Author Topic: Quite a discussion going on at LQ called "Unionism at Fort Wayne Seminary?"  (Read 17280 times)

Dave_Poedel

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Question of how to address a woman who is ordained by a denomination that addresses their clergy as Pastor?: Pastor

Steven Tibbetts

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(although sensitivity is often perceived as a feminine quality, so should I go by "Ms. Nuance"? Better not go there... 

Some of us are old enough to have been taught that "Ms." was the written saluation in a business letter when the writer didn't know the sex of the recipient. ;)

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The Rev. Steven Paul Tibbetts, STS
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peter_speckhard

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I don't recall any of the debate over the ordination of women. But after all of these years, I cannot conceive of a church without them. There is nothing which could be said to change my mind on this subject and nothing that can justify opposition to it. Of all the women clergy who I have known or with whom I have worked, only one is unqualified for this hallowed calling. I can't say the same about the men. Mom always said that if I couldn't say someting nice, don't say anything at all. Lord knows I try.
John Dornheim
Here is the problem. Many people could write a similar paragraph for the other side of the equation. There is no middle ground on this issue. Some say nothing can justify having women pastors, and others say nothing can justify not having them. And if nothing can justify the other position, it can't be a matter of adiaphora. And if nothing could even theoretically change John's mind (and the same goes for many on the other side) there would seem to be little hope for common ground. And yet we're constantly told that these differences need not be church-dividing. I don't get it. How can they not be?

Richard Johnson

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Here is the problem. Many people could write a similar paragraph for the other side of the equation. There is no middle ground on this issue. Some say nothing can justify having women pastors, and others say nothing can justify not having them. And if nothing can justify the other position, it can't be a matter of adiaphora. And if nothing could even theoretically change John's mind (and the same goes for many on the other side) there would seem to be little hope for common ground. And yet we're constantly told that these differences need not be church-dividing. I don't get it. How can they not be?

I remember back in the mid-70's when I was a United Methodist pastor and the Episcopalians were debating whether to ordain women (UMC had done it for a while). I really aggravated an Episcopalian colleague (he was pro-ordination) by suggesting that I was in favor of the UMC ordaining women, but I was opposed to the Episcopal Church doing so. He just about jumped over his desk and throttled me.

It was sort of tongue in cheek, of course, but it had a serious point. It seemed to me that the doctrine of ministry (such as it was) of the UMC was perfectly consistent with ordaining women. The doctrine of minsitry of the Episcopal Church, it seemed to me, was much less consistent with ordaining women. And, I concluded, what would be wrong with a church acting consistently with its doctrine of ministry? And why should it upset or bother me if my own church decided to do things differently from another church? And why couldn't we all just get along?

Of course that was when I was a United Methodist.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

MaddogLutheran

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I remember back in the mid-70's when I was a United Methodist pastor and the Episcopalians were debating whether to ordain women (UMC had done it for a while). I really aggravated an Episcopalian colleague (he was pro-ordination) by suggesting that I was in favor of the UMC ordaining women, but I was opposed to the Episcopal Church doing so. He just about jumped over his desk and throttled me.

It was sort of tongue in cheek, of course, but it had a serious point. It seemed to me that the doctrine of ministry (such as it was) of the UMC was perfectly consistent with ordaining women. The doctrine of minsitry of the Episcopal Church, it seemed to me, was much less consistent with ordaining women. And, I concluded, what would be wrong with a church acting consistently with its doctrine of ministry? And why should it upset or bother me if my own church decided to do things differently from another church? And why couldn't we all just get along?
I completely understand where you are coming from, as I feel the same way about the ELCA (myself okay with WO) vs. Roman Catholicism (and perhaps I'm not alone in this) -- while I don't agree with the dominating sacrificial understanding of the Eucharist, female priests would be inconsistent with it, and I don't like the social justice/equality rhetoric of liberal Catholics agitating for it.

Sterling Spatz
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John Dornheim

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I don't recall any of the debate over the ordination of women. But after all of these years, I cannot conceive of a church without them. There is nothing which could be said to change my mind on this subject and nothing that can justify opposition to it. Of all the women clergy who I have known or with whom I have worked, only one is unqualified for this hallowed calling. I can't say the same about the men. Mom always said that if I couldn't say someting nice, don't say anything at all. Lord knows I try.
John Dornheim
Here is the problem. Many people could write a similar paragraph for the other side of the equation. There is no middle ground on this issue. Some say nothing can justify having women pastors, and others say nothing can justify not having them. And if nothing can justify the other position, it can't be a matter of adiaphora. And if nothing could even theoretically change John's mind (and the same goes for many on the other side) there would seem to be little hope for common ground. And yet we're constantly told that these differences need not be church-dividing. I don't get it. How can they not be?

It would be hard to change my mind because it would mean revoking the ordinations of countless women now serving, as well as cut our seminary enrollments in half.
It appears to me that the practice needs to be tried by the Holy Spirit and if it stands, it stands because it is God blessed. If it fails, it is just another human endeavor. I think that there is some precedent for this approach.
John Dornheim

GoCubsGo!

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It would be hard to change my mind because it would mean revoking the ordinations of countless women now serving, as well as cut our seminary enrollments in half.
It appears to me that the practice needs to be tried by the Holy Spirit and if it stands, it stands because it is God blessed. If it fails, it is just another human endeavor. I think that there is some precedent for this approach.
John Dornheim

I'm not saying that I would be in favor of revoking women's ordination but to make the counter argument:

It would be hard to change my mind because to do so would go against scripture and jeopardize any movement towards reconciliation wtih Rome.  It appears to me that the practice of not ordaining women and ordaining only men has been tried by the Holy Spirit and has stood for two thausand years and is therefore God blessed.

edoughty

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It would be hard to change my mind because it would mean revoking the ordinations of countless women now serving, as well as cut our seminary enrollments in half.
It appears to me that the practice needs to be tried by the Holy Spirit and if it stands, it stands because it is God blessed. If it fails, it is just another human endeavor. I think that there is some precedent for this approach.
John Dornheim

I'm not saying that I would be in favor of revoking women's ordination but to make the counter argument:

It would be hard to change my mind because to do so would go against scripture and jeopardize any movement towards reconciliation wtih Rome.  It appears to me that the practice of not ordaining women and ordaining only men has been tried by the Holy Spirit and has stood for two thausand years and is therefore God blessed.

Continuing along that line, we should allow women at least 2,000 years' worth of ordination so that we're comparing apples to apples.  I'm sure Rome will be patient with us.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

John Dornheim

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It would be hard to change my mind because it would mean revoking the ordinations of countless women now serving, as well as cut our seminary enrollments in half.
It appears to me that the practice needs to be tried by the Holy Spirit and if it stands, it stands because it is God blessed. If it fails, it is just another human endeavor. I think that there is some precedent for this approach.
John Dornheim

I'm not saying that I would be in favor of revoking women's ordination but to make the counter argument:

It would be hard to change my mind because to do so would go against scripture and jeopardize any movement towards reconciliation wtih Rome.  It appears to me that the practice of not ordaining women and ordaining only men has been tried by the Holy Spirit and has stood for two thausand years and is therefore God blessed.

Continuing along that line, we should allow women at least 2,000 years' worth of ordination so that we're comparing apples to apples.  I'm sure Rome will be patient with us.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Coupled with the understanding that Rome did at one time or another ordain women and that there have been times when the church has survived because of the women's leadership, I would not go so far as to impugn the ministry of women. It seems to me that Joe's comments are dangerously close to the cautions which have been offered.
As long as Rome remains a staunch patriarchy, I don't foresee any movement on the issue no matter how loud the laity cry out for it. Besides, after all these years we have enough clergy intimidated by women in leadership roles to firmly cement any waverers on the other side of the river.

John Dornheim

GoCubsGo!

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It would be hard to change my mind because it would mean revoking the ordinations of countless women now serving, as well as cut our seminary enrollments in half.
It appears to me that the practice needs to be tried by the Holy Spirit and if it stands, it stands because it is God blessed. If it fails, it is just another human endeavor. I think that there is some precedent for this approach.
John Dornheim

I'm not saying that I would be in favor of revoking women's ordination but to make the counter argument:

It would be hard to change my mind because to do so would go against scripture and jeopardize any movement towards reconciliation wtih Rome.  It appears to me that the practice of not ordaining women and ordaining only men has been tried by the Holy Spirit and has stood for two thausand years and is therefore God blessed.

Continuing along that line, we should allow women at least 2,000 years' worth of ordination so that we're comparing apples to apples.  I'm sure Rome will be patient with us.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Just making the argument for the sake of argument Erik as others here have done numerous times.  Not mentioning any names...

GoCubsGo!

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It would be hard to change my mind because it would mean revoking the ordinations of countless women now serving, as well as cut our seminary enrollments in half.
It appears to me that the practice needs to be tried by the Holy Spirit and if it stands, it stands because it is God blessed. If it fails, it is just another human endeavor. I think that there is some precedent for this approach.
John Dornheim

I'm not saying that I would be in favor of revoking women's ordination but to make the counter argument:

It would be hard to change my mind because to do so would go against scripture and jeopardize any movement towards reconciliation wtih Rome.  It appears to me that the practice of not ordaining women and ordaining only men has been tried by the Holy Spirit and has stood for two thausand years and is therefore God blessed.

Continuing along that line, we should allow women at least 2,000 years' worth of ordination so that we're comparing apples to apples.  I'm sure Rome will be patient with us.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

Coupled with the understanding that Rome did at one time or another ordain women and that there have been times when the church has survived because of the women's leadership, I would not go so far as to impugn the ministry of women. It seems to me that Joe's comments are dangerously close to the cautions which have been offered.
As long as Rome remains a staunch patriarchy, I don't foresee any movement on the issue no matter how loud the laity cry out for it. Besides, after all these years we have enough clergy intimidated by women in leadership roles to firmly cement any waverers on the other side of the river.

John Dornheim

When did Rome ordain women?  Give me a source please. 

I do not impugn the ministry of women, as I said I was only making the counter argument to yours.  In rhetorical arguments in can be wise to discern the counter arguments to your own.  Your assessment is, "Try this and if it stands it is God blessed."  This seems a dangerous way for the Church to go forward.  Many things in culture have stood and I can't say that all of them were God blessed.  If you are going to make an argument for women's ordination do so scripturally and by reason.  So far your argument is more emotional than reasoned.

Personally I am thankful for the gifts that women bring to ordained ministry.  I have known some very good women pastors.  But it is interesting to me that we raise women's ordination to a place of church diviision.  It seems to me that ELCAers argue that reconcilation with Rome could only come if Rome allows for the ordination of women.  Never mind that this was not the one of the issues that divded us in the first place.  It is also interesting to me that when anyone challenges or even asks healthy questions re: women's ordination, they are jumped upon as knuckle dragging dinosaur.

As for the Roman Catholic laity crying out for women's ordination.  That is true some have, but there are others who have not cried so loudly if at all.  I'm not sure what your are talking about when you say some are "intimidated by women in leadership roles".  Are you implying that I am intimidated by women in leadership roles?  I can assure you that some women being elevated to leadership in the ELCA would probably frighten me but not because they are women but because of their ideas/values.  The same is true for many men in leadership positions too.

I'm not sure what your point is John except to argue and belittle anyone who challenges you.  As an STS subscriber and one who values the place from which we came, the Roman Catholic Church, and as one who sincerely hopes for reconciliation with Rome I think we can and should be able to talk openly and honestly about women's ordination and what this means for ecumenical efforts towards Rome.  I hope that you can respect this but I suspect that your venom will spew forth at me for simply challenging your assessment and your biases.  Spew forth now...

GoCubsGo!

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Continuing along that line, we should allow women at least 2,000 years' worth of ordination so that we're comparing apples to apples.  I'm sure Rome will be patient with us.

Erik Doughty
Minneapolis, MN

I sincerely pray that our reconciliation won't be so long in coming.  If we say we are willing to wait that long are we really interested in ecumenism and/or unity?

grabau14

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Missouri Pastors should treat women clergy with respect.  There are other words that I have heard from fellow Missouri pastors and seminary profs that I would not use.  Needless to say, I do stand with my brothers in those countries where the issue of women's ordination is treated as a necessity to receive Holy Orders.  My home congregation has had pastors and students from some of these countries visit and the descriptions I have heard remind me of a Police State.  Do not dare to criticize women's ordination, homosexual ordination, abortion.  Do so at your peril. 

So it is hard for me to cozy up and "play nice" with female pastors when I hear of these persecuted brethren in these states.  I have said this before on this board, but I truly find it interesting that Socialist/communist states were the first to ordain women (and not by church convention but by state edict)

So by all means be nice to our sisters in Christ who are pastors but that should stop a truthful confession.

Rev'd. Matthew J. Uttenreither   SSP
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 09:26:40 PM by grabau14 »

ptmccain

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The use of the word "priestess" to refer to members of a church's clergy who are women is offensive, rude and more a matter of "shock" value and polemic than anything else.

On the other hand, it is not possible for many of us to refer to a woman as a pastor, for the reasons Peter has eloquently stated. We are convinced that they are not, in fact, pastors, since that is a Biblical impossibility, therefore, there are those of us who find it impossible to refer to a woman as a pastor or address her as "Pastor."
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 09:12:02 PM by ptmccain »

janielou13

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"True. Agreed. But which is the worst behavior of the three options-- refusing to speak to someone, telling the required lie that keeps the peace, or telling a truth that causes conflict?"

It's obvioous you're not a mom.  Take the fourth, and often only, option -  if you can't play nice, leave the playground.

" And yet we're constantly told that these differences need not be church-dividing. I don't get it. How can they not be?"

Simple; study Piepkorn, essays both in 'The Church' and also vol. 2, 'The Sacred Scriptures and The Lutheran Confessions',,,,,,,, vol 1 is published by ALPB, so it can't be all bad  8>)   When all is said and done, Pieps observed that since both the Sacred Scriptures nor the Lutheran Confessions are silent, the issue not being an issue of the Gospel or Article of the Faith, the question need not be Chruch dividing.  He himself was often heard to remark that while he personally did not know what it was, based on Tradition, he was confident he knew what it wasn't,,,,,, but, in time, should Rome and the East see to ordain women to the presbyterate, he would readily and joyfully admit he was wrong.  In any event, the issue, at worst, can only be seen as rising to the level of an abuse, or as the East puts it, a 'Western idiosyncracy', never heresy. The wisdom is not to absolutize our differances on such an issue, so that it becomes an either or polarity, but retain the humility to recognize the limitations of our insight and understanding,,,,,,, and play nice, and if not, leave the playground.
In referance to Rome and the East, Piepkorn saw rapid change in Rome in one hundred year increments, in the East, in four hundred year increments.