I've been cleaning this wretched house over and over and over again for the last three days. Every time I make a little bit of progress it gets totally wrecked by the vast hoards of children roving over every available space. I want to take the opportunity to liken my wrecked house to the destruction that is currently taking place in the Anglican Communion. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about (and who are too lazy to click on the link), yesterday the Church of England voted, in Synod, to allow women into the episcopate (that means they're allowed to be bishop) without making any legal provision whatsoever for dissenting bishops, clergy and congregations.
I say this with deep sadness.
Many of you have asked me to talk more about Women's Ordination given my unique and uncomfortable position-I'm a woman, I'm ordained, I am therefore a continuing source of division in the church, a block to better ecumenical relationships with Rome and the Orthodox, a division within Conservative Anglicanism itself. Indeed, when we worship together with our friends and neighbors, Saint Andrew's Anglican down the street, Matt and I make sure that he celebrates, or Tony+ does, so as not to offend those of that congregation who do not believe that my orders are even possible. The finishing of that sentence has perhaps explained to you why I don't talk about it much. Indeed, why I don't even want to articulate the manner of my call. I have gone over it a thousand times in my mind, in prayer, in my heart trying to discover what on earth God is doing with me.
Furthermore, we conservative ordained women in Anglicanism are few and far between. And I can guarantee that we don't all agree with each other on every matter. I don't want, for one second, to compromise or make someone else's ordained life more difficult because of something thoughtless I wrote online while I am trying to work things out or speculate about this issue. Conservative Believing Anglican Women Priests are guaranteed to be criticized from the right (both from Evangelicals because of Scripture and Anglo Catholics because of, well, you probably all know how Anglo Catholics feel) and from the Left for picking the Gospel over the rights of women everywhere. Any careless word can and will be used against us.
To make it even more personal, as many of you know from Stand Firm, Matt is feeling daily more queasy about Women's Ordination in general, though, he assures me, not about me. 'Obviously you're called' he says.
'But' I say, 'if you don't believe that Women should be ordained, don't you think that would have an effect on me personally?'
Well, yes, he can see that. And he is not an inconsistent and illogical person. He is not making a personal exception that suits him (let's face it, I'm a good preacher and sometimes he needs a break). Rather, we have both been struggling and praying and seeking God and crying out for his will.
In light of this, I am going to write up how I came to be called by God to be a priest in his church. I am not going to post it here, but if you would like to read it, you can email me (see the bottom of my profile) and I will send it to you and be more than willing to discuss it on email. This will take me some time because I'm still writing up our day in Galilee and learning how to post slide shows. And, obviously, I should be cleaning my house. When I have it written, I will announce it here.
I am also, very trepidatiously and very carefully, going to try to write what I think God might be doing with Women's Ordination in the church. This also will be slow going because I'm going to write slowly and I'm going to send it to some people before I post it. In the meantime I ask that tonight you pray particularly for the Church of England and for those bishops and priests who have been utterly rejected by their colleagues, and have been essentially told that they are not needed in this church. However any of us feel about it. Trust and faith have been broken, the house is in ruins.