20.7.08

A sermon from John Davies on the 'woman issue' - bringing ruminations to an end? I don't trust myself to promise that!

John Davies' sermon

Read the entire sermon. I like this bit particularly:

'Scripture - it depends how you read it, it depends what you do with it.

Scripture - it is ancient Hebrew literature and it comes from a male dominated society. We have to remember that when we look at it for guidance about how we should live today.

Scripture - if we read it honestly, with our eyes open, then we can see other things which might change the ways we think about ourselves and others.'

&

I think that the most important principles which we should hold as Christians are not principles about sexuality or gender or styles of leadership. I suggest that the most important principles which we should hold as Christians are captured in the two commandments of Jesus: love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself.

Asked about the current debate the wise and widely respected Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that "The Anglican Church prides itself on being the church that is comprehensive - meaning that it is a church that includes all kinds of points of view." "One of the sadnesses about the current crisis," said the archbishop, "is that we seem to be jettisoning this wonderful inclusivity that is a characteristic of our church."

The archbishop's words, echoing Jesus's two commandments, suggest that the most important thing about the current debates in the church is not who wins the arguments but how we all treat each other, particularly those with whom we disagree. As anyone who has ever had a major disagreement with a loved one knows, it is very hard to keep loving the other through it all; very hard to forgive, to find a way forward which doesn't harm the others involved. But that is the challenge for the people of our church at the moment.

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself - each week we hear these words in church and our response to them is to say, Amen. Lord have mercy.

So let us keep these words in our hearts; and let us keep praying faithfully for our leaders at this time, men and women together.

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.