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women in ministry – final thoughts

November 28, 2012

As I mentioned on Monday in my post about bishops, there is a very important issue about what is important!

I may be wrong, but from the way I have read the arguments – the case for women bishops is that women who are skilled and experienced in what they do, and who feel that somehow God is calling them should not be denied the chance to become a bishop by an arbitrary rule that keeps them from the top jobs.

Now as I hope I have made clear before I do not believe that leading the church (any church) is the top job. it is a calling to serve, to lay down my life to support and grow other people who are on a journey with God. I do not have any sense of being the boss, of having the freedom to tell other people what to do. My job is to discern what we are called to do, to inspire and guide them in that journey and hopefully to see them develop along the way.

It is the job of the captain: to steer, but not to rule – at least not in the way that word is commonly used.

In the ship there are many important people, in fact every member of the crew is essential. Without the engineers to run the engine the ship would drift until it ran aground, without the ships cook people would starve, or get food poisoning, without the deck hands there would be no one to make all that needs to happen happen, without the radio operators there would be no communication with the rest of the fleet or the harbour… you get the picture. Everyone has a vital but different role, the task of carrying responsibility falls to the captain – but that is a function. It does not make him better or more important than anyone else.

It is exactly the same in the church. Leaders are no more important than anyone else. I can only hope that those women who are wanting to become bishops are doing so because they want to serve by carrying responsibility and not (perish the thought) because they want to have made it to the top job.

 

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2 Comments
  1. November 29, 2012 3:15 pm

    actually the case for women bishops is not ‘about top jobs’. It is a matter of theology… in short, are we to believe that God’s relationship and the Holy Spirit’s gifting are dependent upon the flesh? The argument is akin to that which took place in the early church over whether it was necessary for Gentiles to become circumcised in order to become part of the body of Christ… now the question is whether one needs an XY chromosome in order to be part of the head.

    • November 29, 2012 3:46 pm

      Thanks for your comment. Theology is about how we think biblically so I can’t agree with your distinction between chromosones being in the areana of theology and jobs being outside it. However the argument of principle is whether God made male and female equal but different – both bearing the image of God, both being stewards of the garden – but Adam carrying responsibility – and being held accountable – which is my reading of Genesis. Or whether male/female were just a random accident of creation that can be reversed at whim.
      Most of what I have read from the pro women bishops `side` seems to appeal either to where we are today. (i.e Camerons comments about getting with the programme) or to a natural justice position that (if I understand it correctly) states that because women have been marganilised and men have abused their authority then they should have the right to exercise rights and authority. This argument only holds water if you accept that because something has been misused that it is broken. We do not take that view with any other sphere of life. Just because some people are abused in marriages we don’t stop people getting married; just because some children are abused by parents we don’t stop people being parents. The important thing is to get men to exercise authority well (as servant leaders) rather than to try to change what God built into creation.

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