Is Jesus human, or male? Addressing Giertych, Part 1.

In the Incarnation, Christ’s humanity includes all that makes both men and women human. If we say that his full humanity leads to the ‘male character’ of any human role or relationship such as priesthood, then we are implying one of two things: either he is not fully human as he did not assume whatever it is that constitutes female humanity, or we declare that only maleness contains full humanity, and that females may not actually be fully human. The former denies the ecumenical formulation of Chalcedon, it constitutes heresy. Orthodox would never agree to such a thing. At least not intentionally.

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.

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.

Why can't you be satisfied?

Question: So many opportunities exist for women in the Church, why are you so concerned about the priesthood? Women can be parish council presidents, Sunday school teachers, the wives of priests, why do they need more? Why can't you be satisfied with what you already have?

A Paucity of Imagination

“I can’t imagine women in the altar, as priests, deacons, alter servers….”  These are the words of a kind and thoughtful 91-year old man who has spent his whole life in the church, whose children serve the church in a variety of significant capacities.  His is a distressed response to what was likely the first conversation he has ever heard regarding the possibility of women priests in the Orthodox church.

Nicholas Afanasiev, Gifts, and Ordination

Nicholas Afanasiev is very concerned to clearly pair ministry with gifts, and ensure that the church remains charismatic rather than subject to law. “Activity in the Church equals ministry and ministry presupposes a corresponding charism, for there can be no ministry in the Church without the gifts of the Spirit” (61). Conversely, if a charism has not been given to an individual, the individual cannot perform the ministry associated with the charism.

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