powers and principalities

as i said yesterday, there's a discussion going over on fulcrum about the reality of growing women priests. it's got me thinking about how we will learn from each other and how we need to keep learning and listening. i'm copying here a comment that i made on that thread.

the trouble with structures is that they can sound good in the abstract, but the practical outworking shows up their inadequacies and prejudices in sharp relief. we might not be able to see how 'ways of doing' militate against our 'being' until a bit further down the line.

having done a bit of training in college over a long period of time, and being given space to ask the questions of church life because i was training part time, i realise that those who are in the process of '2/3 years + curacy' and then kicked out into whichever church will (or will not) have them, may not have the space and time to reflect at the actual time of training about the system that they find themselves in. it may be that it is a little while later that the reality sinks in. it may even be that some were willing to put up with systems that they knew weren't 'the best', but in hindsight simply embedded the idea that these systems were okay.

personally i find myself less tolerant that i used to be - probably because i used to think that we were working with systems that were clearly inadequate, but which people realised were inadequate and so it was a case of 'work in progress'. in reality, i begin to wonder if we didn't just validate the systems instead, that most don't realise the inadequacy and think that simply allowing women to enter the sacred halls is enough.

i guess i would want to add to that. to say that there must be grace in our relationships together. i don't want it to appear that lack of tolerance of unjust systems is just an excuse to be graceless with each other. but in the past i may not have spoken of the fact that the system was corrupt, whether out of embarrassment - you know 'at least they let me be here, i can't complain about the rest' - or in the expectation that it will somehow change on its own. but i find that the systems don't change on their own, it takes effort. so i hope that i can offer grace at the same time as offering challenge, that i'm willing to work with those who are still part of the system, but who struggle to see a different way.

but grace is offered in a context of acknowledging things are not as they should be, grace is not needed for those who are well.

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