Monday, November 02, 2009

Glass Ceiling or Sea of Glass?

Yet another reprint! It seems apposite ecumenically.

Women Bishops - above or below?

There are curious aspects to debates about ministry. Most noticeable is the idea that the clergy form a set of lords and ladies with permission to push people about. "If I am not a Bishop or Priest I can't give people enough push to get things done" seems to be the refrain so often sung.

What nonsense! Speaking at my then diocese's first ordination of women the Lutheran Bishop of Hamburg made it quite plain that she saw her role as administration, and little else, indeed nothing else, if my memory is correct. A visit to Lutheran Hamburg a little later indicated to us that this was in fact so.

Isn't it better to forget "glass ceilings" militating against the preferment of female clerics and to focus on the "Sea of Glass" before God's throne and ask what should be done there? Ministry is about helping not lording it over the flock. The Old Testament got that right centuries before Christianity was born.

Let's hope we get it right this time and make allowances which enable us to live and work together in the "bond of peace" prayed for daily in the Church of England. May be we should be dancing before the Lord on that Sea of Glass in a myriad of wonderful and fruitful partnerships, in which we can all take part together and enjoy each other's company even though there are things, including important things, on which we disagree!


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