Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Women, word and sacrament

I just got back from an amazing conference in Glasgow called 'Women, word and sacrament' commemorating 40 years of female ordination in the Church of Scotland. It really was truly amazing. It was inspiring to get too see and even talk to (!) the first woman to be ordained in the Church, and hear some of her wonderful story, as well as seeing one of those womenwho first signed the appeal that resulted in the 1968 desision to ordain women, to see those who pioneered feminist theology in Scotland, and hear from experts in the the history of women in church of Scotland. ANd this is all not to mention the amazing women I got to meet and remeet who work in pastoral ministry, living out every day the believe that women who are called to the ministry of word and sacrament (what most of us would called being a minister) have a responsibility to follow the call, and should not be disuaded by false, sexist ideas. It was both inspiring and refreshing to be surrounded by women for whom 'christian feminism' has been key to their lives, and I am reminded again, that I am not alone.

Even though my head is full of all the amazing things women in the church have achieved, and all that we still have to do, this isn't the issue first in my mind at the moment. A talk we heard about the debates that went on for so long about the ordination of women was full of very familiar language. There was talk of it being 'un-natural', of it 'going against the natural order', 'going against the divine inspiration of scripture', 'masculising women' and 'resulting in effeminite men and a feminised church'. The language was all exactly the same as that which we hear now in the church in the context of sexual orientation. So why, when I pay so little heed to those who argue that women teaching is wrong (going against their 'natural' role as mothers and homemakers!), do I pay any heed to those who say that same sex relations are 'un-natural' and 'unbiblical'.

I wish I could find the answers that I'm looking for, but it may take a lot of time and a lot of wrestling before I can truly figure what side of this whole, horrible battle I am on. For the minute all I can say is, that for my part I am unable to believe that same sex relationships are wrong, but I am unable to avoid the possibility that I am wrong, too influenced by the world. I pray for answers, for clarity, and ultimatly for peace of mind, for all those of us who are searching for answers, fearful of what we might find.

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