I had a priest tell me just the other day that he thinks it's totally inappropriate for a priest to be handling an adult woman at a baptism. I agree with him. With the climate of the times being what it is, especially (not that our church practices are determined by the climate of the time, but we do need to take extra care sometimes), we need to be especially careful about our priests handling women.
The climate of the times does bear consideration with regard to the influx of adult converts needing baptism in recent years.
Choirs, in the way we have them here in the US, are a Western innovation, and are foreign to the Church. Why are male choirs preferable? Are not women included in the commands we see in the Bible to raise our voices to the Lord? Why should women be excluded from this?
I don't think women should be excluded from singing. The resurgance of congregational singing in American Orthodox parishs strikes me as a very good think.
If I'm not mistaken, I believe to original move to well trained choirs in ages past was in support of the idea of "kallos" beauty. The worship of the Lord should be beautiful both theologically and in its expression. In public worship the male voice can express the depth and sobriety of our worship better than the female voice, generally speaking, since it is more or less restricted to an upper register (if that is the right musical term). It is well to remember both east and west until fairly recently male choirs were the norm in churches, with boys singing the highest note and adult men filling in the middle and lowest notes (granted some men can sing much higher than others). I'm not sure whether this was because of a strong sense of cultural impropriety about allowing mixed choirs, or women being thrust too much in the public eye or whether there is some undergirding theology that supports male only choirs. Personally I've not seen such theology, though I've heard it alluded to. So my guide at this point is a combination of the tradition that has come to us plus the "artistic" considerations given the natural range of the male voice as to what might be considered preferable. That said, I not aware of any prohibition of women singing. If the worship is beautiful sing away.
Really? Are you serious? Men's voices are better? That's not misogynistic, no not at all!
(that's the first time in all the time that I've been on this forum that I've ever used the rolling eyes face)
This is a perfect example of taking something that was a cultural norm and "Orthodoxing" it-- finding a reason to make it Orthodox so that we can stay within our comfort zone.
As far as the singing being beautiful, personally, I don't have a problem in that area (I don't say that to be boastful, only to make a point), so does that mean that, in your opinion, it's okay for me to chant? I do chant AT the chant stand with the men *gasp.* Does that mean that God appreciates the heartfelt praises of a tone deaf person less than those of a musically gifted person? That doesn't seem very nice of God.
A monastery is not a parish. When you say the female diaconate served in the altar in ancient times does that mean they carried tapers, fans, banners, etc. as those who serve there today do?
The Holy Altar is the Holy Altar, my friend, the same in the monastery as in a parish. Furthermore, we should be educating the laity, not indulging them in baseless, uneducated mythology. Making a distinction between a monastery and parish in this context doesn't hold water, I'm afraid. When I say the female diaconate served in the altar, I mean she distributed the Holy Eucharist, she helped with the baptisms of women, etc. I would say that both of those are more important than carrying fans in the Great Entrance, wouldn't you? This is another argument that doesn't hold water.
I am open to the possibility of being wrong on this point, but only if such a thing had strong roots inthe Tradition. That said, even it it is permissible in certain cases I really don't see it as a good thing especially in this day and age. It is wonderful that women are willing to serve, and willing to step in wherever there is need. But today's greatest gender need, if I can speak this way, is women insisting that men do their part and remain active and engaged. If it is easy for a woman to displace a man in these functions, soon enough only women will be doing it at all...the men will either associate it will something belonging more to women than to them or will just view it as another indication that their maleness has little meaning or place in the Church or the world.
I, too, am open to the possibility of being wrong, which is why I said that I follow what the Church decides, not me. I totally agree with you, as well, that there is a great need to encourage the men to serve. But this cannot be left to women to do. I think any married woman would tell you that it is often NOT we who our husbands listen to.
The men need to be encouraging eachother as well.
I'm speaking on my own, but I think in some manner these gender based service distinctions is part of the way the Church sacramentalizes what it is to be a male, a way of holding men responsible to the theological depths of what it means to be a male and make them accountable for the spiritual leadership of their homes and parishes. If women step in, like it or not, that element goes out the window.
I would love to see some theological support for this one.
In addition, though, just because a woman has a desire to serve does NOT make her anti-male or a feminist, or gender homogenizing. Did it ever occur to you that it has nothing to do with you? Or with men? At all? But rather a woman's genuine desire to serve?
But it does have something to do with me. I am a male. That maleness is not without theological meaning and not without theological responsibilty. Does it not occur to you that just because a woman can do something that does not mean she should do that thing. Femaleness has theological meaning too and when traditional liturgical roles in the Church get blurred so does that meaning for both genders.
No, no. What I mean is that a woman's desire to serve is not based in a desire to displace men. Her desire is not shaped by men at all. It is shaped by a heartfelt calling to serve God. And yes, it DOES occur to me that just because a woman can do something does not mean that she should. The guys on the forum who know me from HCHC (and there's a bunch of them) will tell you that I am the FIRST person to stand up and say that it is totally inappropriate, unnecessary, and heretical to ordain women to the priesthood. I absolutely 100% do NOT believe in the ordination of women to the priesthood. So yes, that DOES occur to me. It applies to men, though, as well (that just because they CAN do something doesn't mean that they should). Again, the lines have to be clear, and those lines should be drawn by theology and God's will, not by men's will and men's mythology.
As for desire to serve: If the desire is simply to serve then I'm sure there are a number of opportunities for service in a parish. If the desire is to serve in a particular role...then that risks serious problems. For example, I might want to be a priest and try everything I can to secure that ordination...but in reality a pursuit of ordination simply out of my private desire is a very strong reason to suggest that I should not be a priest. So I cannot look upon the service desires on the part of women for specific traditional male roles without at least a little suspicion. The more pushing I see to open this thing or that thing up on purely gender equality concerns, the less I'm inclined to think that its a good thing to do.
Why does that risk serious problems? If the lines are clear what a man OR woman may and may not do, where is the risk? I would abide by whatever the Church decides, personally.
Again, you are not getting it. It's not about gender equality. It has nothing to do with gender. A woman who TRULY desires to serve does NOT desire it simply to be equal to men. She desires it because she desires to serve God.
I would agree. Old custom is not the same as "The Tradition". An undergirding theology needs to be present and sound for the practices of the Church.
Cool, I love it when we agree!
How it flows is irrelevant.
I didn't say how it flows. I said how it CIRCULATES. The point being that it DOESN'T circulate through the body. The Holy Eucharist does not enter the menstrual blood because it's not circulating through the body. The one has nothing to do with the other.
It is still blood, and that it is a flow blood from a human body is what is important to this question. Nor is it a question of good or bad body functions. The relations between a man and woman in marriage are not bad, nor any of the body fluids involved. Indeed it can be very good since it can lead to new life. But new life or not, such activities and their consequential "flows" preclude access to the Holy Eucharist for a set amount of time. This is the Tradition and there is no brooking it in the name of modern sanitary practices and enlightened body function values.
Actually, very little of it is actually blood, just so you know. As I said before, though, this should be determined not by you (or me), but by one's spiritual father. Even I don't make decisions like that for myself. It's not up to my conscience. It's up to my spiritual father, and it's up to me ONLY TO OBEY him. So, no matter your personal interpretation of how MY body functions and no matter your personal interpretations of the canons, I'll obey my spiritual father on this one.
Consider the burial desanguination aspect. The blood of a recent communicant is saved and buried with them. This is because their body received the precious and life creating Holy Body and Blood of Christ our God. The human body tabernacles and ingests/incorporates that priceless gift, and that takes a little time to complete. I've read that if one reposes soon after taking holy communion one is escorted very quickly by many angels to the presence of the Lord. So if this is the case are you prepared to save any of the monthly flow from a day you took communion to be buried with you or else be disposed of in some prayerful and dignified way? Would you hand your priest a bag of your "deposits" for a proper disposal the same way you might an irreparialy damaged icon? If not, why not just follow the Tradition.
Or to illustrate it another way. When I was baptised and given my blessed garment, there were some loose threads that fell on the floor. My god mother picked them all up one by one, put them in a little baggie and told me to take care of them since they were blessed. I still have them after many years. If blessed cotton threads deserved such careful consideration, what of the very "life" of a human body who has recieved the Body and Blood of the Lord. Is it less special? It is treated worthily to trow it away like used sanitary products? No, of course not.
Those little anecdotes are cute and well intentioned, but not theologically binding, per se. Either way, as I said, I'll leave it up to my spiritual father.
Look, I'm not in favor of ordaining women to the priesthood, so let's get that out there before going any further. Because, inevitably, any woman who wants to serve in the church is labeled a "feminist," "anti-male," "modern," etc. That's a load, and we all know it. I AM in favor of a female diaconate, should the CHURCH (not you or me) decide that there is a need. I AM in favor of women being allowed to serve in the altar (as many already do, and with their bishop's blessings) because there is no reason to BAR women from heeding THEIR calling to serve. At the least, the distinction needs to be made that NO ONE, MALE OR FEMALE, should be in the altar without the priest's/bishop's blessing. This distinction is always lost.
I want to be sure I understand you correctly. Are you saying you don't believe in women in the priesthood because of certain labels that might be used for its supporters? If so then I would be inclined to read your disinclination more at not wanting to face the battle of labeling rather than any particular theologial preference/understanding in favor of an all male priesthood. If not please clairify.
No, you aren't understanding. I'm not in favor of women being ordained to the priesthood because it is not theologically sound, and because there's no precedent for it either in tradition or in the Holy Fathers. I don't care about the labels. What I was saying is a "load" is the assumption that women who subscribe to the beliefs that I do (the eradication of misogynistic mythology, the education of the laity, the drawing of clear lines based on theology) automatically favor the ordination of women to the priesthood. It's simply not true. Personally, I draw a VERY clear line. I don't have a problem with women in the altar (as long as they have the blessing). I don't have a problem with women chanting and reading. I don't have a problem with menstruating women approaching the chalice. I don't have a problem with women in the diaconate (as it was originally intended, not some changed, gender-equalized form where a deaconess would go out on the altar and read petitions-- this is not proper). I have a HUGE problem with the idea of women in the priesthood. Is that a little clearer? Sorry if it wasn't before.
As or what is an inevitable "load of it" that we all know, I must disagree for I do not "know" this. Of course I'm distinguishing between a desire to serve...and a desire to serve in the altar.
Again, the "load" was the label of "feminist" and "anti-male" applied to any woman with a desire to serve.
As for the restoration of the female diaconate, I agree is it a decision for the Church and not for either of us, though if the decision is made thoughtfully, prayerfully, and for theologically sound reasons keeping with the Tradition I would be in favor of it.
But to ignore these issues and brush them off as "feminist talk" is to ignore and brush off an entire HALF of humanity (whom God ALSO created in His image and likeness), not minister to them, and to set precedents that, no matter the fact that there is NO theological basis for it, women are just lesser than men. You may say that's stupid, or feminist, or modern or whatever. I say, I'm tired of hearing men like you brush me off. I say, it's time to EDUCATE the people and end the mythology. No, women should not be priests, but let's be clear about the reasons. I had a Sunday Schooler (a 16 year old) tell me she thinks women shouldn't be priests because Eve ate the apple and women are worse and lesser than men. This was three weeks ago. Is this what we should be teaching our children? No. We SHOULD be teaching them that the priesthood is not for women. But we should be teaching them the proper reasons why, and we should be drawing VERY clear lines about what is and isn't proper for women, BASED ON THEOLOGY, NOT ANTIQUATED MISOGYNISTIC MYTHOLOGY.
I do not think this is about brushing you off or your half the human race, but about resistance to the denaturing of the meaning of what it means to be male or female in the Church and in society. It is about resistance to a misguided entitlement driven gender focused liturgical egaletarianism.
I didn't mean me personally. I meant me symbolically as a woman in the church who desires to serve. But I will say that I think your assertion of "misguided entitlement driven gender focused liturgical egaletarianism" is WAY off base and offensive. You are assuming that women who desire to serve do so because they desire equality. That's just wrong. Equality has NOTHING to do with it. You'll never be able to bear children. I'll never be able to be a priest. Cool. Who cares? I just want to serve God. Make sense?
You say you are tired of being brushed off by men like me. It certainly was not my intent to make you feel brushed aside.
Don't worry about me. As I said, I didn't mean me personally. I meant me symbolically as a woman, and you symbolically as a man (with a certain belief system).
But neither was it my intent to pretend there are no differences between male and female and that those differences do have their own particular delimitations and theological role restrictions in the Church.
Neither was it my intention to pretend. There's no pretending going on here, my friend, except on the part of those who say there are theological reasons for women to be barred from entering and serving in the altar. That's pretending. Of course there are roles for us. Did not God make us man and woman? There's no doubt about that. Let's just be clear on what those roles are and WHY they are.
I do not doubt that women find some of it frustrating.
What we find frustrating is NOT the role limitations. It is the persistence of the misogynistic mythology behind the improper setting of limitations. It is running up against men who are set in their ways, threatened by women who desire to serve, unwilling to listen, and unwilling to answer questions. It is seeing the the limitations applied ONLY to women when they should be applied to men AND women-- such as having a blessing to enter the altar--- no man should be entering the altar without a blessing either, but it doesn't stop them. You don't see the faithful get scandalized when some random guy wanders into the altar in the middle of the service. He may not even be Orthodox! No one says a word. A woman even goes onto the solea and everyone holds their breath---is she going to go into the altar? Does she know she's not allowed? She went in!!!! *GASP* Never mind if she had the blessing from the bishop to go in and change the altar cloths (like little Georgia, an elderly lady in my home parish)! They see a woman walk in and it's, "Panagiamou," with everyone doing their cross like fifty times! A bit of a double standard, wouldn't you say?
But I don't think that kind of frustration is neccesarrily a bad thing. It serves to remind women of trouble that came to the human race because of our mother Eve's ursupation of God's given order. That is not a popular sentiment today, but it is not a condemnation of women...
You bet your baklava it's not popular!!! Why? BECAUSE IT ISN'T THEOLOGICALLY SOUND!!!!!!! In case you've forgotten, in the words of Nonna Verna Harrison in the article "Orthodox Arguments Against the Ordination of Women As Priests" (contained in the book Women and the Priesthood
, ed. Hopko, SVS Press, 1999, pg 170), "Orthodox Christians believe that the consequences of Eve's sin have been healed and redeemed through the pure, freely chosen and obedient birthgiving of the Mother of God. Within the life of the Church, she has replaced Eve as the paradigm of womanhood..."
So, there are plenty of reasons for women to be barred from the priesthood. This ain't one of them.
any more than a woman's covering in Church is a condemnation of the angels (it is done for the sake of the angels...a reminder to them of the value and safety of submission to God above self will). That submission could be such a gift. Mothers and sisters could insist that their men not shirk their duties within the Church...hold them accountable for being male in a good way...rather than competing with them for what some regard as a trophy of power-equity.
Competing? Trophy? Power-equity? Again, you (not surprisingly) have the wrong idea here. To reduce this issue to nothing more than power-equity and gender competition is to do a TRUE disservice to men AND women, and is exactly what I was talking about as being frustrating and "brushing off." You brush it off as being about those things. It's not. Why are you so threatened by it, anyway? Because reducing it to these things is indicative that you don't want to deal with the real issues. Is that because the answers may be contrary to your narrow world view? Hmmm....
As for your Sunday School teacher's evaluation of Eve's part in the Fall...that's a little wince worthy in my book as well.
First off, she wasn't my teacher. She was my STUDENT. I am her teacher.
Second, what does a "little wince worthy" mean, anyway?
As for antiquated mysogenistic mythology, I'm no more for it than I am for modern mysanthropic mythology. I am a Traditionalist, and I am quite patriarchal, no doubt, in my mindset which I think is entirely proper to faith and to society. No appologies there. I too share your concern for sound theologial foundations for our praxis.
Glad to hear it.
For the record, by the way, I don't really care all that much, personally, about serving in the altar. I don't feel a strong desire myself to enter the altar to serve. I chant at the chant stand, which is where I believe God wants me. My bishop says God gave me ten denarii in my voice, and I must use it. So I do. Serving in the altar would keep me from doing that. I don't believe that's God's will for me. And truthfully, I've grown up in the Holy Orthodox Church of Christ same as everyone else here, and I'm now married to a priest, so seeing women serving in the altar would freak me out and make me a little uncomfortable (though I know of one parish in our metropolis that has had altar girls for many, many years-- I have never attended it, though, as it is a LONG drive south). So that said... my problem is not in my personal barring from service in the altar, or in the barring of women in general. My problem is with the misogynistic mythology that people give as reasons FOR barring women from service. My problem is with promoting and continuing that mythology, rather than educating and correcting. My problem is with allowing the will and pride of men to dictate the practices of the Church, rather than sound theology. If the Church says that the women should be barred from the altar with sound theological reasoning for it, then I will by all means shut my mouth. But the Church has not said this so far, and yet... here we are. This is my problem.
However if in my tone or my ignorance, which I'm sure if greater than I imagine, I ask your forgiveness for this cheifest and most verbose of sinners.
God forgives and I forgive, though it is not necessary. You have said nothing to offend me. Things I disagree with, sure. But we can disagree and still love.
Forgive me a sinner,