"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

21 July 2012

New Old Friends

I’m currently at my mother’s house, worn out, after a weekend of aggressive reunion-ing with my high school… um… people I thought I knew.

If you have a class reunion coming up and haven’t been to one, go this time.  Its not at all weird and kind of refreshing.  All in all it is a second chance to make a first impression, or so they say.   Surprises, well, some… like the super shy, kind of freaky goth guy… who turned out to be level-headed and fascinating and someone I wish I could spend more time with.   Some non-surprises, normal people in high school (rare though they were) are still normal and rather likeable.   People I grew up with who weren’t friends got the chance to become friends.  Twenty years, it seems, is time enough to heal wounds and calm raging hormones. 

Turns out, nobody enjoyed middle school, not even the “popular” kids.  And we all thought more highly of one another than we expressed then.  Now we know how to say so. 

And maybe that’s the most important change in two decades, we’ve learned to appreciate people and are free to enjoy one another.  We all left wanting to see each other again, sooner this time.  

Oh, and my middle child found a kindred spirit… he called him “the Tennessee version of me” on the ride home.   I’m sure play dates will be requested whenever we visit Grandma.  Funny, I’ve known “Tennessee-Me’s” parents since we were even younger than the kids are now.  At middle boy’s age I was playing on the soccer team with his new pal’s dad.  

It makes me miss small town life.  Some of them are still in the same place where we grew up.  They see each other, some work together.  Middle boy’s new buddy even has an older sister who goes to the high school where all those reunioning adults graduated.   Its kind of rhythmic to see life going on in the same small town. 

And if any of them are reading this… thanks for giving me a second chance too.   Hopefully I’m less insecure and obnoxious now.  But I’m not counting on it.

16 July 2012

Posted for all you students of the diaconate.

Roman Catholic Deacon William Ditewig has the distinction of being my favorite author on subjects relating to the diaconate.... no, that's not saying enough since those of you who know me in real life know that I'm not fond of most published material on the diaconate.... so let me rephrase... Students of the Diaconate, Deacon William Ditewig is the only writer on my must-read list.... Here are a pair of great blog posts (part one is just below part II on his blog) for your edification.

Deacons Today: Musings on Diakonia and Diaconate: Women and the Diaconate: Part II

10 July 2012

Why I'm not a Priest, part two.

Okay, so here is a part two... again, don't assume that this completes the reasoning, but it needs to be said.

Women's ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church was an act of rebellion.  (Note, none of the argument that follows applies to traditions unrelated to the Episcopal Church, but they do heavily apply to those of us who are related by the fact of our corporate ecclesiastical ancestry... like it or not, we need to deal with this.)

Just because the governing body of the Episcopal Church looked the other way and allowed the rebellion to run wild does not make it less rebellious.  These women and their bishops broke the canons of the church, acted on their own in rogue fashion, and unilaterally denied the authority placed over them.

And this practice has recently leaked out among a few other churches (most notably some rogue Roman Catholics who repeated this action a few years ago right here in Pittsburgh, attempting to make Roman women priests... the Vatican doesn't seem to have so easily glanced the other way). 

And every woman in the Episcopal Church or the continuing/realigned Anglican Church in the US (and possibly also abroad) has since profited by (and therefore participated in) that act of rebellion.

Its cruel to the authority of the church.
Its cruel to godly women in ministry.
Its cruel to those who can't accept women's ordination.

And the only way I see to overcome that cruelty is to cut off the blind acceptance of women's ordination as a carryover from TEC and re-engage in the risk-taking high-stakes theological study that would lay the foundation for our own considered response to the issue within the ACNA.  That means we all have to be willing to risk being wrong, so I doubt it will happen any time soon.  But I'd be willing to risk everything to ask the church to reconsider the ordination (at all levels) of women and abide by the theologically demonstrated conclusion. 

I'd be willing to take that risk because I see it as the only way to give women a chance to serve God free from the act of sinful and cruel rebellion that we have dragged in from the wastebaskets of TEC.   And its possibly the only way to resolve some of the bitterness between those who are for and those who are against women's ordination and let us finally  move forward together in ministry, for the good of the whole Church.

So again, part two... talk amongst yourselves.

09 July 2012

Why I’m Not a Priest… part one

Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll write a part two or not.  This may just be in the spirit of Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1; there may be no part two.  But the title stands, lest the good reader assume that the reasons given here are the only reasons.

There’s a lot of brouhaha right now, ever since Provincial Assembly, possibly before that, about women’s ordination to the priesthood.  Some (with whom I vehemently disagree, most of whom we left behind in TEC) seem to think this is an equal rights issue.  Scripture is interpreted for them in such a way that, lacking a specific” thou shalt not ordain girls” seems to strive to explain away (way away) prohibitions against women in ministry.  They don’t wrestle with the text, they wrangle it.  That’s of course one extreme, but they can be vocal and their methods are not responsible exegesis, so they are a force to be reckoned with. 

There’s another vocal group, which remarkably has a similar motivation in fear (fear that the next archbishop won’t agree with their position… funny how both sides are alike in that presupposition) that believes that women simply cannot be ordained priests.  Ordination bounces off women like teflon and thereby endangers the spiritual wellbeing of the people because all female celebrated sacraments would be invalid.  I can sympathize with this position, as it is rooted in depth of concern for biblical authority and the spiritual wellbeing of the people.  It is a position that comes out of a sense of continuity with the historic church and puts the burden of proof on anyone who wants to change the tradition.   While “we’ve always done it that way” is poor theology, there is authority in the church’s Tradition.  While I don’t share their opinion, I sympathize with it, and I think we should stand up (especially those of us who happen to be women) to defend our brothers and sisters who hold this opinion, particularly as their strongly held convictions open them to accusations of misogyny. 

Sure there are a few misogynists among them.  There are jerks on all sides, always will be.  But for the vast majority, this is simply a theological conclusion, on the way to faithfully following God.  I’m cool with that.

In the middle are all sorts.  Including me.  I’m pretty convinced that the Bible allows for women to become priests.  (I am convinced that biblical affirmation of women deacons is blatantly obvious, less so though for priests.  Anyone who tries to base an argument off the unclear debate whether Junian was a woman or a man is probably barking up an unsteady tree… but the text seems open to the idea of women priests, though a touch ambiguous, certainly not firm… and the Tradition of the Church is not to be left voiceless… so I just barely fall on the pro-Women’s ordination to the priesthood side… just enough to recognize and work with women as priests, but not enough to really think its a preferable notion for the church today.)   Real wrestling with the text leaves us with as many questions as it solves, and those who like pat answers don’t seem to find satisfaction. 

I’m convinced that its allowable, but I’m not convinced that its preferable.  A lot of the Scripture defines Christian community as setting aside our own freedoms for the sake of the Body.  And I am not convinced that, aside from a few extreme cases, women priests are good for the larger Body.  I know some awesome women who are priests, don’t get me wrong.  I could name a score of names in as many seconds.   But I am simply not convinced that these women are not exceptions to the general rule as well as being exceptional.   All things being lawful, this may, at this time in church history not be always helpful.

I do know this, its not an equal rights issue.   Nobody, male or female has a right to be ordained.  None of us is worthy.

And as for me, I spend a lot of time in ministry among those who are against women’s priesthood.  Not being a priest gives me the flexibility to serve among them in a fuller, richer way.  Becoming a priest would, in that way, be a liability, and its not a liability that I have felt called to take on (though I acknowledge that some women may have felt called to take that liability on, fully knowing that it does limit effectiveness in some circles.  God sets the limits, I get that.  I’ve just been given one set of limitations instead of another.) 

So why am I writing this… well because a few people have asked me to write about women’s priesthood.  Because I see fear on both sides, and fear is anti-Gospel.  Because our canons are clear (women priests at the bishop’s discretion, but no women bishops because that would impose women’s ministry on those whose theological convictions oppose women priests), but our hearts are not… that the needs of the church must be placed before the needs of the individual.  That just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

There aren’t many people I can talk about this with, since I probably annoy both sides equally.  But I’m pretty sure I am where God wants me to be.

And maybe I’m pushing my luck by publishing this… but unless given a reason otherwise, comments are open.  Be respectful.  Talk amongst yourselves.

05 July 2012

An theme song in honor of the folks over on StandFirm

Don't know much church history
Don't know much theology
Don't know much about the prayer book
Don't know much about the Greek I took
But I do know that Gene likes dudes
And I know that if they’d bless that too
What a Schoriful world this would be
Don't know much hagiography
Don't know much Cranmer and Ridley
Don't know much about liturgy
Don't know what a maniple is for
But I do think that we can rewrite truth
And if we could just make the church a spoof
What a Schoriful world this would be
Now I don't claim to be a great bishop
But TEC’s not charging me
So maybe by keeping my mouth shut, Katie
I can tolerate your heresy.
Don't know much church history
Don't know much theology
Don't know much about the prayer book
Don't know much about the Greek I took
But I do know that Gene likes dudes
And I know that if they’d bless that too
What a Schoriful world this would be
La ta ta ta ta ta
(Church History)
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
La ta ta ta ta ta ta
(Prayer book)
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
(Greek I took)
But I do know that Gene likes dudes
And I know that if they’d bless that too
What a Schoriful world this would be

Vestments for the TSA

Sorry folks, but I just had to post this... truly an atrocious lapse in judgment on behalf of the vestment designer.  I'm not sure who is supposed to want to wear this vestment... unless the deacon is bivocational, serving both at the altar and the airport.
  Rainbow/Hands Deacon Stole