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‘Lord’ is Fading at Some Churches

Monday, April 23, 2007 • 7:53 am


Some Roman Catholic churches? Some Baptist churches? No. I’ll give you three guesses, and the first two don’t count:

God has no gender. And the Lord? There’s not much Lord in this church service.

At Tucson’s largest Episcopal church, St. Philip’s in the Hills, the creators of an alternative worship service called Come & See are bucking tradition by rewriting what have become prescribed ways of worship.

For the faithful, that means God isn’t referred to as “him,” and references to “the Lord” are rare.

“Lord” has become a loaded word conveying hierarchical power over things, “which in what we have recorded in our sacred texts, is not who Jesus understood himself to be,” St. Philip’s associate rector Susan Anderson-Smith said.

“The way our service reads, the theology is that God is love, period,” St. Philip’s deacon Thomas Lindell added. “Our service has done everything it can to get rid of power imagery. We do not pray as though we expect the big guy in the sky to come and fix everything.”


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Comments:

Jesus didn’t understand himself to have hierarchical power, eh?

Mk 13:24-27 [Jesus said] “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”

Well, that’s not exactly decision-by-committee.

[1] Posted by Phil on 04-23-2007 at 09:03 AM • top

Prayer of St. Philippa’s Church

Our Mentor, who may well be up there
We think your name is pretty cool
May what happens hereabouts become pretty much like what happens thereabouts if you feel like it
We are going to the store to buy some bread…

[2] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 04-23-2007 at 09:09 AM • top

I fail to see how God can be Creator of heaven and earth and not be all powerful.

[3] Posted by Jill Woodliff on 04-23-2007 at 09:16 AM • top

Don’t worry, Jill, the god being worshipped at this temple is neither Creator nor powerful.

[4] Posted by Phil on 04-23-2007 at 09:31 AM • top

‘“Lord” has become a loaded word conveying hierarchical power over things…’

This is too ridiculous…without hierarchy there is no order…
Our Lord taught us to pray:  Our FATHER…

Laus Deo

[5] Posted by ElaineF. on 04-23-2007 at 09:32 AM • top

This is old news.  Churches all over our Diocese are now routinely printing the Rite II service in the morning bulletin with “God” inserted for “him” to avoid any male imagery, as in the Sursum Corda, “It is right to give GOD thanks and praise.”  Moreover, in the authorized alternative/ supplemental service book Enriching Our Worship—already ten years old—a systematic effort was made to expunge use of LORD, in the prayers, on the basis that it is male and presumably patriarchal.  When I complained to my (now former) rector, he blew me off as a just a trouble maker.

[6] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 04-23-2007 at 09:41 AM • top

Have you ever noticed that the churches with the wackiest ideas are those that are led by women? Or is it just my perception. To me this is one more argument against WO. I have been, over the years in numerous Eastern Orthodox Churches and have never, even in the English portions of the Liturgy, hear such non-sense. No will I add will you ever hear such rubbish in one on the continuing Anglican Churches. Who says communion with Canterbury is what makes one an Anglican?

[7] Posted by FrRick on 04-23-2007 at 09:45 AM • top

Assuming they read lessons from Scripture at all, does anyone know what translation of the Bible they use?  Obviously, they use the ten commandments as deciphered in catechism of the ‘79 BCP (ten commandments and catechism intentionally in lower case here, to distinguish them from the real Ten Commandments and Catechism).  I note they refer to what they do as a “worship service” as opposed to a Eucharist or Holy Communion- have they gone so far as to dispense with Sacraments all together?  The deacon must be another holistic theologian:

We don’t stress the blood and gore of the crucifixion and the so-called sacrifice of the Mass

“so-called”??
From a parishoner (and should she read this, I do not mean to condemn her personally, but it seems clear to me that she is being misled).

A lot of people are turned off by traditional liturgy because it sounds like they have to literally believe these credal statements. I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

My feeling is that if you are writing a new liturgy based on whatever this new age religion is (in this case, I don’t even want to refer to this as Episcopal) why not do away with the Creed altogether if you don’t actually believe it- or at the very least, stop calling it the Creed if it isn’t.  Perhaps “optional statement of traditional beliefs as redefined in light of modern American social practices in Arizona” would be better, although granted a bit cumbersome.  And will somebody please direct the papers in Arizona to the local AAC or Network church, so they don’t have to quote a conservative Presbyterian minister as if there were no conservative Episcopalians/Anglicans left on the planet.

[8] Posted by tjmcmahon on 04-23-2007 at 09:53 AM • top

Fr. Rick -  As a woman I must say I agree with you…
We women have our gifts and talents these are sorely needed in the church;  but if I may generalize, women are less likely, as a rule, to uphold standards than men.  The feminist inroads we have observed in TEC have been less than helpful IMO.

[9] Posted by ElaineF. on 04-23-2007 at 09:57 AM • top

These folks think they are basing their worship on the statement:

God is love.

That is, big G and little l.
What they really worship is this:
<blockquote> Love is god. blockquote>
That is, big L and little g.
Can Love be an idol? you bet.

[10] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-23-2007 at 10:00 AM • top

blew the block quote. serves me right for trying to show off.

[11] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-23-2007 at 10:01 AM • top

Perhaps someone should send them a few copies of J.B. Phillips’ Your God Is Too Small with a bookmark on his chapter on Unreal Gods.

[12] Posted by paddy on 04-23-2007 at 10:13 AM • top

if I may generalize, women are less likely, as a rule, to uphold standards than men.  The feminist inroads we have observed in TEC have been less than helpful IMO.

Despite being opposed to the revisionism of women’s ordination, I need to take issue with this line of argument.

The fact that many priestess-led parishes are wackier is, IMHO, irrelevant to the WO debate.

First, the fact that some women many bend theological rules for the sake of being “nice” (or however you want to frame the dynamic) dosn’t mean that all are prone to do so. Just as the fact that some men might be drunkards or altarboy-fondlers doesn’t mean that all are. You can’t use the failings of part of the group to disqualify the whole group (though, of course, you can disqualify individuals based on those particular failings).

Second, part of this is the social dynamic. Realize that it’s only recently that WO has become the “norm” in PECUSA, especially now that all the promises of toleration for the “minority” position against it (i.e. that of Christian orthodoxy and nearly 2000 years of Christian teaching and practice) have been broken. This means that many of those women ordained in the early decades were, by nature, already radicals both socially and theologically… and, of course, more recently, most candidates from Episcopal seminaries have tended in that direction… why would any Bible-believing orthodox Christian seek ordination into an apostate “church”? (Wasn’t there a report about a decade ago about how, of the 11 women initially illegally ordained in the late 70s, only 1 was still a practicing Episciscopal priestess; a number of others had left the church, come out of the closet, and one even converted to Wicca?) Naturally, if, statistically, more of those women ordained have leaned in that direction, then, statistically, their parishes and ministry will reflect that bias—but because of the “selectivity” of which women happened to seek ordination in recent decades, not because of something intrinsic to the gender.

Finally, this is exactly the same kind of “experience” argument used by the pro-homosexual lobby. The “some priestess-led parishes are wacky therefore we shouldn’t ordain women” argument is, ultimately, the same as “Gene Robinson is a nice guy and has done some good social work and people like him, therefore he _should_ be ordained.”

.

No, the reason to reject WO is that it is contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture and the clear practice and teaching of Tradition. The Church does not have the _authority_ to ordain women, any more than she has the authority to marry two men or to dissolve a valid sacramental marriage.

That’s the crux of the matter—not the ideosyncracies of particular priestesses.


pax,
LP

[13] Posted by LP on 04-23-2007 at 10:15 AM • top

“No, the reason to reject WO is that it is contrary to the clear
teaching of
Scripture and the clear practice and teaching of Tradition. The Church
does
not have the _authority_ to ordain women, any more than she has the
authority to marry two men or to dissolve a valid sacramental marriage.
That’s the crux of the matter—not the ideosyncracies of particular
priestesses.”
You will get no disagreement from me on this, LP. 
I was not speaking merely of of “ideosyncracies of particular priestesses,” I was speaking of women in general.
Speaking personally, I believe that priests are Icons of Christ, so that rules out WO for me.
Laus Deo

[14] Posted by ElaineF. on 04-23-2007 at 10:31 AM • top

“I’m a great advocate of change, but not just for change’s sake,” said Chilcott, 78. “A lot of people are turned off by traditional liturgy because it sounds like they have to literally believe these credal statements. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Faith is very personal.”

Yes, I personally believe you are a loon. Ipso Facto

[15] Posted by wooly on 04-23-2007 at 10:45 AM • top

St. Philippa’s
—-and lead us not into loonyness—-

[16] Posted by Pageantmaster ن on 04-23-2007 at 10:59 AM • top

If Jesus is not Lord of their lives, then who or what is their Lord?
Cause make no mistake even if they never, ever utter the dreaded L word, they are servants and not masters. They show by their mutterings that they are servants of inflated egos. They serve petty academics that mistake elitism for wisdom. They serve the petulant children of modernism. They serve pride, envy, sloth and all the other deadly sins. They serve the parasites that feed off those sins.

And they think it is bad to have one Lord. Why they have so many lords court can only be held in the vast landscape of their own minds. No wonder so many of them drift into Pantheism- all those lords need elbow room.

As for me I am quite content to serve the one Lord and to submit fully to His rule. Him only shall I worship. So skip to the tune of damnation, I will stay right here and dance with the Triune God. The Lord and giver of life.

[17] Posted by Paula Loughlin on 04-23-2007 at 11:23 AM • top

To FrRick and those of you who are castigating women priests and women’s ordination, keep in mind that it was and is the male dominated HOB that has allowed the theology of the church to be perverted; it is MEN like Spong, Crossan etc. who have promoted this so-called new theology; and many male priests preach it.  And there are orthodox female priests (we happen to have one at our parish).  I believe these gross generalizations about women are inappropriate. I happen to believe in the ordination of women.  Not all who are unhappy with TEC’s abandoning of orthodox Christianity want to do away with WO.

[18] Posted by cassie on 04-23-2007 at 11:37 AM • top

Faith is very personal.

Translation from Episcobabble into English:

Everybody is doing their own thing

[19] Posted by Piedmont on 04-23-2007 at 11:41 AM • top

The rectors of St. Philips and Grace-St. Paul’s are both men.  Their propogation of this false gospel is a scandal and the fact they are not disciplined by the bishop is a scandal.  Both men are “highly respected” and have been honored in the Diocese of Arizona.  Though I am under alternative oversight, I am still appalled at what goes on in this diocese.  Ken Semon

[20] Posted by Ken Semon on 04-23-2007 at 11:47 AM • top

Thanks, Paula L and rbz.  This language issue—as we pray, so we believe—is a current problem in TEC, and one not acknowledged by many folks in the pew.  I think we need to focus on that, and not the older WO issues.

[21] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 04-23-2007 at 12:07 PM • top

“Not all who are unhappy with TEC’s abandoning of orthodox Christianity want to do away with WO.”

Say rather, “Not all who are unhappy with TEC’s abandoning of orthodox Christianity want to embrace orthodox Christianity”—

which, by some strange coincidence, reminds me of a wonderful passage in a favorite old book of mine (bedtime reading for me for several months in 1982-83), *The Unbloody Sacrifice and Altar Unvailed and Supported, in which the nature of the Eucharist is explained according to the sentiments of the Christian Church in the first four centuries* by John Johnson, M.A., Rector of Cranbrooke in the County of Kent (1718)—a book of delightful theological eccentricity as well as redolent of glorious Augustan English prose, and not least when it comes to invective, as in this passage of his reply to one Dr. Thomas Wise, whom accused him of teaching “a doctrine more absurd than Transubstantiation:”

“They, who indulge themselves in the most unchristian and diabolical practice of accusing their brethren of a crime so very black and flagrant, should take special care so to contrive their calumnies, that they may at least be consistent and hang together; for those slanders, that confute themselves (which is the present case), do at once absolve the party accused, and convict the delator of forgery and nonsense both in one.  We know the devil to be the common father of lies, especially such as are malicious; but, in the case now before us, I can see none of the craft or subtlety of the old serpent; the Doctor, in contriving this calumny, was left, I charitably believe, to his own natural invention.  I cannot say, the Doctor has the innocence of the dove, nor yet can I allow him the cunning of the serpent; he abounds with gall, but he wants the sting.”  (Vol. II, p. 331)

[22] Posted by William Tighe on 04-23-2007 at 12:22 PM • top

I believe the rejection of the title “Lord” also a reflection of our society’s manic rejection of any kind of deference or hierarchy.  I suppose it was inevitable that when we put away all forms of deference, that one day the One to whom all deference is owed would be demoted. 
Also I suppose the word “lord” smacks of knights and chivalry and medieval times, and that isn’t all about love and tolerance daisies and puppies, so the word is badspeak itself.  And I mean, we know now that God is Love, not holy, holy, holy, nor anything else.

[23] Posted by Rick Killough on 04-23-2007 at 12:24 PM • top

I think that the one place where the title _Lord_ is overplayed (especially in the Coverdale psalms) is in its extensive use to replace YHWH, the personal name of God. By following this tradition we have bought into an early Judaic superstition about uttering God’s Name, when the clear intent of the Psalms is to appeal to our God by his personal name uttered aloud. Dropping this superstitious practice would have the effect of more closely identifying who it is that is actually Lord. I promote this idea in spite of the fact that I suspect that YHWH as a word is masculine in gender.

[24] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-23-2007 at 12:40 PM • top

This situation, and so many others around the country, remind me of this story from John’s gospel:

  JN 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. 60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
  61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

It is easy to reject Christ because of his hard teachings.  But Episcopalians have another answer - just expunge the ickky stuff and continue on in comfortable delusion, and death.  I also think of the rich young ruler who could not accept Jesus’ admonition, and went away sadly, to his doom.  You leave out all the “gore” of the Passion, at the cost of your life.

This “new” gospel is the “Love Story” gospel, where love means never having to say you’re sorry.  And “I’m OK, you’re OK.”  And “if it feels good, do it.”  And, “imagine there’s no heaven…”  All the way to oblivion.

Love costs everything.

[25] Posted by Cindy T. in TX on 04-23-2007 at 12:48 PM • top

A number of percentage of women that entered seminaries upon the ordination of women in the US were activists in general (although many were not and are good solid, orthodox Christians. )

But the post above implies that woman in general are less likely to honor the plumb line.  I would suggest history tells us the opposite. It was largely men that got the Episcopal Church in the mess it was in.

[26] Posted by Going Home on 04-23-2007 at 12:50 PM • top

Brer Rabbit, isn’t the purpose of using the word “Lord” to act as a continual reminder of our place with regard to Him and offer Him some measure of respect?  As a form of direct address, I believe it is valuable.  I agree with you as to the third person usage for sure.  If his name is not used in vain, then there does not appear to be any prohibition on using it.

[27] Posted by Rick Killough on 04-23-2007 at 12:51 PM • top

“By following this tradition we have bought into an early Judaic superstition about uttering God’s Name ...”

A “superstition” which Our Lord seems unhesitatingly to have followed, as did all Christians, until the last generation or two.  Christians have two divine names to use, “Father” and “Jesus.”  These come to us on very good, indeed divine, authority, and we need not grope about to find the right vowels for the Tetragrammaton, like the absurdly-named “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”  “He who has seen me has seen the Father” such that we need not try to gaze into the burning bush to see whether the Speaker was God generally or the pre-Incarnate Logos.  It shows a lot to equate “tradition” with “superstition” and “superstition” with “what I don’t like (or understand),” and it is amusing that just as the Catholic Church is ridding itself of the absurd bandying about of an anachronistic hypothetical divine name by every Jack and Jill lector, others want to take it up.

[28] Posted by William Tighe on 04-23-2007 at 12:58 PM • top

There’s a good explanation of this in the BCP, p. 583:

Three terms are used in the Psalms with reference to God: Elobim (“God”), Adonai (“Lord”) and the personal name YHWH. The “Four letter Name” (Tetragrammaton) is probably to be vocalized Yahweh; but this is by no means certain, because from very ancient times it has been considered too sacred to be pronounced; and, whenever it occurred, Adonai was substituted for it. In the oldest manuscripts, the Divine Name was written in antique and obsolete letters; in more recent manuscripts and in printed Bibles, after the invention of vowel points, Name was provided with the vowels of the word Adonai. This produced a hybrid form which has been transliterated “Jehovah.”

The Hebrew reverence and reticence with regard to the Name of God has been carried over into the classical English versions, the Prayer Book Psalter and the King James Old Testament, where it is regularly render “Lord”. In order to distinguish it, however, from “Lord” as a translatio of Adonai, YHWH is represented in capital and small capital letters: LORD.

From time to time, the Hebrew text has Adonai and YHWH in conjunction. Then, the Hebrew custom is to substitute Elohim for YHWH, and our English tradition follows suit, rendering the combine title as “Lord GOD.”

[29] Posted by FrJake on 04-23-2007 at 01:35 PM • top

Fr. Jake, that’s an interesting explanation; unfortunately, it’s not the one advanced by those quoted in the article.  Their rationale seems to be a little more secular.

[30] Posted by Phil on 04-23-2007 at 01:51 PM • top

Phil,

Yes, I realize that.  I was actually responding to the “superstition” comments.

The Baptismal Covenant includes proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  I don’t see any way to get around that.  And personally, I’d not support any move to do so, unless there was a better word offered that carried the weight of our call to obedience.

I don’t like the word, on a personal level, because I’m a Yank, and don’t trust anything that smells of the aristocracy.  But such a bias does not justify rewriting the tradition, it seems to me.

[31] Posted by FrJake on 04-23-2007 at 01:56 PM • top

Also Fr. Jake, scripture only gives one name for God, Exo. 3:14, the rest are merely words to describe the different aspects of God. Accept YHVH which was used in place of the forbidden name

[32] Posted by Marlin on 04-23-2007 at 02:01 PM • top

IMHO-Those that use the quote “God is love” to support their silliness
would have it seem an equation.  God is Love, ergo, Love is God.
Bad logic, that.

[33] Posted by Old Soldier on 04-23-2007 at 02:29 PM • top

LP wrote:

‘The fact that many priestess-led parishes are wackier is, IMHO, irrelevant to the WO debate.’


As in most things, I agree with you almost completely, Dr L.  But I’d say, as a matter of practice and persuasion (rightly distinguished from core doctrinal reasoning), the wackiness of women-led parishes retains a good deal of value.  Like many, I find it useful to recalibrate my theological conclusions with reality by observing the fruits of the trees that are under consideration.  (I am not without Biblical warrant in so doing, am I?)  Psalm xxxvii, it seems to me, counsels the appropriate approach:  while it centrally warns against over-hasty heterodox conclusions based on one’s observation of the apparent impunity of the wicked, it also exhorts the listener to a long-term observation of how things end up for the wicked over time.  That observation, I think, is not meant to be merely academic, but to have the effect of confirming the faith that the Psalmist assumes was there ab initio.

[34] Posted by Africanised Anglican on 04-23-2007 at 02:45 PM • top

.

  such a bias does not justify rewriting the tradition

Thank you all for the vigorous defense of the substitution of the Tetragrammaton with the word Lord (in small caps).  I was never quite satisfied with an explanation which relied solely on a traceability to Jewish tradition, where they feared uttering the divine name so much that they had to tie a rope around the waist of the High Priest when he entered the Holy of Holies lest he be struck dead when he uttered it as he was required to do.

I still contend that the Hebrew Psalms, as originally composed, were composed with the intent that the pray-ers of these psalms would call out aloud to God using His personal name, which (among other designations) served to distinguish Him from all the other ‘gods’ worshipped by the peoples around them.

But I agree with Fr. Jake (somebody mark this down) that my personal bias toward uttering YHVH as a more personal approach to God does not justify rewriting of the tradition; and in leading Morning Prayer for the last 8 months I have faithfully followed the Coverdale psalms in their use of “Lord”, making sure that the small caps typography is evident in the daily morning handout, distinguishing it from its use for “Lord” in its literal meaning.

And it is true that Jesus has given us a more personal approach to God, through uttering the word “Abba”, a word for which a translation into the English “Father” does little justice.

[35] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-23-2007 at 02:49 PM • top

Eternity is at stake for those seeking salvation and their “new” interpretation of what Christianity was meant to be it is not a valid substitute for the faith once delivered.
Note to Bp. Smith of AZ:
You are called and assented to:  be one with the apostles in proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel, and to testify to Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and King of kings.
You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the Church;....
...Your heritage is the faith of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and those of every generation who have looked to God in hope…

You promised ” to guide and strengthen the deacons and all others who minister in the Church”.

You are free to choose the path you walk and name it what you want; but you are not free to substitute new meanings for words that have been defined for centuries and understood by all to mean prescribed things.  You are not free to call yourself Christian and allow those under your authority to deny that Christ is Lord of lords and King of kings.  You made that vow before God and those gathered at your ordination.  If you want to choose a new path, give it a new name.  It is no longer Christianity simply because you and others who have strayed say so.

[36] Posted by wportbello on 04-23-2007 at 03:02 PM • top

Just a thought…if they stop looking for God’s work in the world, how will they ever see it? If they don’t see God is working in the world, how will they believe he has? If they don’t believe God is working in the world, why come to Church?

I look to my cat, and say “do what you are going to do, I have no expectations” and we get along great. Surely it cannot be the same with God.

Yours in Christ,
jacob

[37] Posted by Jacobsladder on 04-23-2007 at 03:19 PM • top

“but if I may generalize, women are less likely, as a rule, to uphold standards than men.”

Seriously?  That statement makes no sense, and is not based in reality.  If men are supposedly the only ones who uphold standards, then why on earth are the majority of violent crimes committed by men?  Why on earth are the majority of slaves bought and sold by men?  I am NOT trying to bash men, but address a generalization that has no basis in observable reality.

I for one, and I am sure many of the other women who post here, am appalled by heresy.  I have stood against that since I was first confronted with it in college and will continue to do so.  The women along with the men that I know who are genuine believers, would do the same.

[38] Posted by Pat Kashtock on 04-23-2007 at 04:06 PM • top

I see the removal of masculine pronouns (He, His, Him) and functional nouns (Lord, Father, etc.) as ways of de-personalizing God.  The use of non-personal images for God tend to let us see God as more of a force than a person.  e.g. God is The Rock.  God is our Refuge.  God has God’s way, not God has His way.  God is no longer personal.

If God is no longer personal, then there really isn’t judgment or righteousness (right relationship with God) as you can’t be judged by a force or a rock or a refuge.  You can only be judged by a person.  Likewise, you can’t have a relationship with a rock or a refuge or a force.  You can only have a relationship with a person.

I don’t mind using biblical language for God as our Rock or our Refuge at times when it is appropriate.  I do object to the banishment of masculine image or functional, personal imagery for God.

Our God is “I AM” or “I am that I am” or “I am that which causes to be.”  He is the only one who can say “I am” in and of Himself.  We are all able to say “I am” only because God is “I AM.”

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[39] Posted by Philip Snyder on 04-23-2007 at 04:09 PM • top

Phil—I so agree with you!  He is THE Lord, and there is no other.  To try and make as though He were any less, is…man, I don’t have a word for that.  The fact that He is Lord, is a joy and a comfort beyond words.  I really like how you put it.

His peace,
Pat

[40] Posted by Pat Kashtock on 04-23-2007 at 04:28 PM • top

By refusing to use His proper title, you are bringing God down to your own level. I don’t want a God who is my equal. I want a God who demands my respect because of His power and authority. If there is no authority, then grace and mercy lose their significance.

Of course, acknowledging God for who He is places demands on me and my behavior. Remove His authority and you can do what you want.

Credo.

[41] Posted by Credo on 04-23-2007 at 08:33 PM • top

Yes, men are responsible for most violent crime and men were the predominate slave traders (as well as the majority of the business leaders, missionaries and Presidents), due primarily to our history and societal situation (patriarchal, if you will).  It is also true that women, in general (and IMHO) are more apt to reconciliation and conflict avoidance - and thank God for that.  It should also be noted that only the rare male is truly up to the job of Christain leadership - which requires confrontation and conflict in any fallen society and perhaps particularly in ours.  As such, it is more likely that a female leader (Rector or Bishop) will be more likely to compromise and look for a middle way in order to ‘love’ all and avoid making any see themselves as the goats.  Sadly, when led by errant leadership this is even more pronounced. 
Do not read this as a dis’ to women - as they are clearly the fairer sex and without whom, life would be intolerable.  In fact, most of the important work in society is better done by women.  However, I believe that Rector/Bishop is not one of those.  And I think St. Paul and thousands of years of Tradition agree.

And whatever you do - don’t tell my wife I wrote this ...

[42] Posted by Wilkie on 04-23-2007 at 08:56 PM • top

What does it do to your belief in an all-powerful, vengeful God, the sole Sovereign in the universe—when others do not share your vision of the Deity?  If another experiences the God in their Bible not as a dominant Alpha Male figure, but as a gender-neutral force?
I sense anger bubbling not too far under the surface in some of these replies.  But if your authoritarian God doesn’t strike down those who commit lese majestie—why should you?
The belief that the ability to correctly name something gave the speaker power is found in many cultures throughout history—it didn’t originate in Palestine.  But it did take on particular impact in the Judeo Christian tradition—note the belief that speaking the name of the devil or of a daemon would cause either to be aware of you and to perhaps curse you—but if you knew the daemon’s true name, you could command it to do your bidding.  How is it that a vestige of this belief seems to operate here over the question of how one addresses the Deity?  Is prayer for specific effects a form of bidding?

[43] Posted by taomikael on 04-23-2007 at 09:06 PM • top
[44] Posted by BabyBlue on 04-23-2007 at 09:40 PM • top

taomikael,

What you worship has no impact on Whom I worship.  What you feel as god has no impact on who or what God is.

As human beings, we were designed to worship something or someone.  The greatest evil in the world has been done, not by crazy Christians or even crazy followers of Islam.  More evil has been done by those who desire to worship “the god within” or no god.  Paganism and Athiesm have cause more deaths and done greater harm to civilization that all the Christian and Islamic fundamentalists combined.

I don’t know what you worship, but if it is not personal, then it is not the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob nor is it the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God has revealed Himself to us and that revelation is recorded in Holy Scriptures.  Using the Scriptural and Traditional names for God help us to not worship “the god within” or ourselves.  Something I have noticed about those who do not worship God using the revealed language about Him is that they often attribute to God their own prejudices and hates and loves and desires.  The god they worship looks more and more like themselves or like some amophous “force” that doesn’t have any standards of behavior beyond what they think the standards are.  Thus “God is Love” or “God is Inclusive” or “God is Inclusive Love” becomes their mantra.  They forget that God is Holy Other and wholly Other.  They forget that God is Judge as well as Savior.  They forget that God is Community and wills us to join in the dance of the Holy Trinity through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I am not threatened by your image of some force that you worship.  I am afraid that what you worship will look more and more like yourself than having yourself conformed more and more into the Image of God.

YBIC,
Phil Snyder

[45] Posted by Philip Snyder on 04-23-2007 at 10:02 PM • top

Mr. Snyder,

“As human beings, we were designed to worship something or someone.”


Yes, the neuroscientists seem to be finding more and more that religious belief is a matter of hardwiring in the brain for many.

The greatest evil in the world has been done, not by crazy Christians or even crazy followers of Islam.  More evil has been done by those who desire to worship “the god within” or no god.


Yes, it’s terribly clear from even a cursory glance at history that virtually all unpleasantness or ugly deeds throughout all time and place have been done exclusively by those who do not worship the Judeo-Christian or Islamic deity.  All historians report this fact in great detail, beyond any chance of doubt or question.
I enjoyed your post; it’s seldom that the irony meter overloads to such a degree while remaining completely unnoticed.  But there is just one point that ought to be corrected, if only for accuracy’s sake.  Since I’m so clearly one of “those people” in your view, you shouldn’t use your automatic tag line in concluding a post addressed to me—unless the the intent was to insult?

[46] Posted by taomikael on 04-23-2007 at 11:37 PM • top

Mr. taomikael,

No anger “bubbling up” here, but…

What would be your take regarding a diety that destroys most of the world, and most of the life on it, with floodwaters?

[47] Posted by J Eppinga on 04-24-2007 at 01:19 AM • top

So who or what are they worshipping?

[48] Posted by Apollos on 04-24-2007 at 01:43 AM • top

Back on topic:

From today’s lectionary reading (1 John 4:7-21)

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

This Arizona congregation appears to want to throw out most of the Bible, which contains the offending word “Lord”; but they can safely keep 1 John, which does not contain the offending word. However, have they considered John 1:15?

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Oh dear. There’s the word “Father.” Guess they’ll have to throw 1 John into the dustbin also. But then how can they keep “God is love?”

[49] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-24-2007 at 07:03 AM • top

Grasshopper,
The word “priestess” is descriptive and accurate. To ban its use, IMHO is to indulge in deception. It is not slang. The attempt to maintain that there is no difference between men and women is the root of the problem. We are not interchangeable - C.S. Lewis was right, it ends us up in a different religion. I’m not going, thank you very much.

[50] Posted by Fr. Christopher Cantrell+ on 04-24-2007 at 07:30 AM • top

Well said Grasshopper. Priestess is not neutral in the same way as ‘actress’, or ‘seamstress’, but has connotations of paganism, witchcraft in a way that ‘women priests’ doesn’t (as those who use it are aware). Common courtesy would demand that we refrain form refering ot others in terms they find offensive, and I have yet to meet an ordained women who would object to ‘women priests’ (unless of course they reject the notion of ministerial priesthood completely and see themselves as presbyters) or who would accept the moniker ‘priestess’.

[51] Posted by Anselmic on 04-24-2007 at 07:52 AM • top

Fr. Jake,

Psalm 136 is interesting in that: 
V. 1 mentions giving praise (thanks) to YHWH “for (he is) good,  for to the end of time (is) his goodness (mercy)”

Verse 2 refers to giving praise (thanks) to ELOHIM (plural construct—ELOHAY) for He is good, etc. 

Verse 3 refers to giving praise to LORD (plural construct—ADONAY…) 

and v. 26, the last verse, refers to giving praise to a generic GOD (EL) (plural construct—ALE) described as “of the heavens.”

Since the saving history performed by a singular entity is sandwiched between v 3 and v. 26, it is reasonable to suggest the several names refer to the same “god.”

[52] Posted by Sparky on 04-24-2007 at 07:56 AM • top

I, of course, agree with Fr. Cantrell, and never, ever, use any other word than “priestess”—although at Titusonenine I now use “p*****ess” or “p*******s” to “respond” to those who flip out over the use of the word.

[53] Posted by William Tighe on 04-24-2007 at 08:12 AM • top

Well said, Sparky.

What you point out goes to the heart of my bias against the use of “Lord” for YHVH in that it obscures the original meaning of Scripture.

[54] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-24-2007 at 08:43 AM • top

And the “P word” is not slang.  It is an epithet no less ugly than the “N,” “K,” or “F” insults.  It is word that is designed to disparage women priests, equating them with Wiccans, an error and discourtesy that all charitable followers of Christ VOLUNTARILY reject.

But the “N,” “K,” and “F” words are slang; whereas any study of ancient religion will regularly encounter “priestess,” whether in English, Greek, Latin, or whatever (provided the language employs gender distinctions).

Equated with Wiccans?  No, but certainly equated with paganism, where one finds priestesses all over the place.  That is why “Lord” is distinctive; ancient Israel (and the Christian church) not only used a male term, but in contradistinction to other surrounding religions, did not give Him a consort—-and Christ did not give His church priestesses.

I usually use ‘women “priests,” since the scare quotes do not seem to evoke same knee-jerk hostility as ‘priestess’ and thereby short-circuit discussion.  But the term is perfectly reasonable, if you believe (as I do) that there can be no women “priests” in the church of Christ.

[55] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 08:45 AM • top

“And dear I’d Rather Not Say, do you seriously think it is any less of an insult to equate an orthodox priest with a pagan than with a Wiccan?”

Perhaps not, but since by definition she is, and cannot be, an “orthodox priest,” I have made no such equation.

[56] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 09:25 AM • top

“And dear I’d Rather Not Say, do you seriously think it is any less of an insult to equate an orthodox priest with a pagan than with a Wiccan?”

Would you prefer ‘gnostic’?

[57] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 09:29 AM • top

Mr. Moot,

What would be your take regarding a diety that destroys most of the world, and most of the life on it, with floodwaters?


Its priesthood has an effective propaganda machine.
-

[58] Posted by taomikael on 04-24-2007 at 09:49 AM • top

Wow!  “The ‘p-word’” yet!  This really struck a nerve!  I wonder why?  Let’s see, from “connotations of paganism, witchcraft” to creepy women-liturgies and Gaia-worship - maybe it’s a guilty conscience lashing out at the abrupt ripping away of the veil of respectability so carefully constructed over the years.  And as for the “common courtesy” of always allowing other people to pick out the most flattering term for themselves, I go by a statement of Jean-Francois Revel:  “A garbageman would smell the same, though we passed a law requiring everyone to call him Philosopher King.”

[59] Posted by Dr. Mabuse on 04-24-2007 at 09:57 AM • top

Grasshopper and Anselmic,

As I’ve said before, I don’t share the theology of Anglo-Catholics, and although I do believe that women’s ordination is opposed to scripture’s teaching, I think it adiaphora.

Certainly, most Anglo-Catholics and most evangelicals are capable of speaking about the issue without using words in an attempt to offend others.  Some are not capable of it—and might I add, some are very childish, and simply enjoy seeing if they can strike a nerve.  In other words, they are small, petty, and spiteful, much like a larger child that enjoys burning wings off of ladybugs with magnifying glasses in the presence of smaller children who do not wish it.

May I suggest that when you encounter the “priestess” word, that you treat it rather like Griswold using the word “fundamentalist” to refer to those Episcopalians who believe in a literal resurrection.  His only reason in doing that is in order to 1) appeal to a certain niche audience that will rally to the word in a jingoistic sense, and 2) secondarily to offer a little tweak to his “enemies of thought”. . . . Simply that you smile, offer a little internal “wink”, and move on, giving the same credence to their arguments as to their rhetoric, which is essentially nill?

That’s what I do!  ; > )

May I also suggest that whatever level of rage or irritation that they wish to inspire in their enemies of thought, is the precise level of rage or irritation that they themselves feel in their own hearts.  That really helps . . . to understand their own motivations and to recognize just how much anger they wish to inspire in others.

Again, as I’ve said over the years regarding Episcopal revisionists, for example, or Marxists, or terrorists, or Che Guevera, or pro-abortionists, or Kyoto protocol supporters, or whatever —in order to respect their labels or names or rhetoric, one needs to be able to respect their processes of thought, their character, their foundational worldviews, and on and on.

To respect the label, one must respect the thought of the labeller.

But . . . once one acknowledges that one does not respect the thought of the labeller, then all respect for the actual labels themselves fly out the window.

When a progressive activist calls us all unloving homophobes, I am reduced to gales of laughter, as much as if he or she called us pink elephants.  When Osama Bin Laden calls someone a terrorist, I giggle.  When Stalin calls someone a murderous thug [from the grave, of course], all of us roll our eyes.  When Griswold says that we need to all be Sufi Rumis together, the words are essentially meaningless, nothing more “than a series of hoots and clicks” to us.

I recognize that, given the stark polarities between worldviews, what we are essentially speaking about is the breakdown in language.  What one person says—of strikingly different foundational worldview—often means, in fact, the opposite to those of another foundational worldview.

So when someone uses the priestess word all of the above thoughts apply . . . and I respond in the same way as I do to Griswold’s use of the word fundamentalists.  The most I think about it is the amount of time that I just spent writing these thoughts down . . . which is not much at all.  ; > )

[60] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 10:25 AM • top

Hey! Let’s not pick on our Sanitary Engineers!

[61] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-24-2007 at 10:27 AM • top

Tao asks,

What does it do to your belief in an all-powerful, vengeful God, the sole Sovereign in the universe—when others do not share your vision of the Deity?  If another experiences the God in their Bible not as a dominant Alpha Male figure, but as a gender-neutral force?

In answer to the first question, what others may believe has no effect whatsoever on my own faith, but keeps before my eyes the necessity for evangelical effort.

In answer to the second question, the presupposition that the only alternatives are the cartoon-stereotype Alpha Male and some vague gender-neutral force, while extremely revealing of the questioner’s world view, does not affect the answer in the slightest.

[62] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 04-24-2007 at 10:35 AM • top

I’d Rather Not Say - ‘Would you prefer Gnostic?’ - No, I think Christian with a different view regarding the validity and appropriateness of women priests would do just fine.

Dr Mabuse - ‘This really struck a nerve!  I wonder why? Oh, I think you know; language used to belittle those with whom you disagree usually does ‘strike a nerve’. And I would not have thought that anyone who seeks to love their neighbour as themself would find common courtesy too hard a burden. I’m sure you have lots of good arguments against women priests, no-ones asking you to flatter them, or even accept the validity of their ordination, just don’t call them names.

[63] Posted by Anselmic on 04-24-2007 at 10:37 AM • top

As I’ve said before, I don’t share the theology of Anglo-Catholics, and although I do believe that women’s ordination is opposed to scripture’s teaching, I think it adiaphora.

I’m confused. You’ve said, in essence, it’s opposed to Scripture but that doesn’t matter.

Um, what?! Isn’t this just what the revisionists all say about approving homosexual activity, or denying Christ’s resurrection and uniqueness and divinity? Etc.

On precisely what basis do you decide what parts of (and let’s be specific) the New Testament are “adiaphora” and what parts are non-negotiable? And what makes your particular cut-and-pasting any more authoritative or normative than the apostates’ cut-and-pasting?

pax,
LP

[64] Posted by LP on 04-24-2007 at 10:42 AM • top

RE: “Um, what?! Isn’t this just what the revisionists all say about approving homosexual activity, or denying Christ’s resurrection and uniqueness and divinity? Etc.  On precisely what basis do you decide what parts of (and let’s be specific) the New Testament are “adiaphora” and what parts are non-negotiable? And what makes your particular cut-and-pasting any more authoritative or normative than the apostates’ cut-and-pasting?”

Sorry, LP, but that question was already extensively answered for you and others on other threads . . .

In brief [and as others on this thread know] I think *lots* of things that Christians do and believe are in violation of scripture.  So then, the question arises for all Christians—which violations are acceptable to remain in communion with those who countenance them, and which not.

All on this thread have decided one way or the other about each one of their fellow Christians.  I—being a part of the Anglican Communion—follow the Anglican Communion in its clearly stated judgement concerning WO.

LP and others do not.

And that’s fine—it’s not really a concern of mine as to whether they support or don’t support my views or those of other members of the AC.

[65] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 10:48 AM • top

May I suggest that when you encounter the “priestess” word, that you treat it rather like Griswold using the word “fundamentalist” to refer to those Episcopalians who believe in a literal resurrection.  His only reason in doing that is in order to 1) appeal to a certain niche audience that will rally to the word in a jingoistic sense, and 2) secondarily to offer a little tweak to his “enemies of thought”. . . . Simply that you smile, offer a little internal “wink”, and move on, giving the same credence to their arguments as to their rhetoric, which is essentially nill?

Sarah, with all due respect, may I suggest that your comments are more than a little condescending?  Particularly your suggestion that our arguments be treated with a “wink” since they are “nill”?

So when someone uses the priestess word all of the above thoughts apply . . . and I respond in the same way as I do to Griswold’s use of the word fundamentalists.  The most I think about it is the amount of time that I just spent writing these thoughts down . . . which is not much at all.

As I wrote above, I usually write ‘women “priests”’ as the most neutral way I know how to at once use a descriptive term while yet registering that I do not believe they exist.  However, “priestess” remains perfectly valid for all of the reasons given thus far in this thread.  I am sorry that you do not see fit to engage in argument, but are content to airily dismiss with a “wink” the beliefs of those who use a neutral and descriptive dictionary term whose meaning they neither created nor altered in the manner of Frank Griswold and ‘fundamentalism’.

[66] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 10:56 AM • top

To this respectful outside brother,the WO issue seems a bit out of place when the much,MUCH larger issue of heresy and apostasy is the initial subject matter of the thread.That’s not to relegate it to inconsequential subject matter just not as pivotal in this instance,especially when there is an open denial of the historic credal and Biblical affirmation of the Person of God.

[67] Posted by paddy on 04-24-2007 at 11:00 AM • top

What’s more, ‘priestess’ is not some neologism like ‘homophobe’ that opponents of the “ordination” of women use to tar or bait their opponents—-at least I don’t.  There is a fairly serious question of language and truth here, and as C. S. Lewis once wrote, whenever someone tells you how to write, at bottom they are really telling you what to write.

[68] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 11:00 AM • top

It’s fascinating to reflect on why the term “priestess” is so objectionable—after all, pagan priests are at least as common in history as pagan priestesses; why should the words not simply be gender-specific variants, which are common in English—duke/dutchess, actor/actress, waiter/waitress, shepherd/shepherdess, barman/barmaid, and so on?

The answer, of course, is that while the term “priest” has been used in the church for two thousand years (indeed nearly three thousand, counting our Judaic roots), “priestess” has for the same period referred exclusively to pagans.  Why?  Because the ordination of women is an extreme novelty in the Church, and the term “priestess” underlines that novelty.  Is it the reminder of the novelty, really, that offends?

Perhaps the very connotation of the word is telling us something important…

[69] Posted by Craig Goodrich on 04-24-2007 at 11:01 AM • top

</blockquote>Its priesthood has an effective propaganda machine. </blockquote>

I’m confused .. What is the antecedent of ‘It’ ? 
a) A supreme being ;
b) A demigod, or ;
c) A myth propogated by a cult?

Thanks

[70] Posted by J Eppinga on 04-24-2007 at 11:10 AM • top

And let’s not let the linguistic herring deflect the theological question I posed earlier.  If maleness was not an essential part of our Lord’s saving sacrifice, why is it that some will claim that women priests cannot serve as icons of Christ, just way that male priests do?

Grasshopper, that is exactly my point, the one that Sarah apparently wishes to dismiss with a “wink.”  How easy to state an argument, then accuse others who use terms that contain a counter-argument of merely engaging in emotive baiting and childishness!

I take your argument seriously, i.e., I believe that you have risen to the dignity of error.  If you wish to actually engage in a counter-argument, then I would send you here or (if you want the full treatment) here.  It’s up to you.  But accusing your opponents of the very hyper-emotionalism that you are displaying, followed by airy dismissal, is no way to encourage reasoned debate.

[71] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 11:18 AM • top

Grasshopper wrote,

“Why don’t you give charity and “woman priest” a try?  It’s much less work than having to search out the asterisk key on your keyboard and count out the letters to substitute.” 

Thanks, but no thanks; and I won’t try “same-sex partnership” for “sanctified sodomy” either.

Anselmic wrote,

“I’d Rather Not Say - ‘Would you prefer Gnostic?’ - No, I think Christian with a different view regarding the validity and appropriateness of women priests would do just fine.”

The word “Gnostic” is much easier to write, and since you seem to be multiplying words to make a distinction without a difference, this hound won’t hunt.  However (and I’m sure IRNS will agree with me), since repetition is tedious, from time to time we might substitute “Marcionite” or “Collyridian” for “Gnostic” since those herretical sects, like the Gnostics, also had priestesses (cf. Epiphanius’s “Panarion”).

And Sarah wrote,

“May I also suggest that whatever level of rage or irritation that they wish to inspire in their enemies of thought, is the precise level of rage or irritation that they themselves feel in their own hearts.  That really helps . . . to understand their own motivations and to recognize just how much anger they wish to inspire in others.”

Good try, but no cigar; and your psychologizing (itself a form of Gnostic reductionism) would apply just as much to someone like St. Athanasius (Sancte Pater Athanasii, ora pro nobis!) who refused to term his Arian opponents anything other than “Ariomaniacs” and whose example I strive, in my halting way, to emulate.  But at least I draw the line somewhere and realize that I am incapable of imitating the style and idiom of Martin Luther.

[72] Posted by William Tighe on 04-24-2007 at 11:22 AM • top

Craig Goodrich said:

The answer, of course, is that while the term “priest” has been used in the church for two thousand years (indeed nearly three thousand, counting our Judaic roots), “priestess” has for the same period referred exclusively to pagans.  Why?  Because the ordination of women is an extreme novelty in the Church, and the term “priestess” underlines that novelty.  Is it the reminder of the novelty, really, that offends?

I have to agree with this. In the vast history of the Jewish and Christian religions woman’s ordination is just a modern occurrence. The term priestess then would be most appropriate. However regardless of the semantics, I still don’t hold with WO because of the amount of the bad effects it has had on the church as compared to the good.

[73] Posted by Marlin on 04-24-2007 at 11:38 AM • top

POSTSCRIPT

If the Sarah who posted comment #3 here

http://titusonenine.classicalanglican.net/?p=19003#comments

in response to my #1 is the Sarah Hey (as the style suggests) then, all sparring apart, gratias tibi ago.

[74] Posted by William Tighe on 04-24-2007 at 11:44 AM • top

RE: “Sarah, with all due respect, may I suggest that your comments are more than a little condescending?”

Well, if you mean by the word “condescending” the overt disdain that I hold for the rhetoric of “priestess” than you would be correct.  But I had actually always thought that condescending was a *hidden* supercilious disdain, and I had imagined that my disdain was so open and blatant that it would reach a level beyond that of “condescension”.

I’ll say it again.  I do not read, comment on, reflect upon, nor give a flying fig for the arguments of those who use rhetoric in that manner.  Especially as their rhetoric is not at all with the intention of 1) rational discourse, 2) making an argument, or 3) persuading others of their opinion.  The only reason I have entered this thread was to explain to those who despise the use of the word “priestess” just why that is a good thing.

RE: “As I wrote above, I usually write ‘women “priests”’ as the most neutral way I know how to at once use a descriptive term while yet registering that I do not believe they exist.”

I know that you do—and I consider “woman priest” to be a neutral objective term.  Most of the time, you use that in online discourse.

RE: “I am sorry that you do not see fit to engage in argument, but are content to airily dismiss with a “wink” the beliefs of those who use a neutral and descriptive dictionary term . . . “

However, the word “priestess” is not such a term, nor is it intended to be such a term.  I treat it with the same contempt that I treat Griswoldian etherizations.

RE: “But accusing your opponents of the very hyper-emotionalism that you are displaying, followed by airy dismissal, is no way to encourage reasoned debate.”

I displayed no such emotionalism. I merely articulated for those who oppose the word “priestess” the reasons why others are using it in such a way.  I have engaged in plenty of reasoned debate both with those who support and those who oppose WO

Of course . . . those who use such a word for the reasons which I have articulated above will not really appreciate what I have said.  ; > )

[75] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 12:03 PM • top

I’ll say it again.  I do not read, comment on, reflect upon, nor give a flying fig for the arguments of those who use rhetoric in that manner.  Especially as their rhetoric is not at all with the intention of 1) rational discourse, 2) making an argument, or 3) persuading others of their opinion.  The only reason I have entered this thread was to explain to those who despise the use of the word “priestess” just why that is a good thing.

Sarah, I’m sorry, but I just do not see how “priestess” is “rhetoric” (itself once an honorable and uncontroversial term).  Nor have I seen how the use of “priestess” here has at anytime been an effort to avoid any of your three clauses.

There is, in fact, an argument implicit in the very use of the term “priestess,” one that those who object to it are trying to silence by dismissing its use as emotive, or as a twisting of meaning, or as baiting. 

Don’t like an argument?  Just banish the word that sums it up.  You see “rhetoric.”  I see Orwellian thought control.

[76] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 12:16 PM • top

RE: “Good try, but no cigar . . . “

Well . . . “no cigar” for those who use the word.  ;> )  But great cigar for those who recognize the term for what it is and wish to understand why it is used and what the proper engagement with it might be.

RE: “. . .  and your psychologizing (itself a form of Gnostic reductionism) would apply just as much to someone like St. Athanasius (Sancte Pater Athanasii, ora pro nobis!) who refused to term his Arian opponents anything other than “Ariomaniacs” and whose example I strive, in my halting way, to emulate.  But at least I draw the line somewhere and realize that I am incapable of imitating the style and idiom of Martin Luther.”

Assessing and articulating the motivations of others who use that term, and then stating just exactly what one thinks is appropriate engagement [a la Griswold] is not at all Gnostic reductionism, which phrase is nothing more than words that mean, in this case, “you didn’t respond to what we want you to respond to, which currently [but not always] is something other than the words we use” . . . ; > )

And I am afraid that someone invoking Martin Luther or Athanasius as the reasons for one’s spite leaves one open to the obvious retort: “and you, sir, are most certainly no Martin Luther”.

Look—I’m fine with everyone using whatever words they like.  I’m a free-speech lover, and ardently oppose such artificial designations as “hate speech”.

I am personally just fine with someone who walks up to a woman and states “you know, my dear, you look just exactly like a pink-lemonade-elephant in that startlingly ugly and tawdry dress” . . . and then bleating about how they were just being honest, and those who objected need to respond to the *idea* and the *truth* rather than the words and tone.

I just stated clearly my opinion, my identity, and my response to such speech for all those out there in cyberspace [and there are many] who are reading this interesting exchange and equally disdainful over the rhetoric. 

And I think I’ve communicated with those with whom I desired to communicate.  ; > )

[77] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 12:18 PM • top

Where is the imposition and deposition of these folks? They have clearly abandoned the doctrine, discipline and worship Christ as received even by “this church”.

Ah, but The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

[78] Posted by Ken Peck on 04-24-2007 at 12:24 PM • top

RE: “There is, in fact, an argument implicit in the very use of the term “priestess,” one that those who object to it are trying to silence by dismissing its use as emotive, or as a twisting of meaning, or as baiting.”

I’m afraid that, for my part, that is not true.  I do not object to the argument at all.  I have heard it articulated constantly, without the use of the word “priestess”.  I don’t agree with the argument, but I don’t object to it.  I see it as a legitimate Anglo-Catholic argument.

So the deletion of the word “priestess” [and please note that I have had no thought that that should occur, and have merely expressed my response to it and my opinion of it] does not delete the argument that is claimed to be expressed by it, any more than the deletion of the statement “you know, my dear, you look just exactly like a pink-lemonade-elephant in that startlingly ugly and tawdry dress” deletes the argument that potentially some people look heavier in certain attire.

[79] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 12:31 PM • top

Grasshopper:  As I understand it, a priest has a specific sacramental role; he is “called” to the priesthood as the father of the faithful ordained by the bishop. That role includes leading the worship, preaching, and consecrating and serving the Eucharist. The priest is first and foremost the icon of Christ to his people, and the designation “father” connotes the pastoral role he is to have.
P.S. Thanks for the song…

Sarah: (To the tune of Happy Birthday)Admiration to you, admiration to you, your words and wit sparkle, admiration tooooo youuuuu.

To All:Interesting thread, Thanks

[80] Posted by ElaineF. on 04-24-2007 at 12:35 PM • top

Sarah, if you do not object to the argument (even though you do not accept it, alas), why do you object to the word that expresses it?

If it for its emotive impact . . . well, I’ve been engaged in these sorts of arguments for a long time.  Some of them have been pretty irrational, full of spite, anger, etc.  Occasionally, I have been known to go off the deep end myself (only rarely, of course).

However, it has been my experience, over literally decades of argument on this subject, that when it comes to the word ‘priestess’, the people who get emotional or spiteful or unwilling to argue rationally are those who object to it, not those who employ it.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I am NOT saying that those who are opposed to the “ordination” of women are never irrational, or spiteful, or never substitute emotion for argument.  They often are or they often do.  I am only saying that in this one instance, i.e., the use of the word ‘priestess’, the heat always seems to come from those who wish to banish it.

[81] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 12:51 PM • top

Just a comment.  The argument against WO has produced a remarkable ecumenical convergence between Roman Catholics and Orthodox.  The Western position (shared by Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans) has been that the eucharistic celebrant represents Christ, and thus acts in persona Christi.  The East insisted to the contrary that the eucharistic celebrant represents the people, and so acts in persona ecclesia.

However, given that the Church is feminine, the need to argue against WO has increasingly rseen Orthodox theologians recently embracing the Western position. 

Of course, some have suggested (horrors!) that the presiding celebrant represents both Christ and the Church, acting both in persona Christi and in persona ecclesiae.  Of course, it does not seem to have occurred to those opposed to WO that if the celebrant acts in persona ecclesia, it might be entirely appropriate that said celebrant be female.

But these arguments are not really driven by logical consistency anyway, insofar as they tend to be created post hoc.

[82] Posted by William Witt on 04-24-2007 at 12:59 PM • top

RE: “Sarah, if you do not object to the argument (even though you do not accept it, alas), why do you object to the word that expresses it?”

The claim that the word “priestess” is “the word that expresses” the anti-WO Anglocatholic argument begs the question. 

But beyond that question-begging statement, I believe that I have stated clearly and at length above my objection to the word.  I believe that I have communicated just why I object to it.  I suspect that further statements about it on my part will not help explain it further.

[83] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 01:05 PM • top

William Witt,

1 - Why ‘horrors’?

2 - “But these arguments are not really driven by logical consistency anyway, insofar as they tend to be created post hoc.”

As we are discussing a matter of revelation, in which virtually all argument is post hoc, where is the logical inconsistency?

[84] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 01:06 PM • top

“The claim that the word “priestess” is “the word that expresses” the anti-WO Anglocatholic argument begs the question.”

No it does not (although I would use “an argument” rather than “the argument”).  Rather, it is the question.  Remember what started this thread.

But I guess you’re right that further attempts at elucidation will only darken rather than enlighten discussion.

[85] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 01:10 PM • top

RE: “No it does not (although I would use “an argument” rather than “the argument”).”

But you used precisely this statement: “why do you object to the word that expresses it?” which is why I said what I did.

Regardless, people are perfectly able to make the Anglo-Catholic anti-WO argument without using the word priestess, just as people are perfectly able to make the argument that potentially some people look heavier in certain attire without using language like “you know, my dear, you look just exactly like a pink-lemonade-elephant in that startlingly ugly and tawdry dress”.

The fact that some choose to make such arguments without that rhetoric—often and everywhere—is something that most of us who hold the word priestess in contempt are well aware of.

[86] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 01:20 PM • top

1 - Why ‘horrors’?

Because if the presiding celebrant represents the Church (female) then the argument against WO based on gender similarity collapses, as male celebrants are representing a female church.

2 - “But these arguments are not really driven by logical consistency anyway, insofar as they tend to be created post hoc.”

As we are discussing a matter of revelation, in which virtually all argument is post hoc, where is the logical inconsistency?

Unless women are incapable of feeding prisoners, clothing the naked, or visiting prisoners, then revelation would seem to indicate that women <em>are</em> capable of representing Christ.  On the other hand, I’m not aware of any statement in scripture that specifies either that the eucharistic celebrant acts <em>in persona Christi</em> or that women cannot represent Christ or that even mentions the sexual identity of the one celebrating the eucharist.

[87] Posted by William Witt on 04-24-2007 at 01:27 PM • top

(The HTML seems to have swallowed the last part of my final sentence.  So, without the attempt at italics:)

On the other hand, I’m not aware of any statement in scripture that specifies either that the eucharistic celebrant acts in persona Christi or even mentions the sexual identity of the eucharistic celebrant.

[88] Posted by William Witt on 04-24-2007 at 01:31 PM • top

Sarah, bless you, I give up.  We’re talking past each other.

William Witt: Because if the presiding celebrant represents the Church (female) then the argument against WO based on gender similarity collapses, as male celebrants are representing a female church.

Not if, in this instance, ecclesia = humanitas, for which the representative sex is necessarily male (as in Adam-Christ, Romans 5, etc.).

But I think we’ve had this argument before . . .

<blockquote>Unless women are incapable of feeding prisoners, clothing the naked, or visiting prisoners, then revelation would seem to indicate that women are capable of representing Christ.  On the other hand, I’m not aware of any statement in scripture that specifies either that the eucharistic celebrant acts in persona Christi or even mentions the sexual identity of the eucharistic celebrant.</blockquote>

a) I don’t see what this has to do with logical inconsistency based on post hoc justification.

b) I don’t know if this is the place to rehearse all of the texts on sexual differentiation in Scripture, including our Lord’s choice of only male celebrants (i.e. the Apostles), but surely that the sexual identity of celebrants is not highlighted is no argument?

1) Grasshopper: What does maleness have to do with our Lord’s sacrifice?
2) How does the gender of the person underneath the Eucharistic chasuble enhance or interfere with that priest’s serving as an icon of Christ for you?

Grasshopper, I refer you to the links I gave

[89] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 02:05 PM • top

This whole “priestess” thing is conflating two issues. (1) Accurate terminology. (2) Intentionally inflamatory rhetoric.

Now, I agree that linguistic “bear baiting” in disccusions (while an ancient and classical rhetorical technique) isn’t conducive to charitable Christian discussion. And people who use the term just to raise the hackles of the pro-WO faction aren’t being charitable.

The question is—is that why all people use the term?

I think not.

The other rational for using “priestess” is that it may be the most accurate and descriptive term available.

The problem, from the catholic & orthodox theological perspective, with “woman priest” is that it’s calling a layperson a priest. “Woman priest” is simply inaccurate—it’s suggesting that both men and women are priests: some are “male priests” or “men priests”, others are “womem priests”.

But to the catholic and orthodox, this simply isn’t the case. The Church has no authority or power to ordain women to holy orders, because her Lord did not give her that authority. To say “woman priest” is simply inaccurate. Those catholic & orthodox believers who oppose WO but who still say “woman priest” are, in fact, already linguistically abandoning their own position.

On the other hand, a circumlocution like “so-called clergy” or “laywoman masquerading as priest” or something like that is, in my view, both clumsy and offensive. It’s going out of one’s way linguistically to inflame the issue—which is why I avoid such circumlocutions. For the same reason, I refer to the ‘head’ of TEc not as “bishop” (because she isn’t), nor as the “Presiding Layperson” (except when I do want to get a rise out of someone), but simply as “Dr. Schori”. This is both accurate and courteous but doesn’t abandon orthodox & catholic ecclesiology.

So the question becomes, what is the best way for a catholic and orthodox believer to refer to those women who have gone through an ordination service? If “women priests” is simply inaccurate, and other circumlocutions are clumsy and draw attention to themselves (thus “rubbing it in”), what’s left?

As far as I can tell, “priestess” is the most accurate and concise option. In itself, it’s no more “offensive” than saying “actor” and “actress”—and those who think that both men and women may equally be ordained should, on linguistic grounds, have no more objection to it than they do to other such paired terms like actor/actress.

If, by contrast, you don’t think women can be ordained, then saying “priestess” rather than “priest” concisely distinguishes between the orthodox and the heretical offices (thus preserving, in terminology, the catholic and apostolic belief) while still, linguistically, recognizing what the pro-WO party intends (and often piously intends)—and more respectfully than saying “woman so-called priest” or “deluded laywoman” or some such offensive moniker.

.

Now, as has been pointed out, “priestess” does have pagan connotations. And, as also has been pointed out, this is hardly surprising—for from the earliest days up until the last few decades, Christians explicitly rejected the pagan practice of “priestesses” and ordained only men. Naturally, therefore, it has non-Christian connotations, since, until modern times, it *has* been non-Christian.

This doesn’t make the term inaccurate.

Further, neither does the fact that some WO-supporters find the term offensive make it inaccurate.

It is not a term, like the n-word used for African Americans, which is rooted in offense. Unlike that word, the term “priestess” in most connotations is simply an accurate, technical, descriptive term. One hardly objects to hearing about “a priestess of Aphrodite” in a discussion of classical religion. It’s only resented when it appears in a Christian context because of that pagan antecedent.

Well, guess what, the practice has those pagan antecedents, and that fact remains true whether you say “woman priest” or “priestess”. Paganism had “women priests”. You might as well object to “baptism” because it has pagan antecedents and come up with a neologism to replace it.

.

Finally, this attempt to censor the orthodox & catholic for using an accurate descriptive term is exactly the same mind-set which allows the pro-homosexual lobby to redefine “marriage” or to arrest and prosecute those who preach against homosexual activity.

Suddenly you can’t speak truth if anyone finds it offensive, and we have to go through all sorts of linguistic and logical—and erroneous—contortions, just to make sure that we don’t *gasp* hurt someone’s feelings.

While you’re at it, how about denying that Jesus Christ is the “way, the truth and the life” because some people might be offended by that. Oh, wait, Dr. Schori has already done so.

Yet, somehow, the pro-WO evangelical can object to such “victim” tactics when used against them by the revisionists and apostates… and then turn around and use exactly the same kind of rhetoric against the orthodox & catholic—and get all bent out of shape when the latter, in turn, object.

.

I’m sorry some people find “priestess” offensive. I find “woman priest” offensive because it inherently rejects catholic and apostolic Christianity. Why should what you find offensive be normative and what I find offensive be unimportant?

Yet despite finding the term “women priest” both inaccurate and theologically offensive, I don’t call someone who says “women priest” offensive names, nor belittle their intelligence, nor dismiss all their arguments with sneers at their character and motivations, nor smirk and wink behind my hand to my compatriots about the childishness of people who do say “woman priest.”

Unfortunately, this sort of substanceless reaction does seem to be the norm among some (not all) of those who object to the use of the term “priestess”—call the orthodox names, wink, and ignore their arguments and beliefs… in precisely the same way as those who approve of homosexual activity will dismiss those who maintain the norms of Scripture and Tradition as “homophobes”, sneer in assumed superiority, and ignore their arguments and beliefs.

Frankly, if anyone’s guilty of rhetoric, it’s not those who use the term “priestess” as the accurate description of this modern revisionist practice, but rather those who use rhetorical whining about the use of the term to wave away with little or no thought the substance of the catholic & apostolic argument.

.

If there’s a better and accurate term out there, I’m happy to use it. “Woman priest” is not it—because that is (to the anglocatholic) as theologically inaccurate as referring to a homosexual civil union as a “marriage”. However, until the advent of such a term, I think “priestess”, used without malice simply as an accurate description of the phenomenon, is appropriate.


I’m sorry if some find “priestess” objectionable. I hope they will chose, nevertheless, to be as courteous - and to avoid being rhetorically dismissive - of those of us who use it out of thoughtful theological conviction as we—finding “woman priest” objectionable—strive to be toward those who chose, out of their own convictions, to use that particular phrase.

pax,
LP

[90] Posted by LP on 04-24-2007 at 02:15 PM • top

IRNS,

I think it rather obvious that our Lord chose male apostles for the same reason he chose twelve apostles and he chose Jewish apostles—that the apostles were representative of the twelve tribes of Israel who were all descended from the twelve male sons of Jacob.  The issue here has to do with the symbolism of the church as the remnant of the true Israel, not with sexuality at all.

On the other hand, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, despite the twelve males sons of Jacob, both Israel and the Church are female.  If the eucharistic minister represents the church, the eucharistic minister does not represent Adam—Christ is the new Adam.  If anything, the Church would be Eve—just as in patristic theology, Mary (female) is antitype of Eve and symbol of the Church.

But enough.  I’ve slipped into discussing an issue I’d prefer to avoid.    I’ll just say that I find the usual arguments against WO to be as weak as the arguments for SSU or inclusive language—cases of special pleading.  I find the arguments based on male/female symbolism to be the weakest, and I’m just pointing out that they are used selectively and inconsistently.

[91] Posted by William Witt on 04-24-2007 at 02:39 PM • top

LP,

I agree with your posting.  At one point, however, you wrote:

“For the same reason, I refer to the ‘head’ of TEC not as “bishop” (because she isn’t), nor as the “Presiding Layperson” (except when I do want to get a rise out of someone), but simply as “Dr. Schori”. This is both accurate and courteous but doesn’t abandon orthodox & catholic ecclesiology.”

I suggest that you follow my example and employ the term “flaminica” for a “female bishop” (sic) and the term “Archiflaminica” for a PB or (when there is one) a “female archbishop” (sic)—as no doubt there will be presently, whether among the Canadian Anglicans or the Swedish Lutherans—despite the fact that it is rather naff (as the English say) to make a compound word of Latin and Greek elements together (like the idiotic word “homophobia”).  A “flaminica” was, in the ancient pagan State Cult of the City of Rome, either the wife of one of the three chief priests (the Flamen Dialis, Jupiter’s priest, the Flamen Martialis, Mars’ priest, and the Flamen Quirinalis, a god whose name and precise “function” had been largely forgotten by historical times), or else the high priestess of Juno (Jupiter’s consort) or, later on, of other goddesses.  For the purpose of orthodox Christian assertion it is an admirable word, as it highlights implicitly the lack of any such thing as a real existing “female bishop” (as with a “female husband” or a “male wife”) and the pagan nature of any such purported functionary; moreover, while the appearance of such a strikingly unfamiliar term will stimulate the mentally agile and curious to seek out its meaning, and so impress itself willy-nilly on their minds, even unto fury in the case of proponents of such a non-ens (who will find it unforgettable, not least when they find themselves in the presence of such a chimaera as the term denotes), for the sluggish or incapable it will function much as P. T. Barnum’s “Egress” did in his circus displays.  I commend the term to your consideration.
Meanwhile, here is how the term was explained in a 19th-Century Classical World dictionary:
**************
“Flaminica was the name given to the wife of the Flamen Dialis. He was required to wed a virgin according to the ceremonies of Confarreatio, which regulation also applied to the two other flamines majores (Serv. ad Virg. Aen. iv.104, 374; Gaius, i.112); and he could not marry a second time. Hence, since her assistance was essential in the performance of certain ordinances, a divorce was not permitted, and if she died the Dialis was obliged to resign. The restrictions imposed upon the flaminica were similar to those by which her husband was fettered (Aul. Gell. x.15). Her dress consisted of a dyed robe (venenato operitur); her hair was plaited up with a purple band in a conical form (tutulus); and she wore a small square cloak with a border (rica), to which was attached a slip cut from a felix arbor (Fest. s.v. Tutulum, Rica; Varro, De Ling. Lat. vii.44). It is difficult to determine what the rica really was; whether a short cloak, as appears most probable, or a napkin thrown over the head. She was prohibited from mounting a staircase consisting of more than three steps (the text of Aulus Gellius is uncertain, but the object must have been to prevent her ankles from being seen); and when she went to the Argei [Argei] she neither combed nor arranged her hair. On each of the nundinae a ram was sacrificed to Jupiter in the regia by the flaminica (Macrob. i.16).

Flaminica, according to Festus, was also a name given to a little priestess (sacerdotula), who assisted the flaminica in her duties.”

Of course, such is our plight as the world waxes old that the dress code formerly prescribed has been considerably relaxed, as also has the severity of the proscriptions against divorce and remarriage for contemporary flaminicae—and, for that matter, flamines.

[92] Posted by William Tighe on 04-24-2007 at 02:57 PM • top

I think it rather obvious that our Lord chose male apostles for the same reason he chose twelve apostles and he chose Jewish apostles—that the apostles were representative of the twelve tribes of Israel who were all descended from the twelve male sons of Jacob.  The issue here has to do with the symbolism of the church as the remnant of the true Israel, not with sexuality at all.

William, the two issues are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they dovetail.  Why are men chosen to represent the “heads” (another troublesome term, as you know) of the twelve tribes?  Why do only men carry out cultic functions in Israel?  You are just pushing the question back.  In any case, we should beware of confusing the symbolism of the chosen people, which is post-lapsarian, with sexuality, which is pre-lapsarian and part of the original plan of God for humanity.

Yes, the church is the Bride of Christ.  It is also the Body of Christ.  Inconsistency and selectivity (if such they are) would seem to be built into the situation, unless we are to argue that Christ was a hermaphrodite who married himself.

My argument has always been, not that a woman cannot represent Christ—-of course she can—-but that one particular function of a eucharistic president is to stand in persona Christi only insofar as he represents Christ representing all humanity, which scripturally requires that he be male.

[93] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-24-2007 at 03:17 PM • top

I thought this was an important article to post and I was planning on fowarding the link to Stand Firm to some friends as I wanted them to read it and the initial comments here and become more familiar with this blog as a place for important news of issues facing ECUSA.

But the subsequent diversion of the comment thread onto the topic of women’s ordination has totally nullified its usefulness.  If I were to send the Stand Firm thread link to certain friends, they would get distracted from the main topic by the anti or pro WO polemics here.  Sad.  An example of a hijacked thread.

[94] Posted by Karen B. on 04-24-2007 at 03:34 PM • top

<blockquote>My argument has always been, not that a woman cannot represent Christ—-of course she can—-but that one particular function of a eucharistic president is to stand in persona Christi only insofar as he represents Christ representing all humanity, which scripturally requires that he be male.</blockquote>

Please forgive me.  I find the arguments from male/female symbolism to be just . . . arbitrary.  As I pointed out, the East insisted emphatically against the West until quite recently that the priest did not represent Christ, but rather represented the Church—which, symbolically, is female.  Until recently that is, when they discovered that a position they had emphatically rejected could be a handy tool “to use against WO.

And, of course, half of humanity is female—which is why Irenaeus did not hesitate to apply Paul’s imagery in Rom 5 to Mary (who became the second Eve).

Is there any reason why, if the eucharistic celebrant represents Christ, that the celebrant could not also represent the church?  After all, the East insisted that this just was the case, and that the West was mistaken, and that the celebrant did not represent Christ!  And, indeed is it not rather arrogant for any human to claim to represent Christ?  Wouldn’t it be more appropriate that the celebrant does indeed represent the church, bringing nothing to the eucharist but the empty hands of faith and the elements, which are received and offered as gifts? But if the celebrant represents the church, then why couldn’t the celebrant be female?  Indeed, would not a female celebrant be more appropriate than a male celebrant in this case?

I’m not really trying to make a case here.  I just find the argument to be special pleading.

And, of course, there is a word besides either “priestess” or “female priest.”  The NT uses the word presbytyr (presbytera is the feminine) and episcopos interchangeably, but never hierus to describe church leaders.  “Pastor” (from episcopos) or “presbytyr” or “eucharistic celebrant” or “Presider/President” are just fine.

[95] Posted by William Witt on 04-24-2007 at 03:47 PM • top

Bill Witt writes
“The NT uses the word presbytyr (presbytera is the feminine) and episcopos interchangeably….”

I find only one occurrence of presbytera in the NT, at 1 Tim 5.2, and it does not seem to denote any ecclesiastical office, but simply age.  If there are others, I could not detect them through a spot check of the Greek concordance or lexicon.  If you can cite a usage of “presbytera” in the NT clearly denoting an order of ministry, I will swallow my Liddell & Scott in one piece.

While hiereus is not used to denote a priestly order in the New Covenant Church, don’t overlook the verb form hierougeo “to perfornm holy service, act as a priest,” in Romans 15.16.  There are also some suggestive usages of leitourgeo.

[96] Posted by Laurence K Wells on 04-24-2007 at 04:11 PM • top

OK, how about priestette?

the snarkster

[97] Posted by the snarkster on 04-24-2007 at 04:31 PM • top

Oh no Snarkster. I called Dr/Mrs. Schori “Bishopette” once and got a severe lambasting about “our worthy opponents”.

[98] Posted by via orthodoxy on 04-24-2007 at 04:54 PM • top

Reminds me of my English Catholic friends of 20+ years ago who termed girl altar boys serviettes

[99] Posted by William Tighe on 04-24-2007 at 04:54 PM • top

priestette?

Will they be blue?

[100] Posted by wooly on 04-24-2007 at 04:57 PM • top

Why is Sarah more grown-up than me?

[101] Posted by J Eppinga on 04-24-2007 at 05:03 PM • top

Just try to snatch the pebble from my hand Grasshopper.

[102] Posted by via orthodoxy on 04-24-2007 at 05:19 PM • top

RE: “If there’s a better and accurate term out there, I’m happy to use it. “Woman priest” is not it—because that is (to the anglocatholic) as theologically inaccurate as referring to a homosexual civil union as a “marriage”.

Cool.  Then I’d be happy with the phrase *purported* woman priest.  Wouldn’t bother me a bit.  I use it all the time when I speak with Anglo-Catholics about these matters.  Some people [those who believe that women are ordained to the priesthood] *purport* to ordain women.

Easy enough.

Of course, there are dozens of other ways to say it as well that do not attempt to inflame emotions—but that would be no fun at all.
; > )

No . . . the reason for the use of the word priestess has already been well-explained by me and William Witt and others on this thread.  It’s essentially a spiteful rhetorical device attempting to invoke the same rage in others that the rhetoricians actually feel themselves.

It’s fine to come up with other reasons for its use—that does not really concern me. 

RE: “I’m sorry some people find “priestess” offensive.”

I would not be one of those people however.  I do not find the word priestess “offensive” at all—any more than I find the word “homophobe” offensive.  I merely note the word idly as I pass by, and chalk it up to immaturity and move on.  As I’ve stated on any number of threads over the years, it’s not really important to me what the labels are, if I don’t particularly respect the ideas of the labellers. 

All that the word priestess means to me is that I can laugh, “hold the One Ring up to the light”, slip it on and off, and toss it in the air, with little concern, a la Tom Bombadil. 

RE: “I don’t call someone who says “women priest” offensive names, nor belittle their intelligence, nor dismiss all their arguments with sneers at their character and motivations, nor smirk and wink behind my hand to my compatriots about the childishness of people who do say “woman priest.””

Please note that I did not belittle anyone’s intelligence, and I did not dismiss anyone’s arguments.  I carefully distinguished between the argument and the word, acknowledging the former as legitimate for Anglo-Catholics and laughing at the latter.  I have a clear opinion of the maturity and rage-level of those who use the word priestess in their purported debates with others not of like mind.  I judge the *actions* and not the theology.

Note that I have not debated the theology one wit, nor of course will I with those who prefer to throw out little rhetorical firebombs—they’re simply not mature enough to skirmish with over theology.

Note also that I care equally as much about the “arguments” of those who call reasserters “homophobes” as those who call purported women priests “priestesses”—which is not at all. 

I am equally unconcerned about both, and do not find the word “homophobe” offensive at all.  I merely find it funny, as I would if Osama called Bishop Duncan a terrorist.  Clearly Osama, no matter how much he may believe that Bishop Duncan is a terrorist, is not intending at all to make an argument or persuade.  He’s just enjoying a bit of a word game.

And finally, I note that no one wants to tackle the “frank”, “honest”, and “truthful” line about the woman who looks like a pink-lemonade-elephant in her startlingly ugly and tawdry dress—probably because people know in their hearts that it precisely describes what’s going on in this thread.

[103] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 06:00 PM • top

KarenB,

You are so right, the thread has been hijacked to the favorite topic of Certain Anglo-Catholics.  ; > )

Looks as if the Commenatrix has not been around here either.

Oh well—chalk it up to letting one slip through, I guess . . .

But think of it this way.

Every time such a thread gets started and trundles down its inevitable and grindingly boring path, thousands of people reading the thread recognize once again 1) why certain Anglo-Catholics who believe that WO is a salvific first-order issue won’t be in any sort of new Anglican entity with those who don’t think it is a salvific first-order issue, and 2) why that’s a very good thing.

People can look at this thread right here and say “wow—okay, never mind!”

Just sort of drives the point home, I suspect.

[104] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 06:05 PM • top

LP, as an anglocatholic myself, and one who is, to say the very least, supportive of women’s ordination, I must ask you not to hide behind anglocatholicism as as excuse for your continued determination to use the insulting “P” word.

I’m sorry you find the P-word insulting. I find the term “woman priest” insulting to Christian Scripture and Tradition. However, I understand where people who use it come from and I don’t get all fussy over it.

I use the term not to be insulting, but simply because it’s I view it as the accurate term, as I explained in my post. (Perhaps you missed that?) I avoid “woman priest” for the same reason I avoid saying “gay marriage”.

I dare say what you really find offensive is not the ‘p’-word per se, but rather the fact that many Christians believe priestesses to be contrary to both Scripture and Tradition, and to be a modern revisionist innovation in some ways more troubling than the toleration of homosexual behavior.

I’m sorry you find that belief troubling. But I’m not going to change that belief just because you find it offensive any more than I’m going to change my belief that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord because some other people find it offensive.

Please don’t paint the entire group to which you happen to belong with your unique idiosyncracies.

“Anglocatholic” gets used for both liturgical (high church) and theological. Sounds like you’re a ‘liturgical’ rather than a ‘theological’ anglocatholic. Maintaining the catholic & apostolic practice of the male-only priesthood is not a ‘unique ideosyncracy’ of mine, but is a standard element of theological anglocatholicism.

There are many anglocatholics out there opposed to the revisionism of WO—the entire Continuing Church movement for example, not to mention a large portion of the AMiA, several PECUSA dioceses, and a number of national Anglican churches world-wide. And, of course, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, which dwarf the Anglican Communion.

I’m afraid the rhetoric of calling the opposition to WO a “unique ideosyncracy” of mine doesn’t alter that fact one whit.

.

You’re welcome to go on saying “woman priest.” I find that term both inaccurate and misleading, but I understand what is meant by those who use it and don’t run about waving my arms or name-calling when I hear it, but focus instead on the actual substance of the discussion. I invite you to do the same when I and others use the term “priestess.”

pax,
LP

[105] Posted by LP on 04-24-2007 at 06:15 PM • top

It’s essentially a spiteful rhetorical device attempting to invoke the same rage in others that the rhetoricians actually feel themselves.

Ah, Sarah, it must be so nice to know what people’s motivations and the state of their soul are just from your personal issues with and prejudices over particular terms. How Lewis-Carrol-Humpty-Dumpty… words—and the motivations behind their use—mean whatever you want them to mean? Golly. Your “clear opinion of the maturity and rage-level of those” who use terms you don’t like must be very convenient in dismissing them…. and don’t let the actual facts of those people and their motivations stand in your way!

Now, I’ll grant you this—I’m sure that those few anglocatholics still in TEc may have struck you, occasionally, as having a “rage” level. After all, they’ve spent decades being marginalized and persecuted, and the recent move to ram WO down their throats (despite all the institutional promises it breaks) has caused, doubtless, great frustration and anger. Perhaps this is from where you get your prejudices concerning anyone who says “priestess”?

For me, a layman in a Continuing Church, it’s really a much less “immediate” problem—I’m not in TEc and, at the end of the day, what it choses to do is of little interest to me. My interest is in the theological, not the polemical or institutional, aspects of the debate—indeed, you’ll notice that my original post, before people started getting all worked up over terminology, was to criticize someone who was supporting WO by an argument which struck me as both sexist and insulting to women (though doubtless it wasn’t intended that way). Gee, that’s that rage of mine popping out again, eh?

I’ve been generally impressed with your posts and recognize your position re WO to be a thoughtful one—though I also believe it to be mistaken. I’m substantially less impressed with your blanket attribution of immaturity, rage and childishness to posters based on your assumptions and prejudices about their motivations. That, sadly, sounds very similar to the kind of thinking which characterizes those revisionists who similarly dismiss the “reasserters”—and makes me wonder if perhaps you may be burdened with the very emotions and contempt of which you accuse anglocatholics. Certainly, such blind terminological prejudice seems rather emotion-laden.

Still, I recognize that this can be, for those still in TEc, a rather touchy issue—especially when so many pro-WOers just want the whole debate to go away, and get so upset when it doesn’t. I’m sure the same kind of dismissive frustration is increasingly becoming the norm among the pro-homosexuality majority in TEc with the little pockets of those who still object to that particular revisionism. I hope, down the road, you’ll be tolerant of their frustration when you find yourself on the receiving rather the dishing-out end.

pax,
LP

[106] Posted by LP on 04-24-2007 at 06:38 PM • top

LP: hang in there.  You are experiencing the orthodoxy of the lips here: “Easy enough. Of course, there are dozens of other ways to say it as well that do not attempt to inflame emotions—but that would be no fun at all. ; > )” Fun house, not church.  Sarah keeps calling for the censors to move the post onto the track again, but that would be no fun either.  In Sarah’s world there can be no orthodoxy without inflamation.  As I say LP: hang in there, it gets better.

[107] Posted by terebinth on 04-24-2007 at 07:02 PM • top

Meanwhile - back to the original intention of the post:

What a statement it is about our ‘Spirituality’ when we cannot call the Infinite Creature of the Universe “Lord”.  Who is Lord of us if not He?  I think it marks, not so much the problem of authority but more accurately, the problem of humanity accepting authority - seems, hmm, rather reminiscent of a Gardening problem I remember in Genesis.

At our church over the weekend we just had the best teaching from Fr. Jerry from our sister church in Spokane, WA.  He stated the FIRST step in growing in Christian maturity was learning to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ.  That all our own agendas and desires must be subservient to that of Christ’s Will for our lives.  This would take care of the ‘Lord’ problem, methinks.

[108] Posted by Eclipse on 04-24-2007 at 07:22 PM • top

Note to self:

Remember to always proofread before posting…

Infinite CREATOR… for goodness sake…

[109] Posted by Eclipse on 04-24-2007 at 07:24 PM • top

RE: “Ah, Sarah, it must be so nice to know what people’s motivations and the state of their soul are just from your personal issues with and prejudices over particular terms.”

Nope—just opinions about people’s motivations, and certainly nothing about the “state of their soul”.  We’re all perfectly capable of coming to opinions about why people do the things that they do . . . nothing wrong with that.

RE: “After all, they’ve spent decades being marginalized and persecuted, and the recent move to ram WO down their throats (despite all the institutional promises it breaks) has caused, doubtless, great frustration and anger.”

Wait—I thought it was the *other side* that was being all “victimized” and whining . . . You folks too?  ; > )  Chuckle . . .

Furthermore, it’s not the Anglo-Catholic members of TEC that I hear using the word priestess much.  It’s the Anglo-Catholics outside of TEC that generally use the word.  You’d think, of course, that they’d be willing to move on, since they are happily ensconsed in an anti-WO church. 

RE: “For me, a layman in a Continuing Church, it’s really a much less “immediate” problem—I’m not in TEC and, at the end of the day, what it choses to do is of little interest to me.”

LOL. 

Yes—we can all tell by your posts how little interest you have.
; > )

RE: “I’m substantially less impressed with your blanket attribution of immaturity, rage and childishness to posters based on your assumptions and prejudices about their motivations.”

And remember . . . it’s not important to me to impress you, which is why I don’t find the words you use—or those of revisionists—at all “offensive” or “insulting”.  They’re just words, and have all the power that people give to them.  To be “offended” or “insulted” by a word used by another gives regard to the opinion of the provider of the label—and I choose whom I give regard to very very carefully.

RE: “That, sadly, sounds very similar to the kind of thinking which characterizes those revisionists who similarly dismiss the “reasserters”—”

Same with the revisionists—not interested in impressing them either, and couldn’t care less about their opinions re: my theology or their labels.  They can’t insult me—they’re not capable of it.

RE: ” . . . and makes me wonder if perhaps you may be burdened with the very emotions and contempt of which you accuse anglocatholics.”

Well after all . . . like I said above . . . “We’re all perfectly capable of coming to opinions about why people do the things that they do . . . nothing wrong with that.”  ; > )

But I’m quite confident in my friendships with those anti-WO Anglo-Catholics who, unlike you, are capable of using language that both asserts their theology and does not attempt to evoke rage from supporters of WO.

RE: “I’m sure the same kind of dismissive frustration is increasingly becoming the norm among the pro-homosexuality majority in TEC with the little pockets of those who still object to that particular revisionism. I hope, down the road, you’ll be tolerant of their frustration when you find yourself on the receiving rather the dishing-out end.”

Already received.  I yawn.  ; > )  Just not important to me . . . 

As I’ve said . . . I’m not offendable by the “frustration” and rhetorical devices of both revisionists and users of the word priestess.

No . . . what I’ve articulated is the attitude that I think that those who get riled up over the word “priestess” should engage in—simply a chuckle, a dismissal, and a move on to more substantive and rational debate.  And I’ve articulated the consequences of deliberately using rhetoric that is designed to evoke anger from the opponents.  It may be “blunt”, “honest”, “accurate”, and “truthful” . . . just as telling a woman in an ugly dress that she looks like a pink-lemonade elephant may be “blunt”, “honest”, “accurate”, and “truthful” . . . nevertheless, most people who see such language merely refuse to engage with the arguments and move on.

And that’s as it should be.

Of course . . . that’s actually the point of those who use the rhetorical devices about which I’m speaking. 

For I’ve noticed that whenever someone actually *wants* to engage others in the arguments, and invite rational discourse . . . suddenly they carefully use rhetoric in a way designed to bring people into the debate rather than enrage.

Suddenly . . . all the other rhetoric they’ve used in the past to enjoy a few cheap thrills goes rapidly away! 

Funny that.  ; > )

At any rate, whether commenters or readers here agree or not, I am confident that my point is quite clear.

It has been a pleasant few comments.  I leave now to skirmish elsewhere, and anyone else is welcome to The Last Word.  ; > )

[110] Posted by Sarah on 04-24-2007 at 07:25 PM • top

Much, if not most, of this thread has flowed right on past me.
I guess I see the only fundamental argument is not the title but the question of the ‘rightness’ of women in the priesthood.  Names are moot although I would prefer OW (ordained woman) to be more preferable despite being painful to say.

[111] Posted by Bill C on 04-24-2007 at 08:00 PM • top

(The above is supposed to be a snarkterism)

[112] Posted by Bill C on 04-24-2007 at 08:01 PM • top

“And finally, I note that no one wants to tackle the “frank”, “honest”, and “truthful” line about the woman who looks like a pink-lemonade-elephant in her startlingly ugly and tawdry dress—probably because people know in their hearts that it precisely describes what’s going on in this thread.”

Sarah:

Was it really necessary to drag poor Betty Butterfield into all of this?

I mean, it’s not like she was a candidate for Holy Orders or anything!

http://www.archive.org/details/Betty_Butterfield_exorcism

Well . . . not exactly.

[113] Posted by episcopalienated on 04-24-2007 at 08:23 PM • top

Sorry, don’t have a lot of energy for the WO and P arguments.
OTOH,  “and on that day, many will say Lord, Lord…” .  Well, how do you suppose this will be “reframed”?  Hey you, Hey you?
Years ago, a seminary classmate from Ghana and I talked about the “Lord” language.  In his world, there were personages who were referred to as lords…mostly judges, I think.  In the US of A, there haven’t been lords for quite a while.  I’d imagine the impetus for a change like this would come more from the former British Empire world.  Too, think how much history with the early martyrs we have connected with kyrios and how many of them DIED because they would not say “Caesar is Lord”.  O no, don’t think I’ll be taking this one out of my vocabulary anytime soon.  Guess I’ll just have to continue being thoroughly unreconstructed.

[114] Posted by Saltmarsh Gal on 04-24-2007 at 10:30 PM • top

Wow—this thread got off track! Too bad—I thought the original subject of the post was interesting, and rather important.

[115] Posted by Pat Kashtock on 04-24-2007 at 11:09 PM • top

LP wrote: “Now, I agree that linguistic “bear baiting” in disccusions (while an ancient and classical rhetorical technique) isn’t conducive to charitable Christian discussion. And people who use the term just to raise the hackles of the pro-WO faction aren’t being charitable.”

I would like to second grasshopper’s request that those who oppose WO use some term other than “priestess”. IMO, there isn’t much difference between using a word because it raises hackles, and persisting in using it despite knowing it raises hackles. And it doesn’t bother only advocates of WO. I’m not one, and it bugs me.

LP continued: “The other rational for using “priestess” is that it may be the most accurate and descriptive term available…If there’s a better and accurate term out there, I’m happy to use it.”

Well, here are a few alternative ideas which I will toss out for discussion.
1) What term do Anglo-catholics use for clergy of other denominations who are not in Orders (as you understand them)—Minister? Pastor? Put “woman” or “female” in front of this term.
2) Female or Woman clergy, or clergywoman
3) Woman or Female President or Presidency, parallel to “Lay Presidency”. Since (if I understand it) Lay Presidency refers to something which ought not to occur, i.e. a lay person officiating at eucharist, this would identify the person without suggesting approval on your part.
4) OW (for ‘ordained woman’) Anglo-catholics do not seem to object to use of the abbreviation WO for ‘women’s ordination’, despite believing that a woman cannot be validly ordained. OW just reverses the initials to refer to the person rather than the practice.

LP also wrote: “However, until the advent of such a term, I think “priestess”, used without malice simply as an accurate description of the phenomenon, is appropriate.”

Knowing the effect the word is likely to have on many hearers, I find it hard to see how it can be used “without malice” except in conversation with those who already agree with the person using it.


Please excuse if this is hard to read…after many tries in two different browsers I could not get either blockquote or italics to work for me tonight.

[116] Posted by kyounge1956 on 04-25-2007 at 01:41 AM • top

You are so right, the thread has been hijacked to the favorite topic of Certain Anglo-Catholics.  ; > )

Sarah, if you think this thread was hijacked by Certain Anglo-Catholics for their pet peeve, then I suggest that you go back and read the comments from the beginning.  You will discover that the issue of the “ordination” of women began to dominate the discussion once a certain commenter declared that the use of plain descriptive English was inherently and necessarily insulting and called for a response to his “argument,” and then really got heated when a a Certain Poster On this Blog declared her support for him and suggest that those who use plain descriptive English simply be dismissed with “contempt” since she can read their minds and knows their hearts.

And finally, I note that no one wants to tackle the “frank”, “honest”, and “truthful” line about the woman who looks like a pink-lemonade-elephant in her startlingly ugly and tawdry dress—probably because people know in their hearts that it precisely describes what’s going on in this thread.

Or perhaps no wants to tackle it because it is not really to the point.

However, since the “ordination” of women per se was, admittedly, not the original subject, I will refrain from continuing with that line here—no doubt there will be other occasions—and limit myself to the actual topic of this thread, which I thought was about language, truth, and revelation.

Grasshopper wtote:

Let me welcome you into the 21st century regarding the proper terms for serious female thespians.  In the words of an aspiring Shakespearian ACTOR friend of mine, “Actresses are people who worry about their make-up and breast size.  I am an actor.”

Please.  Are discourse, truth, politeness and theology now to be settled by reference to the style manual of The New York Times (thanks to which I now cringe every time I read ‘milleniums’)?  Do you think there is no larger agenda behind eliminating “actress” than your Shakespearian friend’s professional status?  For that matter, I still use (usually, but admittedly not consistently) BC and AD rather than the increasingly popular BCE and CE.  Will you excoriate me for being behind the times here?

Grasshopper, as you are someone who has insisted on “argument,” let me suggest that this is not it.

And if anyone—even Sarah—doubts that an effort to bend language in order to forestall or foreclose argument in one’s own favor is what’s at stake here, I quote Grasshopper again:

Aw, Sarah, please don’t use the “purported woman priest” phrase with THIS anglo-catholic.

Now even ‘purported’ is to be banned, apparently.  Grasshopper, are you offended when I, in an effort not to inflame feelings as Sarah requests, use scare quotes, as in ‘woman “priest”’?

I give up on this thread.  I absolutely believe in politeness and not being deliberately provocative or insulting.  They call that trolling.  However, I will not surrendur to the language police.

[117] Posted by Id rather not say on 04-25-2007 at 08:16 AM • top

Karen B. said:

the subsequent diversion of [this] comment thread onto the topic of women’s ordination has totally nullified its usefulness.

Karen, I agree. Every time the issue of WO drops a faint hint on a thread, the subsequent discussion swallows up the original post. We “reasserters” all know that we are in company with one another in a community that is split, often adamantly, over this issue. I would prefer that the WO argument (both pro and con), which has been argued at length and ad nauseum on other threads here and at t19, be confined to threads specificall addressing that topic. In the final analysis, I have never seen the arguments of either side of this intracamaral debate have the slightest effect upon the opinions of the other side.

[118] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-25-2007 at 08:29 AM • top

And from the Briar Patch:

I stand ready to leap to the defense of my brothers, the Sanitary Engineers.

Still Laffin,
The Rabbit.

[119] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-25-2007 at 08:32 AM • top

Oops, forgot about my sister Sanitary Engineers.
Blushin’
The Rabbit

[120] Posted by Br_er Rabbit on 04-25-2007 at 08:35 AM • top

I’m with the Snarkster!! I’ve used the term “priestette” for years! And, “bishopette” seems equally appropriate.

[121] Posted by Ribstone on 04-29-2007 at 10:26 AM • top

Ribstone wrote:

I’m with the Snarkster!! I’ve used the term “priestette” for years! And, “bishopette” seems equally appropriate. 

Ribstone (and anyone else who uses the terms priestess, bishopette, etc), it seems plain that you believe proponents of WO to be seriously in error. If you were the one who had fallen into error, would this kind of treatment incline you to acknowledge yourself to be in the wrong, or would it tend to make you justify your position all the more?  Do you think God wants people who are in error to repent and get back on the right track, or not?

I entreat you, before using these terms in the future, think about the effect it is likely to have. Are you putting a stumbling block in the path of a fellow-Christian?

[122] Posted by kyounge1956 on 04-30-2007 at 01:15 AM • top

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