19.4.10

A-ha, there's hope for my argument yet

I am currently reading Sykes on Hooker, a relief from Atkinson. Sykes is demonstrating that it is more likely that Hooker would have supported the ordination of women to the priesthood with neat little paragraphs like the one below.

In order to be critical, we are encouraged to find those scholars who might argue with one another so that as students we can pick flaws in their arguments and propose some theories of our own. Emmm, I wonder if I can drop my presuppositions long enough to hear out both theories and consider whose might be the most convincing.

Those who urge the Church's tradition as an argument against women's ordination are inconsistent with that tradition in failing to deplore female monarchs, prime ministers, members of parliament or members of church synods, heads of church colleges, and chairpersons of bodies of great power in state and church. To have capitulated in this arena in order to preserve a cordon sanitaire around the Church's ministry is absolutely to have abandoned Hooker's position. 

What we discover, then, in Hooker is an undeniably Anglican doctrine of the Church that enables us to reflect seriously on the implications for church polity of a new understanding of female/male relationship. It is a position that has no obligation to be unremittingly hostile to church tradition in order to satisfy the instincts of radical feminism, nor, on the other hand, is it obliged to assume the immutability of laws even of divine origin. It is a position, moreover, that has a high doctrine of the apostolic ministry, and no a priori objection to the existence of a hierarchy. It would not feel obliged to impose the same structures upon all cultures at the same time, and could enjoy what Hooker describes in a felicitous phrase as the "manifold and yet harmonious dissimulitude of those wayes whereby his Church upon earth is guided from age to age.

After Eve, Janet Martin Soskice, ed. (London Marshall Pickering, 1990)

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