Holding Salvation

For those unaware, a firestorm has been ignited over the decision of Bishop Matthias (OCA) of Chicago to no longer allow laity to hold the altar cloths at communion.  Apparently in his announcement of his decisions, he explicitly mentioned his discomfort that women had contact with sacred things.  While he denied this in a letter, it is women who bear the brunt of this decision, and who have no recourse (short of monasticism) to obtain the tonsure that might “rectify” their lay status.  Many reasons are floating around to explain away this unfortunate bind.  I will address some of them in future posts.

Today, I am addressing the reason that woke me up in the wee hours of the morning:  Female participation in liturgical service around the holy things is not necessary for their salvation.  Therefore, the women who dare to desire these ministries are being told to just let it go.

Gender, Ordination and Same-sex relationships: An unavoidable association?

Yes, the lines have been drawn, and not where I would have liked. We must engage in meaningful debates, and we must not duck the issues. But contrary to what Farley says, issues of sex and sexuality are theological issues and iconoclasm indeed rises again. We make idols of stereotypical images of gender and sex and hang them over the heads of real women and men. We are not destroying painted images, but women and men who are uniquely made in the image of God. By doing so, we fail to recognize the unique image of God within each and every man and woman, an image which cannot be reduced to gendered stereotypes of any kind.

If challenging gender-roles on behalf of women simultaneously causes us to consider the possibility that same-sex relationships are fruitful ground for the growth of the Spirit, the so be it. I would rather be on the side of encouraging faith, hope, love, compassion, kindness and self-control wherever it appears than associate myself with such a demeaning polemic.

Humility or Humiliation?

A question: how can this monastery [which excludes women from its premesis] be a source of liturgical worship…and yet, not be a whole church? By excluding a whole half of the faithful? Is this the vision of the church? I cannot imagine being satisfied with going to the door and being fed water. Why are we so happy to receive such crumbs?”

An answer: monastaries can post the following,

Our dear sister [brother] in Christ, we ask your forgiveness but we cannot invite you in to join us. We are learning to focus on God, and in our weakness, are too easily distracted from our task by your God-given image. We ask patience for our weakness, and humbly ask that you pray that we become able to enter into the joy of God’s reign with you at our sides.

Our Sympathetic Mother

Clement of Alexandria (Wikipedia, OthodoxWiki), from Who is the Rich Man Who Will be Saved?:
Consider the mysteries of love, and you will then have a vision of the bosom of the Father, whom the only-begotten God alone has declared. God himself is love, and for the sake of this love he made himself known. And while the unutterable nature of God is as a Father, his sympathy with us is as a Mother. It was in his love that the Father became the nature which derives from woman [or, 'feminine', ἐθηλύθη], and the great proof of this is the Son whom he begot from himself, and the love that was the fruit produced from his love.
'Intertextual' Evdokimov mariagwyn Mon, 11/07/2011 - 11:07

This blog was described to me recently as ‘irenic.’ This is a surprising compliment given that those who know me in person would likely describe me with other, less peaceful, words. That my writing is ‘irenic’ is a testament to the power of editing, of taking a deep breath, and a conviction that words must, whenever possible, be spoken with love and respect. But sometimes, when respect is impossible, taking a deep breath is overrated, and serves merely to hide the suffering inflicted by my church and its well-intentioned theologians. Theologians who seem to have no idea, as Metr.

Response to Linsley on "Why Women Were Never Priests"

John Sanidopoulos, whose posts on tidbits of Orthodox tradition and the Saints I enjoy reading, re-posted an article by Alice Linsley today.  Linsley is a former Episcopalian priest who left the priesthood and eventually joined the Orthodox Church.  She appears to be a sort of living proof-text used by some Orthodox assure us that women are not called to the priesthood (except, as she says in one explanation of both her call and eventual departure, when men fail to serve.  Only then does God call women to serve in this capacity.)  Since my response was a bit longer than most comments warrant, I decided to post it here.  

The Mystagogy post is here, and the original post at Preachers Institute is here.

Wanderings and Wonderings About Women and Walls mariagwyn Sun, 06/15/2008 - 21:14

In Communion recently published a wonderful article by Dr. Demetra Velisarios on women in the church. Here is a snippet, but the whole article is well stated and should be read by all concerned! [quote=Demetra Jaquet]The walls which most need to be pointed out between men and women are primarily the walls of fear, defensiveness and ego which we have built around ourselves, causing us to harm others on a sliding scale from occasional minor offenses to extreme and chronic paralyzing abuse.

Subscribe to gender