Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Signs of life in the Anglican Church

From CNN.com:

The General Synod passed a resolution Monday night that allows women to become bishops, acting over the objections of traditionalists who argued that Jesus
only wanted men in leadership positions.

The Anglican Church (Church of England) allowed women priests 16 years ago.

Naturally, the Vatican, who regards the Anglicans in same way that China regards Taiwan, as a renegade splinter form the main group, was not pleased:

The move by the Anglican Church's General Synod "is a rift to the apostolic tradition" of ordaining only men as bishops, the Vatican said in a statement, and is another obstacle to reconciliation between Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
"This decision will have consequences on the dialogue which had brought good fruits," the Vatican statement said.

Of course, the Vatican has it wrong. So what else is new? When it comes to women, the Vatican bats 0-for-existence.

Allow me to point out the mudanely obvious, from Acts of the Apostles, specifically 2:1-12:

1 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them.
4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.
5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky.
6 When this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language.
7 They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, aren’t all these who speak Galileans?
8 How do we hear, everyone in our own native language?
9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia,
10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!”
12 They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, “What does this mean?”

Yes, I refer to the Pentcost, the ordaining of the first ministers of Jesus. The story is pretty familiar to most Christians.

But who, in verse 1, were "they" (the "brethern" in some versions)?

Refer back to 1:13-14:

13 When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
14 All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Also, Matthias, selected as Judas's replacement, in 1:26.

Note the list: the eleven apostles (plus Matthias), the women (Mary, Martha, and the Magdalene), and the brothers of Jesus.

It is upon all of these that the tongues of fire from the Holy Spirit descended onto--INCLUDING THE WOMEN!

Yes, in the Christian religion, at the outset, God ordained women to do His Work. At last that's what the book the Christians believe to be the inerrant Word of God, the Bible, says.

That fact seems to be lost on the Vatican. It was not on the early Church when they needed all the help they could get, and the frescoes from that period reflected it.

Besides, look at it from a common sense point of view.

What difference is there between men and women that prevent women from ministering to the Word of God? What is it about women that suppsoedly prevent them from doing so?

Is it some sort of stigma associated with Eve? Tell that the women saints and the Virgin Mary.

Is it some ancient patriarchal power trip? Probably. Strong women frighten weak men.

Is it something in the female brain? Yes. Women as a whole tend to be more caregivers than power players, and the power players in religion are the ones who not only want to be charge, but want to stay there as well. But in this case, perhaps having caregivers in charge instead of theo-political neophytes is probably a good thing. That means that women are probably BETTER at ministering the Word of God than men (which would explain most of the debacles in Church history!).

Is it the gender? I hope not. That's just misogynistic and just wrong.

When it comes to women, marriage, children, and uncloistered life, the Vatican tends to be wrong much more than they right. I owe my own existence to saner heads outside the Vatican, because my grandfather was a loving and happily married Lutheran pastor, father of my father, and giver of unconditional love to me in the too-short time we had together. My first son was named in his honor.

So cheers to the Anglicans for getting it right. And jeers to the Vatican for getting it wrong. Again.

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