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Author Topic: Ordination of Women in the Orthodox Church  (Read 178014 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #1035 on: February 01, 2007, 02:25:35 AM »

From a discussion on my blog about this very thing:
Quote from: The Ochlophobist
The "no male or female" in Christ refers to ontology, not function... We, more than any other Christian theological tradition, can understand theologically how a person might be completely ontologically equal to another, yet act in a manner of complete submission to that other person. Part of the revelation of the Incarnation revealed at Theophany is that specific revelation of the Triune life that witnesses the peaceful coexistence of divine hierarchy and equality. At every level of the Church's life we see hierarchy and equality standing side by side. This is true with men's and women's roles as well. The Christic egalitarianism/Eucharistic egalitarianism does not allow for a functional egalitarianism in the Church.

Another thing that is interesting to note is that modern Orthodox theologians who speak about the possibility of women's ordination use language of interpretation that is essentially text-criticism based. It is no secret that +Ware changed directions regarding the hypothetical possibility of women's ordination after encountering Orthodox feminist literature. I will not deny, as a hypothesis, that if one uses a text critical interpretive apparatus within Orthodox theology, one can arrive at the possibility of women's ordination in the Orthodox Church. But, that said, the Tradition does not use text criticism to interpret itself. Tradition interprets itself in a symbolic/iconic manner. This method of self interpretation will always maintain the Essence/Energy, equality/hierarchy, ontology/function distinctions. To ordain women would be to erase the distinction.

(Full discussion here.)

Regarding the "no male and female" citation:

Quote from: St. Paul
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.

(So much for ontology determining function, thus erasing said ontological gender distinction -- no like distinction regarding the function of elder is given according to race)

Regarding the use of "fairness" and "equality" as a touchstone for ordaining women:

Quote from: Fr. Alexander Schmemann
Wednesday, February 11,1976

Why can't a woman be a priest?...I am more and more surprised, not by the topic of the discussion, but by what comes to light about theology.  It is impossible to find decisive arguments either for or against ordination--decisive in the sense of being objectively convincing for both sides.

Our contemporary culture...is an experience of negativism, rebellion, protest. The whole concept of liberation is totally negative. The idea, "all people are equal," is one of the most erroneous roots a priori.  Then follows, "all people are free," "love is always positive"...any limitation is oppressive.  If we start the discussion with an abstract, unreal, unnatural "equality" between men and women, no argument is possible. We have to start by exposing, unmasking this principle as false because it is an abstract invention. The whole contemporary culture must be rejected with its spiritual, false, even demonic premises. On never achieves anything by comparison--the source of envy (why he, not I?), protest (we must be equal), then anger, rebellion and division. 

...

To the demonic principle of comparison, Christianity opposes love. The essence of love is the total absence of "comparison." Equality cannot exist in this world because the world was created by love and not by principles.  And the world thirsts for love and not equality. Nothing--and we know it--kills love, replaces it with hate, as much as the equality forced upon the world as a goal and a value.
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« Reply #1036 on: February 01, 2007, 07:55:33 AM »

From a discussion on my blog about this very thing:
Quote
The "no male or female" in Christ refers to ontology, not function...

Yes, it does refer to ontology, rather than discipline...and that is why I hold it in such high regard, it is an ontological truth that transcends culture and society. It is the essence of who we are, it is the essence of our relationship with our neighbour, and it is the essence of our relationship with the Divine. In fact, I would present that as being the very definition of sin...function not following ontology.

(We often speak of sin as missing the mark, well what is that mark? It's not God, per se, because we cannot say that one is in sin for not being the ontological source of all things, yet this would be necessary to be 'on the mark' relative to God. Rather this mark is that which we were created for, it is our ontology, defined primarily by our relationships with God and our fellow men...so I like your distinction though I believe it to ultimately support my position).

Quote
Regarding the "no male and female" citation:

(So much for ontology determining function, thus erasing said ontological gender distinction -- no like distinction regarding the function of elder is given according to race)

Well, my Mickey Mouse Theology used 'Cursed' and 'Blessed' rather than 'Elder' and 'Younger'...the problem is that it was an example of doing theology based on existentialism rather than ontology...which results in dogmatizing men's sin, since sin cannot be separated from our existential experience. Oh, and haven't you noticed that Paul was simply wrong in this verse? Adam was deceived.

Quote
Regarding the use of "fairness" and "equality" as a touchstone for ordaining women:

So basically his argument is that we can't ordain women because women are equal in today's society and everything our society does must be wrong...sounds like he needed to be shipped back to communist Russia so he wouldn't have to deal with our demonic enlightened culture. While his nonsense arguments against the Oecumenical Throne were the reason I grew to dislike the man, his equally poorly thought out arguments against the ordination of women caused me to lose any respect I might have still had for his 'academic' work.
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« Reply #1037 on: February 01, 2007, 09:44:43 AM »

Christ choose all Jewish Males for his ministry...do note he didn't choose any Africans...or any other non-Jews for that matter.

Were there any Africans where Jesus' ministry was started?  I know women were there, but I'm assuming the Africans were still in Africa.  Jesus commissioned the Apostles to go to all the nations--that sounds pretty inclusive to me.
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« Reply #1038 on: February 01, 2007, 09:52:59 AM »

Were there any Africans where Jesus' ministry was started?  I know women were there, but I'm assuming the Africans were still in Africa.  Jesus commissioned the Apostles to go to all the nations--that sounds pretty inclusive to me.


There obviously were. Ethiopians seem pretty African to me.

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« Reply #1039 on: February 01, 2007, 10:40:25 AM »

James, I see you forgot to turn off your sarcasm button this a.m.  Wink  What I meant was that the only time Jesus went to Africa was to Egypt as an infant--I don't recall that He ever went to Africa during his ministry, i.e., He wouldn't have had the opportunity to choose any Africans as Disciples/Apostles, but He would and did have the opportunity to choose women.
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« Reply #1040 on: February 01, 2007, 11:21:49 AM »

James, I see you forgot to turn off your sarcasm button this a.m.  Wink  What I meant was that the only time Jesus went to Africa was to Egypt as an infant--I don't recall that He ever went to Africa during his ministry, i.e., He wouldn't have had the opportunity to choose any Africans as Disciples/Apostles, but He would and did have the opportunity to choose women.


So how did the Ethiopian prince end up in Palestine to be preached to in Acts?  I'm not saying that Jesus chose any Ethiopians (none of the 3, 12 or 70, the three major groups that were chosen) were Ethiopian.  The Myhrr-bearers were chosen but not chosen - they were around for His ministry, and were the chosen vessels for proclaiming the resurrection, but they weren't around for some of His private teachings and whatnot.
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« Reply #1041 on: February 01, 2007, 12:18:35 PM »

By chariot. Grin  The Ethiopian was a eunuch not a prince and had come to Jerusalem to worship.  Anyway, Acts is after Jesus' time.
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« Reply #1042 on: February 01, 2007, 12:28:43 PM »

By chariot. Grin  The Ethiopian was a eunuch not a prince and had come to Jerusalem to worship.  Anyway, Acts is after Jesus' time.


(Thanks for the correction - it's been years since I've read Acts, which is a total shame)

Wow, you missed the point. There were Africans in Palestine, and it's recorded in scripture!  Even if Acts is after Jesus' time, I highly doubt that the one mentioned in Acts was the first Ethiopian to Palestine.  So the potential was there for an African to become a disciple simply because they were around and could have followed Him (they even could have been in "the multitude" of the various stories).  In fact, there probably were sizeable numbers in Jerusalem on the high holy days - Acts attests to the fact that Jews and believers from all over the world would come for the major feastdays (hence, the miracle of the Apostles speaking in tongues on Pentecost).
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« Reply #1043 on: February 01, 2007, 01:15:25 PM »

Sorry--I've been distracted by the snow/ice today.  We don't get it that often, so it throws a monkey wrench into everything when we do!
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« Reply #1044 on: February 01, 2007, 11:06:26 PM »

So how did the Ethiopian prince end up in Palestine to be preached to in Acts?  I'm not saying that Jesus chose any Ethiopians (none of the 3, 12 or 70, the three major groups that were chosen) were Ethiopian.  The Myhrr-bearers were chosen but not chosen - they were around for His ministry, and were the chosen vessels for proclaiming the resurrection, but they weren't around for some of His private teachings and whatnot.

Substituting "Ethiopian" for "Gentile," what about St. Luke the Evangelist and Physician (and iconographer)?

God bless.
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« Reply #1045 on: February 02, 2007, 04:07:30 AM »

Quote
Yes, it does refer to ontology, rather than discipline

If Liturgical roles do not reflect iconic roles, but rather must be sticking quite close to ontology, then I find no point theologically in ordaining bishops or doing a full liturgy that we do.  There really is no point in the laying of hands, since God's grace ontologically is equal upon all, and perhaps, Protestants were right when applying the verse that we are all priests.  The whole idea of a priesthood and episcopacy really is worthless, and a three-hour liturgy is worthless, where you can simply get to the basics and then do some spontaneous prayers that are not influenced by the Jewish way of praying, unless people really like that.

I do not mean what I wrote above in a rude manner.  For the past couple of hours I was really thinking about the particular concept of the priesthood and the Liturgy itself in the light of what is presented.  To me, they also are nothing but a bunch of evolved Jewish practices as equally as forbidding the female to priesthood.  Why should a priest baptize, or why there be ordination ceremonies, or why should a priest marry two people?

Quote
(We often speak of sin as missing the mark, well what is that mark? It's not God, per se, because we cannot say that one is in sin for not being the ontological source of all things, yet this would be necessary to be 'on the mark' relative to God. Rather this mark is that which we were created for, it is our ontology, defined primarily by our relationships with God and our fellow men...so I like your distinction though I believe it to ultimately support my position).

What does the ontological role of sin have anything to do with the iconic role of the Liturgy?

God bless.
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« Reply #1046 on: February 02, 2007, 04:19:52 AM »

(Thanks for the correction - it's been years since I've read Acts, which is a total shame)

Wow, you missed the point. There were Africans in Palestine, and it's recorded in scripture!  Even if Acts is after Jesus' time, I highly doubt that the one mentioned in Acts was the first Ethiopian to Palestine.  So the potential was there for an African to become a disciple simply because they were around and could have followed Him (they even could have been in "the multitude" of the various stories).  In fact, there probably were sizeable numbers in Jerusalem on the high holy days - Acts attests to the fact that Jews and believers from all over the world would come for the major feastdays (hence, the miracle of the Apostles speaking in tongues on Pentecost).

Yeah, that was my point, too, though perhaps I shpuld have expanded on the one liner. There's a long tradition of Judaism in Ethiopia and the presence of the Ethiopian in Acts is an indication not just that Judaism had reached Ethiopia but hat Ethiopians (presumably Jewish ones) had reached Judea. That's all I meant.

James
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« Reply #1047 on: February 02, 2007, 11:22:00 AM »

Serge,

Quote
Some who want to do that tear down so much of the faith to reach that goal - 'Jesus didn't found a church', 'orders are man-made for the good order of the church and not divinely instituted' - that it's self-refuting. If that's all Jesus and the church are, says the modern person, then who cares what sex its clergy are? I'll do something else on Sunday.

The better argument, that it's a matter of discipline that can be changed, falls because the larger church including the past > everything else. It's never been done.

If you accept all that then the stuff about equality but complementarity of the sexes slots into place.

I basically agree with you, but with one reservation - the whole "equality" thing.

So long as people in general are different (and this applies not simply to gender issues), they cannot all be "equal."  I strongly believe it's only because of our egalitarian brainwashing that we even feel the need to phrase things in this way.  I still even catch myself using phrases like this.

What matters is not 'equality', but what is just, what is fair.  And what is fair to one person, is not fair to another.

While some say that we at least have "equality before God", I don't think even that is true. That would kind of make the wisdom of "to who much is given..." pointless.  Indeed, can it be denied that the Mother of God was prdestined to a greater glory than the rest of humanity?  That doesn't sound very egalitarian to me.
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« Reply #1048 on: February 02, 2007, 12:01:23 PM »

GiC,

Quote
Yes, Christ did overcome both, he said that there is no male or female, no Greek or Jew, in Christ...today our culture has also made great strides in overcoming both...but the church is a bit behind, though she has made great progress in overcoming racism, she has done very little to overcome sexism, it is necessary that we make efforts to overcome as much.
,

No, St.Paul said this.  Now, if you piously believe (as I do) that this was Christ speaking in/through St.Paul, great!  We're on the same page then.  Likewise, it was the same Christ speaking through the same Apostle with regard to women keeping silent in the House of God, not presuming to teach a man, practicing a special modesty within the Church (head covering), etc. Smiley

Of course, you do have a whole point about "cultural context", and context in general when reading the Scriptures (ex. the different types of literature in Scripture, etc.)  That's all fine, and on the surface it would seem we agree on this.  One could go on about how in the cultural context St.Paul was operating within, women with shortly cropped hair were seen as prostitutes and otherwise indecent or how long hair on a man was perceived by the Romans as being a quality of either the luxuriantly effeminate, or barbarians (hence, "uncivilized" peoples - like the Jews!)  But when the man begins discussing gender roles in relation to the story of creation, and is clearly delving into ontology, to just flippantly chaulk this up to "St.Paul living in the not-so-good-ole'-days" isn't possible.  Well, it's not possible for a Christian at least.

And once again, I'm still wondering which cultural considerations you're thinking of that would have prevented the Apostles and early Bishops from laying hands upon women if such were indeed possible?  They certainly were not of the Roman world, which as I've mentioned before, was filled with it's various "goddess cults" and priestesses.  Certainly, had the Apostles come ordaining women to the Episcopate, it wouldn't have shocked those "goy" sensibilities.  It's really only once the Roman world was widely Christianized, that this deep distaste for the notion of a "priestess" set in.  Indeed, if one is of the mind to say that traditional gender roles are of themselves "unjust", it's not the Jews or the Gentiles you can blame for this, but those "evil, intolerant Christians".  If that's what one wants to believe, fair enough (they're wrong, but still, fair enough)...but let's just not pretend it's a Christian thought.
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« Reply #1049 on: February 02, 2007, 12:12:27 PM »

Substituting "Ethiopian" for "Gentile," what about St. Luke the Evangelist and Physician (and iconographer)?

Is this to suggest that St Luke was Gentile? If so, how could he have been? Weren't the first Gentile converts Cornelius and his household? That wasn't until after St Peter had received his vision in Joppa (Acts 9), which was probably several years after the resurrection. If St Luke was one of the seventy as tradition claims, then he would have been a Jew; perhaps a Hellenic-Jew?
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« Reply #1050 on: February 02, 2007, 01:37:41 PM »

And once again, I'm still wondering which cultural considerations you're thinking of that would have prevented the Apostles and early Bishops from laying hands upon women if such were indeed possible?  They certainly were not of the Roman world, which as I've mentioned before, was filled with it's various "goddess cults" and priestesses.  Certainly, had the Apostles come ordaining women to the Episcopate, it wouldn't have shocked those "goy" sensibilities.  It's really only once the Roman world was widely Christianized, that this deep distaste for the notion of a "priestess" set in.  Indeed, if one is of the mind to say that traditional gender roles are of themselves "unjust", it's not the Jews or the Gentiles you can blame for this, but those "evil, intolerant Christians".

Because allowing non-jews into the priesthood was hardly a culturally revolutionary act, rather it gave the new religion credibility. At the time, ordaining women would have done just the opposite. And before you bring up pagan priestesses...they're not comprable, the Christian cleric was given a degree of authority within the community, this was not the case with pagan priests, espeically in the case of pagan priestesses. In fact, the Christians copied the pagan practice almost perfectly with the office of the deaconess...let women have a role in religious ritual, but deny them any real authority. The Christians did what they did because, just as in matters of Theology, they copied the pagans.
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« Reply #1051 on: February 02, 2007, 03:43:34 PM »

Is this to suggest that St Luke was Gentile? If so, how could he have been? Weren't the first Gentile converts Cornelius and his household? That wasn't until after St Peter had received his vision in Joppa (Acts 9), which was probably several years after the resurrection. If St Luke was one of the seventy as tradition claims, then he would have been a Jew; perhaps a Hellenic-Jew?

Yes, I am suggesting that he was a Gentile, at least that is what tradition teaches us.  And even if he was a Hellenic Jew, that still proves a point that not all disciples and Apostles that were chosen by Christ for the service were Jews from Judea.

Please correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

God bless.
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« Reply #1052 on: February 02, 2007, 04:54:04 PM »

Only one disciple was Judean - Judas Iscariot. All the others amongst the twelve were Galileans, from a province that was more 'Hellenized' and considered 'mixed' somewhat like Samaritans. IIRC, St. Luke, St. Phillip, and many others amongst the 70 were 'God-fearers', ie converts to Judaism from the Gentiles before they became Christian. This was quite a common phenomenon as Jewish literature from the period shows that there was quite an organized attempt at proselytization amongst the Gentiles, especially with the Pharisee sect. The converts were rarely Jews by conversion, but God-fearers - meaning that the Noahide laws applied to them, but they were not allowed the priveleges of Israel (circumcision, entering the Inner courts, marrying a Levite woman, sons becoming rabbis, studying Torah, etc.) Which I always like to point out about the Ethiopian eunuch - he was studying the Torah, which Jewish oral tradition considered a crime punishable by death for a Gentile. So - was the Ethiopian considered as a Gentile or a Jew? (I would suggest the latter as there had been an Ethiopian Jewry already for some centuries, as well as the 'other Temple' at Elephantine in Egypt.) However, even for those converts who fully took on the law (including circumcision) they still were not considered fully Jewish for several generations - again, their sons could not become rabbis, they could not marry Levite women, etc. Cornelius himself was a God-fearer, but still a Roman soldier - that shows him on the extreme outside fringe of what contemporary Judaism defined as a God-fearer. It is a strange fact that a number of those in the traditional lists of the 70 are in fact Gentiles (Linus, Aquila, Lucius, Dionysius the Areopagite, etc.)
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« Reply #1053 on: February 02, 2007, 06:53:25 PM »

Yes, I am suggesting that he was a Gentile, at least that is what tradition teaches us.  And even if he was a Hellenic Jew, that still proves a point that not all disciples and Apostles that were chosen by Christ for the service were Jews from Judea.

Please correct me if I'm wrong on this one.

God bless.

I'm not saying that you are wrong; I was just surprised by the suggestion that St Luke was a Gentile. It is my understanding that the whole point of the event with Cornelius was to bring Gentiles, the "unclean" who had previously been avoided, into the Church. Even St Peter seems nonplussed by the suggestion that he should go to Gentiles; God has to be quite persistant to get the point across.

In Acts 11, St Peter has to explain his actions to the Apostles in Jerusalem, who are not very happy that he "went in to uncircumcised men and ate with them." St Peter is clearly put on the spot. He goes on to explain the vision in Joppa and what happened in Caesarea, with the Holy Spirit falling upon Cornelius and his household. He tells the Apostles; "If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" The objections of the Apostles were silenced and they glorified God, saying; "Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life."

Surely, if Gentiles had been amongst Christ's followers, the Apostles would have already known that? If Gentiles weren't amongst Christ's followers - and guaging the response of the Apostiles, that seems to be the case - one has to ask how could St Luke, if he was a Gentile, have been one of the Seventy? All contact with Gentiles, even God-fearers, seems particularly distant until Cornelius.

St Dionysius the Aeropagite, whose very name suggests he was an adherrent of the cult of Dionysos, was a later convert when St Paul visited Athens, so it's hard to see how he could possibly have been one of the Seventy.   

God be with you.  Smiley



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« Reply #1054 on: February 02, 2007, 07:04:50 PM »

IIRC, St. Luke, St. Phillip, and many others amongst the 70 were 'God-fearers', ie converts to Judaism from the Gentiles before they became Christian.

God-fearers weren't Proselytes, those that had converted to Israel. God-fearers were those who had held back from conversion for various reasons, ie circumcism. They were also known as "Proselytes at the Gate", always on the outside looking in.

If St Luke was a Proselyte, he was not merely a God-fearer. He was a member of Israel and no longer a Gentile.
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« Reply #1055 on: February 02, 2007, 07:37:36 PM »

Exactly - which was my point. God-fearers only had to hold to the Noachide laws (in fact, modern Noachides are part of the modern renewal of the 'God-fearers' of Pharisee proselytization - the same of which Our Lord said as "twice the sons of hell".) God-fearers could not study Torah - however, to fully convert meant leaving off being a Gentile. They were circumcised, could study the law - were no longer considered Gentiles or God-fearers. However, according to the law, they and their descendants for a few generations were considered 'Converts' and could not fully participate in Israel (ie, could not marry into the priestly tribe, could not become a rabbi, etc.) Given the extreme anti-Hellenism of the Pharisees from the time of the Maccabee revolt, there is an aspect of Christ's followers that is often overlooked - the heavy Hellenic element that might not entirely be due to the secularized Hellenic Jews.

The other point is that the traditions we have for the 70 don't exactly add up - by every tradition some are included that are obviously of Gentile origin, or even were not followers until the time of the Acts of the Apostles. So, for St. Luke we have the tradition that he was a Greek convert, but also that he was of the 70. The idea I've always held is that he was indeed one of the converts or children of converts mentioned above - a circumcised Greek who was not yet part of the full life of Israel. (Noting, the Church removed that sort of 'fence building' as regards converts - three years rather than several generations til a man could be ordained, and no such impediments to marriage except for the obvious degrees of close consanguinuity.)
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« Reply #1056 on: February 02, 2007, 07:50:46 PM »

Yes, that makes more sense than to say he was a gentile.
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« Reply #1057 on: February 02, 2007, 07:55:19 PM »

Quote
Surely, if Gentiles had been amongst Christ's followers, the Apostles would have already known that?

The point of the argument made earlier was that even Gentile Jews were not chosen, that the chosen by Christ were strictly "Jewish Jews," to which I was confused and immediately thought of St. Luke.  I never implied that St. Luke continued his Gentile beliefs when being a follower of Christ.

And the Apostles were confused of whether the Gentiles should convert to Judaism before Christianity or whether they should skip the middle man and just be baptized Christians.  No one had problems with converting Gentiles; it's the process of "catechumenizing" them that was confusing.

God bless.
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« Reply #1058 on: February 02, 2007, 08:07:18 PM »

Actually the point was about conclusions one can reach when using poor theology...then the clearly absurd argument was, somewhat to my dismay, actually taken seriously and that path of discussion pursued. It did, however, confirmed my suspicions about means that people were using to 'theologize'...no philosophy or high theology were taken into account, the discussion rapidly degenerated into 'what would jesus do.' Roll Eyes Grin
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« Reply #1059 on: February 02, 2007, 08:09:34 PM »

The point of the argument made earlier was that even Gentile Jews were not chosen, that the chosen by Christ were strictly "Jewish Jews," to which I was confused and immediately thought of St. Luke.  I never implied that St. Luke continued his Gentile beliefs when being a follower of Christ.

Now, I understand what you mean. (I think??)  By "Gentile Jew" you mean those Jews who were of the Diaspora? However, I thought the point was made that Gentiles, those who were not Jews, were not chosen.

I think I might be confused!  Undecided

God bless.
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« Reply #1060 on: February 02, 2007, 08:45:34 PM »

I think what mina is calling "Gentile Jews" are the converts to Judaism. As I've pointed out, they were not fully integrated into Israel but were kept separate or 'probationary'. There were worries that they would revert to paganism or syncretize their paganism with Judaism, or at the least commit immoralities. Jesus Christ's ministry to the 'House of Israel' was to those who were firmly Israelite. The Gentiles came looking for him before He was ready to send out the missionaries. In fact, one finds the phrase 'fulness of time' more than once in the mouth of Our Lord - timing is important. The fact is, we find individuals like Luke who are part of this 'quasi-Jewish' class of converts - still Gentile in many respects, Jewish by faith but still under suspicion. With Cornelius we have the first of the next outer ring - the 'God-fearer', IOW a Gentile no longer pagan but following God's law for Gentiles. Then again, we have others 'outside' who are drawn to Christ - the Magi, the Samaritan St. Photini,  etc. As Mina said, the Church had these outsiders beating on their doors even before they were established - they just didn't agree on what exactly to do with them until the Jerusalem council. St. Luke's iconography is particularly worrying from a Jewish standpoint - as a convert, that is something he simply shouldn't have been doing - making images. So, I still don't see where any of this bolsters the case of those who would anathematize any who don't jump on the W.O. bandwagon (or why its proponents have yet to present their case without demonizing their opponents through guilt by association.) The Church's tradition has a context that precedes the Empire by centuries, and the view of the Orthodox Church as merely an Imperial office seems to miss the point. If the Church cannot make the appeal to its Tradition as a theological answer to W.O. then the Church cannot make the appeal to Tradition for anything else - which dismantles pretty much all of Orthodox apologetics IMHO. In such a case - what is the point? I also think that St. Paul's epistles are theology enough, and foundational, to constitute Tradition in this case. As for modern bishops, I've met his Grace, Bishop Kallistos (Ware) - he is right that the Church has not spoken on the issue universally - but because it hasn't needed to. The sects that ordained women were all condemned particularly for other aspects of their teaching and praxis that were heretical and immoral. Only some local councils specifically dealt with women's ordination (again, as the Irish Canons.) But, from conversation with Bp. KALLISTOS, I don't believe he is a proponent for W.O. either. Too much of the case for W.O. seems to be built on mistaken notions of the equivelance of sex with gender roles, race, etc. Also, the arguments seem to assume an inferior position for women that is contrary to biology and psychology (the truth is, they are the stronger sex - and men shouldn't feel inferior over it). Until I can see a case for W.O. that is not based upon political rhetoric, then it can be debated - but so far, it has only been presented as political rhetoric (even the 'theological arguments' are only window dressing, still political formulations rather than theology as they begin and end with partisan political assumptions.) Then again, I listen to my wife - an educational psychologist who has spent some time researching sex differences - her opinion on the matter is simply "why would anyone want to be a priest?" She is not pro-W.O., and I find her arguments from the natural and social sciences convincing.
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« Reply #1061 on: February 02, 2007, 10:10:51 PM »

Dear Riddikulus,

To make it plain and easy, Aristibule interprets me correctly.  I agree with everything Aristibule says.

GiC,

Actually the point was about conclusions one can reach when using poor theology...then the clearly absurd argument was, somewhat to my dismay, actually taken seriously and that path of discussion pursued. It did, however, confirmed my suspicions about means that people were using to 'theologize'...no philosophy or high theology were taken into account, the discussion rapidly degenerated into 'what would jesus do.' Roll Eyes Grin

Well, it didn't rapidly degenerate, it slowly evolved into a "WWJD" due to some questions concerning the choice of Apostles.

But seriously, I don't see how that is poor theology.  As I've asked earlier, I felt thinking like you (hopefully trying to think like you) that the priesthood and "Liturgizing" prayers seemed pointless.

God bless.

Mina
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« Reply #1062 on: February 02, 2007, 11:29:30 PM »

I think what mina is calling "Gentile Jews" are the converts to Judaism. As I've pointed out, they were not fully integrated into Israel but were kept separate or 'probationary'. There were worries that they would revert to paganism or syncretize their paganism with Judaism, or at the least commit immoralities. Jesus Christ's ministry to the 'House of Israel' was to those who were firmly Israelite. The Gentiles came looking for him before He was ready to send out the missionaries. In fact, one finds the phrase 'fulness of time' more than once in the mouth of Our Lord - timing is important. The fact is, we find individuals like Luke who are part of this 'quasi-Jewish' class of converts - still Gentile in many respects, Jewish by faith but still under suspicion. With Cornelius we have the first of the next outer ring - the 'God-fearer', IOW a Gentile no longer pagan but following God's law for Gentiles. Then again, we have others 'outside' who are drawn to Christ - the Magi, the Samaritan St. Photini,  etc. As Mina said, the Church had these outsiders beating on their doors even before they were established - they just didn't agree on what exactly to do with them until the Jerusalem council. St. Luke's iconography is particularly worrying from a Jewish standpoint - as a convert, that is something he simply shouldn't have been doing - making images.

Thanks. I see what Mina means, now.

Quote
The Church's tradition has a context that precedes the Empire by centuries, and the view of the Orthodox Church as merely an Imperial office seems to miss the point.

Yes, I agree, but I don't think that anyone is saying that the Church was merely an Imperial office; but that she always was/has been/is affected by contemporary politics and attitudes. Personally, I don't consider this is necessarily because of sinister motives, but a natural state of affairs. We are creatures so easily affected by attitudes that surround us and sometimes it's simply the loudest voices that get our attention. Despite all our best intentions, prejudical attitudes creep in or are inbred from generation to generation. And isn't it the bane of mankind that, whichever super-power is in control, it insists on making changes or maintaining the status quote "for everyone's good"?

As far as I am concerned the question of WO is something that the Church will continue to decide. The only point I would make is that rather than simply continuing to accept the status quo, because the status quo has always been accepted, we continue to ask serious questions.


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« Reply #1063 on: September 30, 2007, 08:13:48 PM »

I thought it was time to resurrect this thread because of something mentioned on another thread.
The idea seems to be that women's ordination to the Priesthood somehow "invalidates" a Church as being Christian.
I have to disagree. I do not see women's ordination as an impediment to being Christian. Nor do I see the ordination of same-sex attracted clergy as an impediment to being Christian either.
As we have discussed on this thread, these are not dogmatic issues, merely customs. And as we have also discussed on this thread, the question of women's ordination is by no means a "closed case" in the Orthodox Church, as attested to by the opinions of our own Bishops (such as Bishop Kallistos Ware).
I find the pseudo-christian approach of automatically assuming that women's ordination is "heresy" or an "abomination" to be offensive in the extreme, and is simply a tool used by fundamentalists to try to convince others that the sky is falling.
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« Reply #1064 on: September 30, 2007, 09:10:29 PM »

Regarding the idea that only fundamentalists don't consider this an open issue.....this strikes me as a dramatic overstatement of the case.

Bishop Kallistos is frequently mentioned in these discussions, but what about Metropolitan Philip?  Like Bishop Kallistos, Metropolitan Philip has been accused by some conservatives of being a "modernist".  Nevertheless, he has stated in no uncertain terms that the ordination of women is not a possibility, either now or in the future.  Is Metropolitan Philip a fundamentalist?

It seems to me that Metropolitan Philip is merely stating the view of the majority of bishops in the world, both now and throughout the history of the Church. I have a great deal of respect for Bishop Kallistos, but I find it difficult to understand why his opinion on this matter should be given such undue weight.
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« Reply #1065 on: September 30, 2007, 09:13:53 PM »

Regarding the idea that only fundamentalists don't consider this an open issue.....this strikes me as a dramatic overstatement of the case.
You misunderstood.
The issue is not that some people consider the issue closed, but rather, that some people try to use the ordination of women as "proof" that a confession is not "Christian".
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« Reply #1066 on: September 30, 2007, 09:25:22 PM »

I agree, Maksim. I can't understand how one bishop's opinion seems to draw so much attention, unless it's because it is so odd.
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« Reply #1067 on: September 30, 2007, 09:40:35 PM »

I agree, Maksim. I can't understand how one bishop's opinion seems to draw so much attention, unless it's because it is so odd.
Well, perhaps it might help if people could state how many Orthodox Bishops have stated that women priests is outright heresy and an abomination which renders those who ordain them "unChristian". Wink
As we've said before in this thread, silence on an issue does not necessarily make the status quo "Apostolic Tradition".
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« Reply #1068 on: September 30, 2007, 09:44:56 PM »

You misunderstood.
The issue is not that some people consider the issue closed, but rather, that some people try to use the ordination of women as "proof" that a confession is not "Christian".

Well, it certainly isn't Orthodox.   Wink  Honestly, if one wants to have women priests, etc., then by all means, they should go off and join a church that approves of such.  Be heterodox and go in peace.  

This entire issue is really all about appeasing one's ego over conforming oneself to Christ and His Church.  Even many heterosexual married men aren't priest material.  Why some Orthodox Christians keep looking to heterodox failures (and it certainly is) and want to change the Church to that image is really beyond me.  What's next for us if we (God forbid) start having women priests?  Clown liturgy?  Liturgical dance?  Oreo cookies and koolaid?  The goddess rosary?  I'd rather be nothing and profess nothing than give in to such inanity.  For some of us, Orthodox Christianity is the last chance.  We want a Church that is what it really claims to be.  The Truth.  The real deal.  I personally don't have time for people giving each other accolades for being the first whatever, 'ooh look at me and how prideful I am', and 'affirm me even if I'm wrong because it is a nice thing to do when we're all in denial'.  They've received their reward in full already.  If it goes to this, I'm gone.  The gates of hell would have prevailed and I might as well just sleep in on Sunday mornings than bother.
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« Reply #1069 on: September 30, 2007, 09:55:50 PM »

If it goes to this, I'm gone. 
The Church of Greece decided to restore the Female Diaconate in 2004, and is already training women for ordination as Deaconesses. http://www.corpus.org/page.cfm?Web_ID=510
So do you still stand by this?
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« Reply #1070 on: September 30, 2007, 09:57:05 PM »

The Church of Greece decided to restore the Female Diaconate in 2004, and is already training women for ordination as Deaconesses. http://www.corpus.org/page.cfm?Web_ID=510
So do you still stand by this?

Deaconess does not equal priest.
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« Reply #1071 on: September 30, 2007, 10:06:29 PM »

We call them stealth priestessesSmiley
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« Reply #1072 on: September 30, 2007, 10:19:42 PM »

If these strange ideas keep popping up, it sounds like Orthodox seminaries may eventually have to start taking a leaf from the Catholic's books and bring in Deacon Payne:  Seminary Formationator.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=2026860857
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« Reply #1073 on: September 30, 2007, 10:22:08 PM »

I thought it was time to resurrect this thread because of something mentioned on another thread.

The idea seems to be that women's ordination to the Priesthood somehow "invalidates" a Church as being Christian. I have to disagree. I do not see women's ordination as an impediment to being Christian. Nor do I see the ordination of same-sex attracted clergy as an impediment to being Christian either.

I agree with you!

Same-sex-attracted men have been wonderful priests. Fr Seraphim (Rose) was one. The Controversial Issue™ here is behaviour. As our father among the saints Sir Mick Jagger sang, you can't always get what you want, whether you're straight or gay. The upper middle class is in massive denial about that fact (not only about sins against nature - this is part of the contraception/abortion mentality).

But I also agree with this:
Quote
Well, it certainly isn't Orthodox.  Wink  Honestly, if one wants to have women priests, etc., then by all means, they should go off and join a church that approves of such.  Be heterodox and go in peace.

It's also wrong to say only 'fundamentalists' (a smear term/f-bomb stripped of its real meaning) say no to WO.

There are two acceptable Catholic/Orthodox positions on WO, improbabilist like the Pope and improbabilist which seems to be what Bishop Kallistos believes. It's not the same as saying let's do it - he and others say the intellectual arguments given against it so far don't hold up. The existence of women deacons seems to support these people in this though you can and should treat the diaconate and priesthood separately.

What strikes me most is that, unlike upper-middle-class Westerners (Roman, Anglican and mainline Protestant), in Orthodoxy the issue just doesn't come up most of the time. There is no Women's Ordination Conference (a dissident RC group) in the Russian Orthodox Church for example. (Corpus are only some old cranks in the Roman Church.)
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« Reply #1074 on: September 30, 2007, 10:42:20 PM »

You know, there was a time, not all that long ago, when it was argued that the use of the Gregorian calendar was a 'closed issue'...and now, well we have the 'revised Julian' calendar, whichm for all intents and purposesm is identical save the paschalion, and even that follows western usage in Finland. Nothing is 'closed'.

As for the Ordination of Women to the diaconate, I believe the first women were ordained to the diaconate in the Episcopal Church in the early 1850's, it took over one and a quarter centuries to ordain the first woman as a priest...but it happened. I understand that these changes cannot occur overnight, but the strong movement towards women in the diaconate is a good first step.

As far as which bishops support what, the overwhelming majority do not speak on the issue because they know that too much rhetoric will just upset people, the best approach is what was done by the Church of Greece, make real steps quietly. Then, given enough time for people to become comfortable with that step and move on.

As for those who wish to leave the Church if women are ordained to the priesthood, I must really question why you are staying in the Church anyway? Is the Church nothing more than a gentlemen's club that shares similar political beliefs? In any case, you may be in luck, if you're old enough you may not live long enough to see women ordained to the priesthood; however, if you're worried about seeing women in the diaconate, you better start packing your bags, and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Wink
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« Reply #1075 on: September 30, 2007, 10:52:22 PM »

As far as which bishops support what, the overwhelming majority do not speak on the issue because they know that too much rhetoric will just upset people, the best approach is what was done by the Church of Greece, make real steps quietly. Then, given enough time for people to become comfortable with that step and move on.
IOW, the commonly known way to boil a frog.  Now, who wants to be the frog?  Any volunteers? Wink
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« Reply #1076 on: September 30, 2007, 10:59:21 PM »

I know that was bait, but... the calendar issue is to these as apples are to budgerigars.

I think the first Episcopal women deacons were in the mid-1900s. You're thinking of deaconesses (Lutherans have those too), nun-like women (habits, 'Sister First Name' and all) much like the active-works women's religious orders (nurses, teachers) commonly called nuns in the Roman Church. (The distinction is a sister can own some private property; a real nun owns nothing.) Not to be confused with Anglican/Episcopal nuns - yes, they exist - who also were started in the mid-1800s.
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« Reply #1077 on: September 30, 2007, 11:23:40 PM »

As for those who wish to leave the Church if women are ordained to the priesthood, I must really question why you are staying in the Church anyway? Is the Church nothing more than a gentlemen's club that shares similar political beliefs? In any case, you may be in luck, if you're old enough you may not live long enough to see women ordained to the priesthood; however, if you're worried about seeing women in the diaconate, you better start packing your bags, and don't let the door hit you on the way out. Wink

Hey, GiC, if my Church started "ordaining" priestesses, I'd go along. I believe the Holy Spirit guides the Church's doctrine (and this is an issue of doctrine, not discipline).

But guess what? It ain't ever gonna happen.  Smiley

And before you laugh or scoff, do you honestly think things are moving in that direction now? The whining of the graying and waning children of the Sixties are falling on deaf ears in the younger generation. They had their chance and failed. Society gets more "progressive" but the Church's active and believing members are turning more traditional. Will we be a smaller Church? Perhaps. But in the future we will be there and ready when the misguided souls start abandoning the modernist/secularist barge in droves when it founders in the black waters. It is taking on ever more filthy water with each passing year.
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« Reply #1078 on: September 30, 2007, 11:39:03 PM »

Quote
And before you laugh or scoff, do you honestly think things are moving in that direction now? The whining of the graying and waning children of the Sixties are falling on deaf ears in the younger generation. They had their chance and failed. Society gets more "progressive" but the Church's active and believing members are turning more traditional. Will we be a smaller Church? Perhaps. But in the future we will be there and ready when the misguided souls start abandoning the modernist/secularist barge in droves when it founders in the black waters. It is taking on ever more filthy water with each passing year.

Even beyond that, there is essentially no social stigma to not being religious in the developed world.  So a good chunk of the old guard liberals (and their kids) that got fed up at the pace of change are simply gone.  Add to that a low birth rate and a low retention in the faith rate for liberals in the developed world and they are quickly becoming irrelevant.  OTOH, the Catholic population is exploding in the developing world and tends to be very conservative. 
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« Reply #1079 on: September 30, 2007, 11:42:43 PM »

You would think after 1079 post everything that could said on a topic would have been said already.
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