priests helped bring the love of God to a lost world? Without question. Did ordaining a gay bishop divide the Anglican Communion? Without question.
Are we not all created in his image? What does God say? He says judge not. But He also says we are to be the salt and the light. There has to be a limit or the concepts of sin and obedience lose all meaning.Where is the point where I know that yes is yes and no is no? Maybe I am asking too much, looking for objective truth in a subjective world.

1 comment:

King of Peace said...

I remember the story of a deputy to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church that voted to authorize the ordination of women. He went commited to vote against it, convinced he was right. But once at the convention, he found those on that side of the issue—against ordaining women—were only speaking from some real hate against those in favor of the practice. Noticing that love was on the side of ordaining women, he reconsidered his own objections in light of the scriptural points made by those in favor and realized his objections didn't hold. It wasn't just a matter of following the love, but as he tells it, for him, love pointed the way to the Truth.