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Priestesses in the Church? ... from Jack's God in the Dock

Comprising most of Lewis' writings.

Priestesses in the Church? ... from Jack's God in the Dock

Postby Tuke » 30 Aug 2007, 14:32

If Jack were alive today, would he leave the Anglican/Episcopal Church, perhaps following TS Eliot as an Anglo-Catholic, Walter Hooper as a Roman Catholic, or wherever? The reason I ask is because the Anglican Church seems at odds with some of Jack's positions as stated in God in the Dock.

Note: My knowledge of the Anglican/Episcopal Church is limited, but I'm quite comfortable with Jack's doctrinal alignment.
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"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

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Postby rusmeister » 31 Aug 2007, 04:06

I'm sure he would (assuming he held the same views today that he held then).
In Lewis's time, the Anglican Church was still quite traditional and very close to Orthodoxy, so much so that in the 1920's there were serious talks of rapproachment between representatives of the Anglican and eastern Orthodox Churches.

A lot of people have left both the Episcopalian and Anglican Churches because they had gone there from more liberal traditions seeking a more traditional Christianity* only to find them changing their doctrine, too, and ceasing to be traditional. The only places left to go from there are the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches. Traditionally (dontcha love that word?) people went to Rome (Hi, Stanley! :smile: ), as Orthodoxy was largely unknown in the West, but with the growing awareness of the Orthodox Church we are getting a real influx of former Protestants seeking a Church that doesn't change its doctrines every few decades or so, which, let's face it, are the ultimate foundation of a faith, and a test of whether it is true or not.


*(understood by the people who react like Pavlov's dogs when they see the word 'tradition' and holler "traditions of men!" to be that which is faithfully passed down from generation to generation, which is precisely what the True Church of Christ should be doing.)
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Postby Karen » 31 Aug 2007, 12:43

I just came across this article about evangelicals joining the Orthodox church and thought about you, rus: http://www.tnr.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20070827&s=zengerle082707. (It may require you to register, but this article is free.)
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Postby rusmeister » 31 Aug 2007, 18:16

Karen wrote:I just came across this article about evangelicals joining the Orthodox church and thought about you, rus: http://www.tnr.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20070827&s=zengerle082707. (It may require you to register, but this article is free.)


Thanks, Karen!
Actually, I can return the favor! Ellsworth's story is on interview at Ancient Faith radio - a super internet station that I highly recommend to everybody - being Orthodox is not required! What is especially notable about Ellsworth's story is that he experienced the best of evangelical Christianity - he can't be accused of having a bad experience in 38 years as a successful pastor.

AFR:
http://www.ancientfaithradio.com/

Fr Ellsworth's interview:
http://ancientfaithradio.com/specials/interviews
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Postby Stanley Anderson » 31 Aug 2007, 20:07

rusmeister wrote:Traditionally (dontcha love that word?) people went to Rome (Hi, Stanley! :smile: ), as Orthodoxy was largely unknown in the West


I'm sure that what you say could be true for many converts -- not sure. But at least in our case, one of the things that held us back for the 24 years we were at our Anglican Church was the continual debate in our minds about whether to pick the Orthodox or Roman Catholic route, as during that period of debate they both held out seemingly strong merits. So it was not, for us anyway, a matter of not being aware of the choice, but was in fact the thing that caused us to take so long (something we now wish we had made a decision about a lot sooner -- a common feeling among converts I hear).

Priestesses in the Church?


Anyway, I'd like to suggest an idea I've presented here before. It is an idea that, agree or not, I would guess could only be appreciated and discussed with any sensibility by Orthodox or Catholics since it hinges on something else that most Protestants do not hold to in the first place, so they wouldn't be able to get to the point of where discussion could even begin (but perhaps I am wrong -- any comments by anyone are welcome of course). I'll also stress that it is only a possible idea I'm presenting, and not any kind of doctrinal issue or solidly believed idea by me. Just an idea that might be interesting to discuss. (Also, it will be connected directly with the thread's title specifically, and not the more general sounding comments in the text of Tuke's post -- though the specifics of the subject line may have been the intention of the post's text)

The idea I want to present is that I wonder if the drive or sense of importance to have women in the role of priests, whatever the theological reasons given, is somehow more intimately connected with the removal in most Protestant churches of the place that Mary occupies in Catholicism (Orthodox or Roman). And that this removal leaves a spirtually "insistant" vacuum of a sorts in the Christian heart that demands to be filled with something. And lacking the rich Marian aspects of the Catholic traditions, that vacuum draws out a desire for another kind of feminine aspect to take its place?

I realize that Protestants who embrace the idea of women in the priesthood will probably recoil and talk about Scriptural reasons for or against the idea, and those discussions have much value. I'm just tossing out an idea that I suggest may also play a deep, almost unconscious role in the process too. Again, not sure of it, but I think it may have some merit.

Any thoughts?

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Tuke » 31 Aug 2007, 20:44

Please excuse me for quoting Lewis rather than explaining him myself. Sometimes God in the Dock is more of a master for this inadequate servant. I may prove a better editor than commentator.



---------------------------------------------- Priestesses in the Church? (Notes on the Way) -----------------------------------------------

".... These remarks... came into my head when I heard that the Church of England was being advised to declare women capable of Priests' Orders. I am, indeed, informed that such a proposal is very unlikely to be seriously considered by the authorities. [!] To take such a revolutionary step ... would be an almost wanton degree of imprudence. And the Church of England herself would be torn in shreds by the operation....
.... I am tempted to say that the proposed arrangement would make us much more rational 'but not near so much like a Church'.
.... To us a priest... represents us to God and God to us.... Why should a woman not in this sense represent God?....
.... Suppose the reformer stops saying that a good woman may be like God and begins saying that God is like a good woman. Suppose he says that we might just as well pray to 'Our Mother which art in heaven' as to 'Our Father'. Suppose he suggests that the Incarnation might just as well have taken a female as a male form, and the Second Person of the Trinity be as well called the Daughter as the Son. Suppose, finally, that the mystical marriage were reversed, that the Church were the Bridegroom and Christ the Bride. All this, as it seems to me, is involved in the claim that a woman can represent God as a priest does.
Now it is surely the case that if all these supposals were ever carried into effect we should be embarked on a different religion....
.... And this is surely intolerable: or, if tolerable, it is an argument not in favour of Christian priestesses but against Christianity. ....a child who has been taught to pray to a Mother in heaven would have a religious life radically different from that of a Christian child....
....One of the ends for which sex was created was to symbolize to us the hidden things of God. One of the functions of human marriage is to express the nature of the union between Christ and the Church. We have no authority to take the living and semitive figures which God has painted on the canvas of our nature and shift them about as if they were mere geometrical figures.
....The Church claims to be the bearer of a revelation. If that claim is false then we want not to make priestesses but to abolish priests. If it is true, then we should expect to find in the Church an element which unbelievers will call irrational and which believers will call supra-rational....
It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege, or the burden, which Christianity lays upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are, in our actual and historical individualities, to fill the place prepared for us. But it is an old saying in the army that you salute the uniform not the wearer. Only one wearing the masculine uniform can (provisionally, and till the Parousia) represent the Lord to the Church: for we are all, corporately and individually, feminine to Him. We men may often make very bad priests. That is because we are insufficiently masculine. It is no cure to call in those who are not masculine at all. A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles....
....With the Church... we are dealing with male and female not merely as facts of nature but as the live and awful shadows of realities utterly beyond our control and largely beyond our direct knowledge. Or rather, we are not dealing with them but (as we shall soon learn if we meddle) they are dealing with us."
CSL 14 August 1948
Last edited by Tuke on 01 Sep 2007, 00:34, edited 4 times in total.
"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

2 Corinthians IV.17 The Weight of Glory
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Postby Karen » 31 Aug 2007, 21:07

I'm interested in CSL's alarm at "our mother in heaven" along with Stanley's point about Mary. How do these mesh, if at all?

Suppose the reformer stops saying that a good woman may be like God and begins saying that God is like a good woman.


This would be just as bad, surely, if we started saying that God was like a good man? I think CSL's list of 'supposes' is a list of straw (dare I say) women. :wink:
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Postby Tuke » 31 Aug 2007, 21:17

Stanley Anderson wrote:
Priestesses in the Church?
.... (Also, it will be connected directly with the thread's title specifically, and not the more general sounding comments in the text of Tuke's post -- though the specifics of the subject line may have been the intention of the post's text) ....
Any thoughts?
Yes, but please read Jack's first.
In addition to the ordination of women, I also had in mind the global revolution of homosexual ordination which Lewis does not specifically dream of, but forebodes.
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"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

2 Corinthians IV.17 The Weight of Glory
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Postby Tuke » 31 Aug 2007, 21:23

Karen wrote:I'm interested in CSL's alarm at "our mother in heaven" along with Stanley's point about Mary. How do these mesh, if at all?

Suppose the reformer stops saying that a good woman may be like God and begins saying that God is like a good woman.


This would be just as bad, surely, if we started saying that God was like a good man? I think CSL's list of 'supposes' is a list of straw (dare I say) women. :wink:
"Only God is good." But remember, He was also a man.
I'll leave the mariology to others. I stand with Blaise Pascal: "Each of us has a God shaped vacuum in our heart which only Jesus can fill."
"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

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Re: Ecce ancilla

Postby Karen » 31 Aug 2007, 22:15

Tuke wrote:"Only God is good." But remember, He was also a man.


Yes, of course. What I meant was that he was much more than what most people mean by "a good man". For example, Abraham Lincoln was a good man, but Jesus isn't like him.
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Postby Tuke » 31 Aug 2007, 22:30

I'm created in the image of God. To the extent that I'm like Jesus, then He's like me.
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Re: Ecce ancilla

Postby Stanley Anderson » 31 Aug 2007, 22:35

Karen wrote:
Tuke wrote:"Only God is good." But remember, He was also a man.


Yes, of course. What I meant was that he was much more than what most people mean by "a good man". For example, Abraham Lincoln was a good man, but Jesus isn't like him.


Isn't it really the other way around though -- ie, that we are much less than what people should mean by "a good man"? In other words, people often talk as though our sinfulness is part of our "humanity" so that we almost think of Jesus as not being fully "human" since he was without sin. But I suggest that it is we, precisely because of our sinful nature, that are not fully human -- ie, that the fall and our sinful nature "took away" part of our humanity. We did not "gain" a sinful nature that was somehow "added" onto our human nature, but that the sinful nature was more like a chunk of our human nature being taken away from us -- our sinful nature is really a "hole" or "missing portion" if you will.

So Jesus (his human nature anyway) was not "more" than a "good man" -- he WAS precisely a good man. It is we who, in our fallenness, are "less" than a "good man". (How this all relates to the nature of the priesthood is, I think, possibly connected, but of such a bigger matter that I'll have to pass on that here for the moment -- gotta leave for home)

--Stanley
…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Tuke » 31 Aug 2007, 22:55

Your comments remind me of Jack's "The Weight of Glory" which is based upon 2nd Corinthians IV.15-17.
"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

2 Corinthians IV.17 The Weight of Glory
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Postby Tuke » 31 Aug 2007, 23:52

rusmeister wrote:I'm sure he would (assuming he held the same views today that he held then).
In Lewis's time, the Anglican Church was still quite traditional and very close to Orthodoxy, so much so that in the 1920's there were serious talks of rapproachment between representatives of the Anglican and eastern Orthodox Churches. ....
There's talk of rapprochement and comity today between the representatives. Unfortunately, it's twisting Left rather than Right, as Lewis portended.
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"The 'great golden chain of Concord' has united the whole of Edmund Spenser's world.... Nothing is repressed; nothing is insubordinate. To read him is to grow in mental health." The Allegory Of Love (Faerie Queene)

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Re: Ecce ancilla

Postby Karen » 01 Sep 2007, 00:23

Stanley Anderson wrote:Isn't it really the other way around though -- ie, that we are much less than what people should mean by "a good man"? In other words, people often talk as though our sinfulness is part of our "humanity" so that we almost think of Jesus as not being fully "human" since he was without sin. But I suggest that it is we, precisely because of our sinful nature, that are not fully human -- ie, that the fall and our sinful nature "took away" part of our humanity. We did not "gain" a sinful nature that was somehow "added" onto our human nature, but that the sinful nature was more like a chunk of our human nature being taken away from us -- our sinful nature is really a "hole" or "missing portion" if you will.


Yes - I think I agree with this, although I'll have to ponder it more....
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