women can come in, as long as they wear beards...like in the life of brian

i listened to 3 hours of synod the other wednesday - 'that' wednesday, the one where they spent an inordinate amount of time reiterating their own point of view in speeches of '5 minutes, 2 minutes, 3 minutes' - these are arguments that were heard ad infinitum at the last synod - and in the space in between, and will continue to be heard, over and over again, in the space between now and july. these arguments go something like the following:

1. do not want women to be bishops, can't bear them, maintain the boys club at all costs
2. do not want women to be bishops, can tolerate them, but please don't make us have to play in the same park
3. want women to be bishops, but happy for them not to be treated equally, it's only an issue of church order
4. want women to be bishops, see it as gospel imperative, anything less than equality is tantamount to allowing racial segregation

i found it rather depressing listening actually, and i get that it has to happen, but i really can't shake the idea that it's all a bit futile. after all the speeches are done, how many people actually changed their minds? of course conversation and dialogue is really important, and over time people do change their minds about things, of course they do. but i think that for those who really have some kind of fear about women being in their space, or what it will look like for women to take their place alongside men, the only thing that will change their mind will be the reality of it.

some people, both men and women, will always be frightened about what those things will look like, it means change, it means women taking responsibility for their own lives and men losing control. this is scary for both men and women. there is, of course, some genuine misogyny involved too, any time that women experience hostility for simply opening their mouths and having an opinion, for impacting the world around them in a way that hasn't been part of the implicit social contract, where they literally become the counter-argument for their own existence. bit like this....

in scripture, this kind of fear, the kind that comes from loss of control and world view being changed, can only be changed by a revelation from God. peter would never have been convinced about God's message to the gentiles and the cleanliness of the 'other', had he not been sent a dream from God.

so yes, discuss, give speeches, whatever, but until women inhabit those spaces which are closed to them, hearts and minds will not be changed. until then we will find ourselves going round in circles, rather like this....


Emily Zimbrick-Rogers said...

Thanks for your blog. Very interested to follow you from across the pond. I agree that this element is so important--that it is a Gospel imperative and nothing less. I edit a blog on arts, faith and equality and if you would like to blog on it, I'd be really open to it, to give you an audience in the U.S. Even though not pursuing ordination, I am so encouraged to see evangelicals like you working hard as you have been called by the Spirit.
but thanks again. Emily

Anonymous said...

I found your post really interesting but I think the characterisation of the four views expressed at synod was a little lacking in grace. I completely understand about the misogyny that can fly around, but it doesn't help if you're dishing out the same kind of belittling stereotypes at traditionalists that you don't like being directed towards women.

radical disciple said...

Hi Emily

thanks, if you'd like me to write about something in particular let me know. I'm happy to guest blog.


radical disciple said...

hi pm

i think that these are the simplest ways of expressing things. it perhaps feels stark when laid out like this, but i do think it's pretty close to the truth and it's only when people are real about how the feel when women are perceived to be 'in their space' that we will move forward.

I didn't impute motive, just stated the reality of what we're facing....some can't bear us, some will tolerate us, some are fine with it but don't think it's worth fighting for and some think it's at the heart of God and anything less is tantamount to apartheid.

how we reconcile any of these is up for grabs.