So I've been laboring through the Women's Ordination thread on Stand Firm for the last two days. I'd seriously put it off because of my fatigue and the basic desire to avoid the issue for now. I don't want to get into the frey over there, however unfair it is to Matt to leave him all alone. For one thing, he's much more clear headed and intelligent than I am, and for another, there's nothing like a hysterical muddle headed woman priest mucking up a theological debate. I'm happy to let them wrestle it out.
I did want to say something about feminism, though. You might notice the Ladies Against Feminism link on the side, and a number of other highly conservative links. I don't agree with everything on these sites. In fact, my husband periodically exercises his headshipply authority and disallows me from reading these sites because I work myself into a froth over them.
It is bewitching, for me, and apparently for so many Continuing Anglicans, the idea that feminism, being a Bad Ting, can be got over by going back to those glorious days before it happened. Those good and honest days when women stayed home and cooked dinner and looked adoringly into the eyes of their husbands and made quilts and wore hats in church. In the good old days, it didn't occur to women to seek orders, it didn't occur to them to try and pray out loud in church, they wouldn't have run for vestry.
And now things are such a mess. Working women busy bodying themselves around, reading in church, distributing wine during communion. And of course me, preaching on occasion, making announcements, teaching Sunday School, organizing various ministries.
Thing is, I'm not a feminist. I think feminism, in its present strident form is a destroyer of many things-boys, homes, churches even, where men have run for cover and women unhappily run the show. Feminism, as so many 'isms' has shown itself essentially to be a lie. Any ideology that elevates the human being over God is doomed to fail.
But while I'm not a feminist, I can't go back to that premodern, pre enlightenment, prefeminist age of glory (if indeed it was an age of glory), any more than the church can really go back to preKantian theology. We can't go back, we have to find a way to fix the problem where it is now. Many women are creatively doing this, finding ways to stay home with children, making educated decisions about work and family life, trying to rebuild a place in a church that has been hollowed out and corrupted by the very ideology/theology that purported to help and serve them.
I don't have any solutions to this problem tonight. Its been a long day of church. But I hope to return to this thought in the days to come. This WO debate comes at a delicate and unhappy moment in the life of the church, when there are so many problems, and so many errors that sorting them out and finding their root causes is primary on everyone's mind. But reading through the thread and trying to stave off the headache caused thereby, I get the sense that, as with the communion itself, we have the choice to either fling ourselves into the past and bury the issue in the sand, or fling ourselves off a cliff into further error, or deal creatively, honestly, realistically and scripturally with what we have in hand.