25.11.08

Another Conference wish list entry...


Ever since my reaction to a local sermon on 1 Tim 2 11-15, I have continued on my search to investigate God's plan for the genders. I remember the local preacher talking about 'Men are from Mars ' etc. Then there was Deborah Cameron's book 'The Myth of Mars and Venus' and Rosie Ward's work at CPAS to dispel the myth. And there is another conference that I would love to go to but can not. Hopefully, I will be able to understand something of what came to pass there by keeping up with my American brothers and sisters via my blog.

I have to finally write the conclusion to my essay on the theological differences between those who support and those who deny women in the episcopate and it has been a very helpful process to go through. I have been writing and researching since the first week of college, when the assignments were handed out and have found it very difficult to condense my thoughts into 3000 words. I found the teaching thrilling and had to wait until the last week of the module before it was delivered. I got to engage with all of those ideas that I had been researching on my own for the 18 month period prior to going to college. All of the arguments were very familiar. I am now working through my final draft, since my conclusion became my introduction and I have yet to end the piece. When I completed the first draft last Thursday, I felt very called to chapel at college to see what God might have to say. I went with a grateful heart that I had completed the main stint of the work. I felt released by my findings to pursue this call on my life, however long that might take, with an absolutely clear conscience that women who become ministers or overseers of churches are in no way being disobedient. I positively rejoiced on my journeys to college and school etc, finding it hard to keep my hands on the steering wheel. I just find that I am unconvinced by arguments for male headship. I feel so glad to be living out my Christianity with its locus on our equality in Christ and our perfect creation by God in Genesis 1 and 2. My Christianity doesn't have its locus in the fall, it views life with an eschatological perspective that demands of me partnership with God as I seek to live in accordance with his will and remove the effects of the curse. We can all play a part in this and for me it is by living in a way which celebrates the equality of the sexes, I don't come under the headship of my husband, we both come under the Lordship of Christ and seeking out his will TOGETHER is a real adventure and a thrill.

When I got to college it seemed as though my desires were affirmed. For the first time ever, I experienced an inclusive eucharist in which we were invited to say the words that are usually spoken by the president and I felt this was hugely significant. At the same time though, I was very aware of a God who was saying to me, okay, so finally we have got you over this hurdle, but that is just the beginning, a tiny part of it, don't think that you can serve my church as a minister just because you've worked out that women indeed can. I listened to a sermon about suffering and persecution, horrendous stories, the likes of which I've never heard before (CMS Nigeria). I realise that I now have to begin a process of 'dying to self' and this is hard, as I'm discovering. I have a long discernment process to go through. But I trust in God, it is his will not mine and I am happy to serve him in whatever capacity seems fit. For now it would seem that it is as a sister, daughter, friend, wife, mother, voluntary church worker, theology student and all of the above as a Christian disciple most importantly. I am excited though to be preparing for what will come next!!!

2 comments:

Crunch said...

I am so pleased that you have come to this point..it took me a while (and a great deal of study) before I could really pursue my calling.

God bless you wherever he leads,

Gill.

Rachel said...

Thank you Gill.
What a journey it's been and it's only just beginning!! It's exciting.

I'm enjoying keeping up with your journey.

God bless
Rachel

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