Women Who Oppose Women

Women who oppose women bishops, that is, in the Church of England:

The Church of England is, in its own confounding and impenetrable way, preparing to welcome women as bishops. At the meeting of its general assembly earlier this month there was much debate about what should be done for Anglicans who do not accept female clergy ahead of a vote this summer. Among these traditionalists are several women.

One of them is Emma Forward, a teacher in her 20s who was elected to the Church of England’s lawmaking body at 21, making her the youngest of its 485 members. One of almost 9,000 women who signed a petition in 2008 objecting to the ordination of women as bishops, she says many other female members of Synod share her views.

“We represent thousands in the Church across the country. I think that women who oppose haven’t been in the spotlight as we are from ordinary walks of life who aren’t known to the media. Perhaps some press coverage finds it easier to portray this as a male versus female issue, and we complicate the issue for those who only see it in those terms.”

Traditionalists such as Forward want to serve under a male bishop because they believe the Church of England has no right to introduce women bishops. They may not have a majority, certainly not expected to be enough to stop the legislation to allow women bishops getting final approval in July, but they cite Jesus’s choice of only male apostles and the fact that other, major Christian denominations have not introduced female clergy as evidence to support their beliefs.

Read the rest: The women who oppose female bishops | World news | The Guardian.

I’ll admit, I don’t get it. But then again, the catholic church is full of women, and there’s a gender-based caste system in that church, too.

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  • This continues to baffle me and I see it all the time in this neck of the woods. I truly wonder if the women who are opposed are afraid of the imago dei – maybe they would have to take more responsibility or follow their own call differently if they believed that they too could be the image of God. Our episcopal diocese in Fort Worth, TX has only had female priests for 2 years now, so there is still a great amount of resistance from both genders.

    • People want to preserve long standing church tradition just like they want to preserve natural habitat.

  • Larry Barber

    they cite Jesus’s choice of only male apostles

    Can’t believe people are still using this stupid argument. The twelve were all men, but they were also all Jewish, should we limit leadership roles in the church to circumcised Jewish men? From Galilee? (Yeah, Judas was from Judea, but we know how _that_ worked out). The also likely all had beards and dressed funny, though dressing funny does seem to be a requirement of the Anglican episcopate. They also all spoke Aramaic, but I see no one demanding only Aramaic speaking, Galilean, Jewish men with beards and funny clothes for the office.

  • Rohmeo

    Tony, I read your blog often and many others from all walks of life and I appreciate so many different thoughts and views on Christianity/Doctrine etc. but this has been gnawing at me for some time. Why do you seem to be so honed in with the topics of “Women in Church” and “Homosexuality”? I get that we are similar having grown up in the church and as we aged we search for truth on our own, and the tastes for hateful intolerance and hypocricy makes us grieve but I feel like something goes deeper with you. Those are certainly huge topics in the church but why the fixation? Sometimes I feel like you’re enabling the thought most have of Christians “in a box” and yet in actually those kinds of Christians are much smaller in reality. That is of course if you’re talking about Christians tactics/attitude’s on those subjects and not doctrine? You seem to be doing what you blog against and that is getting caught up in the the “things” instead of the “main thing”. Maybe all of this is conversation just for conversation sake and that’s cool but gets confusing. At the end of the day what is the center of the plate meat–(bad analogy for vegetarians)–or the “main course” Tony is all about?

  • Eric

    “gender-based caste system.”

    i am an anglican-catholic. furthermore, i’m an anglican-catholic who does not oppose the ordination and consecration of women as priests and bishops. but i certainly don’t think that my brothers and sisters who hold another view are perpetrators of a “gender-based caste system.” perhaps some of them are misogynistic mules, but most of them think what they do from theological conviction and ecclesiastical heritage. in other words, this is a theological debate, not an issue of “human rights” or “liberation.” we, in the church, are trying to figure out how to go forward in the face of some theological differences, not differences of opinion on “who is fully human”–as in a caste system. (and, believe it or not, despite the fetish you seem to have for this particular topic, these are secondary issues).

    have a little grace. my brothers and sisters on the other side of this discussion have a kind of theological faithfulness that i admire, even if i disagree with some of their conclusions.

  • Evelyn

    I think we have to accept the fact that we are immersed in a sexualized society and it not only affects our personal lives but it affects our professional lives as well. Women are just as involved in sexism as men are – both men and women project preconceived qualities onto people of both sexes. “Male” qualities (althought not all males possess them) include dominance, aggression, authority, control, and strength. “Female” qualities are typically subordinate, passive, and dependent. Women feel comfortable in certain roles and men feel comfortable in others and any attempt to change those roles can be seen as a threat. Women who do not like female clergy and bishops probably have difficulty projecting the qualities of authority and strength onto women. They feel the need to have a “man” stand between them and God.

    The ability of laity to respect their clergy does not only have to do with the knowledge and ability of the clergy but has a great deal to do with the RELATIONSHIP that the laity are seeking. In a situation where the laity wants to have their spirituality and morality handed to them (rather than being seekers themselves) the laity are going to be unsatisfied if they can’t project god-like qualities onto their clergy. In a situation where a church decides to have a “priesthood of all believers” (as Phyllis Tickle mentions in her book on emergence) clergy are relegated to the role of community organizers and educators – they give up the role of “spiritual go-between” and it therefor becomes less important for them to be of the “authoritarian” sex. So, if the Anglican church is going in an emergent direction, perhaps people like Emma would feel more comfortable in the Catholic church.

    I think that, given the inherent natures of male and female sexuality, as long as we view sex itself as anything other than a bodily function that exists for the purpose of creating children, our society will remain sexualized and we won’t be able to do away with sexism. There’s too much ego, jealousy, objectification, and co-dependent relationship involved in the interactions between the sexes and these feelings affect all parts of our lives (whether we are aware of it or not) such that we have a great deal of difficulty confining them to the bedroom.

  • Carl

    What don’t you get? That women still exist who actually believe God meant it when he placed different roles and responsibilities on men and women?

  • Keith

    Well, it’s about time some women stood up in the church and led on the matter of women not leading in the church.

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