"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)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How Did I Miss This News?

Archbishop authrorizes a Theological Task Force on Holy Orders Archbishop Duncan has appointed the Rt. Rev. David Hicks, Bishop of the REC Diocese of the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic to lead a Theological Task Force on Holy Orders. The Task Force will lead the College of Bishops through a thorough study regarding the ordination of women to Holy Orders.

The rest of the article is here.

This looks to be fairly new, judging from its placement on the Province's website, but I've not seen any discussion of it in the church media. Probably because the South Carolina situation rightly takes the spotlight.

Some of you may know that Forward in Faith North America recently called for a moritorium on women's ordination to the priesthood. I found the request sad on two fronts... the first is that it didn't come from ordained women, who should have an interest (see earlier posts) in the integrity of our orders and the consciences of our brothers who can't accept us (even deacons, my friends, even women deacons are not universally accepted) and second because of all the women whose process would be adversely affected by a moritorium. Nobody wants to see anyone hurt further. The damage has already been more than enough.

Nonetheless, I fully supported FiFNA's request, moritorum aside, its the right thing to do. Its the necessary thing, for the sake of the church and all who are in ministry together. And so I'm encouraged by this news.

I'm encouraged that Archbishop Duncan has placed an REC bishop in leadership in this group. The REC, you may be aware is not a body which ordains women as deacons or priests. Most folks would trust that Archbishop Duncan would place someone in charge of this committee who is favorable to women's ordination to the priesthood, and so I suspect that and REC bishop approved by Archbishop Duncan is about the closest you can get to someone who will give a balanced ear to the Scripture and the Tradition of the Church in this regard.

I'm encouraged that a request has been made for women to serve on this committee. (Anyone want to convince them that I need this job???) Women need to be represented for the results of the study to be credible to the pro-women's priesthood segment of the church.

I'm encouraged that we seem to be ready to take the risks required for deeper unity and community, while maintaining respect for varied opinions on the subject, at least while the theology is sorted out.

Hopefully, we'll read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the work of Bishop John Rodgers and the AMiA on the subject, but also pray and exegete and think for ourselves, under the guidance of the Spirit. I don't know what the answers will be, but I'm so glad we're no longer fearing to ask the question!

Monday, October 15, 2012

American Neuroticism and Greek Cynicism

I just returned from a trip to Greece (with stops in Turkey and France) and I have learned two things, perhaps things I already knew.

1. Americans are neurotic. Greece, a country with some serious unrest over the economy and a half step away from the Arab world was pretty much business as usual. Most notably, I breezed through security at the airport (and likewise in France) with little fuss and bother. At one point I needed to retrieve a passport, set my bag on the floor and was told by the Greek agent that I needn't bother, I could put my bag on her desk. Really? In America that would likely trigger alerts. Enter not the TSA agent's space. We all know that.

Meanwhile, my fellow Americans were taking off shoes and all manner of unnecessary hoopla, while the Greeks looked on amused. I did have to toss out a bottle of water at Charles de Gualle, but otherwise, security was not a problem. My bag did not go through security in France... it just showed up later in Athens like magic. Funny, I felt no less safe there.

Passport control was also not a problem. Greece happily accepted that I'd been through passport control in Paris, no need to re-visit the issue. Have a nice day. Paris ran a mob through passport control (in English for those of us non-French folks who so preferred, though I am marginally capable in French) in no time. New York (JFK) kept a somewhat smaller mob in line for over an hour and fifteen minutes... for citizens! Form a line here, join a line there, wait, wait, wait. Answer these silly questions, retreive your bag, drag it across the room, recheck your bag for your next flight. Seriously America? Seriously?

Turkey, by the way, was totally casual, too... despite that on another of their borders they're exchanging bombs with Syria. If we were bombing Mexico, I doubt the even the more distant New England states would be as relaxed with foreign visitors as was Turkey.

2. Greece is getting tired. There's graffiti all over Athens and Thessaloniki. But on the whole, nothing was interrupted, our tour ran smoothly and I only visited one going out of business sale. Our guide told us most of the graffiti was with regard to the economic situation. Some of the graffiti was in English for international attention.

We learned that a lot of Greek woes are coming out of misappropriation of funds and overspending on the Olympics in 2004. There were some similar patterns in entitlement spending, lack of accountability, and patronising crony-corporations (think Rapiscan, folks) leading up to collapse. Greece can't limp along much longer and will need to pay the piper.

Wither Greece goes, so goes America.

Anyway, I'm a bit jetlagged (getting better every day) but glad to be back. It certainly is true that travel gives you a better perspective on your own home. I'm not sure its one I'm proud to see, though. Not sure at all. And unfortunately, none of the monkeys stumping for office next month seems capable of resolving anything.