Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reflecting Trinity in the Body of Christ

Like nearly every peer couple I know, my wife and I work out before God the decisions of family life in a spirit of mutual sharing of responsibilities as husband and wife, seeking to arrive at decisions we are equally committed to and will thenceforth take equal responsibility for. In doing this we and our peers are enjoying the fruits of development in human life which flow from the influence of Christianity on the world, an influence which has inspired science, education, politics, and health. That is, we have an extraordinary freedom compared to our forbears to be fully engaged in mutual society as men and women who are equals in human dignity and responsibility in this Christianity-influenced society. Whether we measure this freedom to enjoy true mutuality as men and women together by Genesis 1:27 or by Galatians 3:28, we live in a day which exemplifies the growth of the kingdom of God, a growth Christians should expect to find through the course of history, given what Jesus taught about the kingdom's presence in the world.

We could also measure these developments, along with related ones in the body of Christ itself, in respect of the understanding of God as Trinity, a communion of love in which the three persons mutually, interpenetratively indwell each other in unity. The flowering of mutuality in human societies, whether in marriages, families, or the church, is a perfecting of the image of God in humanity, for which we were created and then restored through redemption.

Unfortunately, as noted by me in previous posts on Arianism, the background to the first four great ecumenical councils, was one in which christology developed in the engagement between Jewish Christianity and Hellenistic culture, finding fruitfulness in emphasis on Logos/Son christology but also an accruing baggage around a subordinationist christology. The baggage accrued to the point where the subordinate Logos or Son, in the hands of Arian, broke the Son away from God so that there was a time when the Son was not. Notwithstanding this happening, subordinationism remained within the thinking of the orthodox Nicaeo-Chalcedon church. Thus, fast forwarding to the present day, we can find a North American Anglican bishop, John Rodgers of the Rwanda-aligned AMiA, offering "A Serious Argument Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood and Episcopate." I leave you to judge whether it is 'serious' or 'seriously flawed' but in the course of his overall argument he offers a trinitarian underpinning:

"We can ask, "Why did God order things so?" Such a universal, sustained practice requires a profound and divine reason. The Bible tells us what this reason is. Male headship in the priesthood and eldership of God's chosen people roots in the male headship in the family, which is part of God's good ordering of the creation. And God's ordering of the relations of male and female in the family ultimately reflects and rests upon God's own Triune nature. Human life, made in the image and likeness of God, mirrors the mystery of God's own Triune life.

This involves our understanding of God as Triune. God is One; God is Threefold. He is the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: three inter-penetrating persons of equal dignity and divinity united in a single life of love and mutual indwelling. He is one God in one nature eternally existing in three Persons. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God, we can expect to find (and do find) analogies of God's Triune nature in creation and above all in our human nature. [My italics].

In the Triune life of God, as Scripture teaches and the Eastern Orthodox tradition often reminds us, there is a hierarchy among equals. An eternal headship and an eternal submission are lived out in the divine life of love. God the Father is by nature Father in His Triune life. He is the eternal loving fountainhead of the Trinity. He is eternally the Father of the Son and the primary source of the being of the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Son is ever delighted to do the Father's will. In a biblical view, submitting to one's father is what a good son does, whether it be human sons of human fathers or the divine Son of the divine Father. The Spirit is always the Spirit of the Father and the Son and submissive to both.

The main point we want to note is that loving headship and submission are eternal in the life of God. They are therefore of the eternal order of things. This has consequences for God's act of creation. God's own nature and his attributes provide the pattern for his act of creation and particularly for the order and life of those made in his image and likeness-men and women. We can expect to find headship and submission in the way we have been created in relation to one another. At the same time, the Father's act of creation is an authoritative act, a command. He speaks and it is done (through the Son, by the Spirit). He reigns over the creation that he has made. Here we have the significance of God's revealing himself to us in male terms as "the Father," "the Son," and "the Spirit". The male name of "the Father" points to his being distinct from the creation that he has made, ordered, and sustained, and it points also to his Lordship over it. Creation is not birthed from God's own being as the religions of the world tend to teach.

Does God not have a more feminine aspect? Yes. God has attributes that are more fully exhibited by women than by men, but they are always "his" attributes. He is never called "her." Even the more feminine attributes are his attributes, attributes of the one who with loving, divine initiative and authority called the world into being, not from his own nature but from nothing, ex nihilo, from beyond the world."
Rodgers' argument joins together two understandings of the Trinity, one captured in the italicised paragraph and one captured in the following paragraph. I suggest they cannot be joined together in this way. Either God is mutually indwelling love lived in the true equality of interpenetrating divine persons or God is hierarchy with headship and subordination.

What do you think about the either/or?

POSTSCRIPT: a rejoinder to the Rodgers article is here. Worth a look!


Rhys L said...

Our insights (if any) into the Trinity have been drawn from reflection upon God's revelation in Christ, and surely its to Christ himself we should go to try to understand Christian ethics. We are going to have a much better view of how to treat each other by reflection on His way of treating people, than by impertinently peering into the inner life of the Trinity.

Father Ron Smith said...

"Does God not have a more feminine aspect? Yes. God has attributes that are more fully exhibited by women than by men, but they are always "his" attributes. He is never called "her."

Excepting, of course, by Dame Julian of Norwich - but then, she's 'only a woman'!

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rhys,
I think I see the point you are making.

The 'bigger picture' we see when peering into the inner life of God (via God's self-disclosure, of course!) may help us where we have difference in understanding Christ's teaching, or where we do not have Christ's teaching on a matter.

In general terms I understand our 'theology' to influence our 'anthropology'. In the specific instance of the Arian controversy, ++Rowan Williams sees the Nicene outcome as leading to a different anthropology than would be the case if Arianism had triumphed.

Rosemary said...

You said, “Either God is mutually indwelling love lived in the true equality of interpenetrating divine persons or God is hierarchy with headship and subordination.”

Your either/or isn’t what you yourself believe Peter surely? You believe in hierarchy with headship and subordination. You believe in the authority of the role of Bishop, if not in the role of Director of Theology House!! So I’m not quite sure why you’re asking this question. You believe the church should instruct us as to what we can and cannot teach, despite the fact that Jesus gives His worst condemnation to the Pharisees who followed that practice. In other words, you consider that those who do NOT agree with you in the matter of women, are WRONG. There really are no other options to explain your words and deeds.

By the way, how do you personally interpret the idea that a husband and wife are ‘one.’

Andrew W said...

I think that the idea that union and submission are incompatible has messed up our Christology for quite a long time.

That said, I also maintain that if we are to choose a single defining characteristic of the "Trinity", it should be the Father-Son relationship rather than "oneness".

"Trinity" is but a useful tool for describing and reasoning about an observable spiritual phenomena. Asking "are they one being or not?" is to miss the biblical ideal of unity of Father and Son, whether divine or human.

The pharisees get this. When Jesus declares that God is his father, they don't freak out at the idea that God has a son, but rather at Jesus claim that HE is the son, and in doing so that Jesus claims equality with and authority of God (and not just "sons" in the Hosea 1:10 sense).

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Rosemary,

There may not be such an either/or - it may be a both/and. Arguing for one or the other; exploration of the implications of each is the stuff of theology.

In human terms hierarchy, headship and subordination, are useful for the day to day functioning of society. But I see them as either temporary phenomena (when the bishops, archdeacons and I are in the rest home together, I don't think our former hierarchical roles will be here or there) or provisional phenomena, for the time being the complexity of society requires ordering to simplify matters. Concomitantly, I need persuading that hierarchy, headship and subordination are eternal features of the Godhead.

Those who do not agree with me on the matter of women will presumably argue the toss and time will tell which argument is proven and which is unproven. It might be too early to tell who is wrong. What I think is important is that those supporting the ordination of women have the best theological arguments possible rather than resorting to merely pragmatic considerations.

The oneness of a husband and wife is their unity as a couple which likely will see expression through agreement in decisions, unity in prayer, sexual union, and shared engagement with wider family and society as a couple.

Lucy said...

Peter is it possible that submission and headship are both equally and fully expressions of God's nature, and that this is not in conflict with mutual love or true equality? And following on from that, when I freely and fearlessly submit to whoever, is it possible that I am expressing God’s nature just as fully as the one who is in headship?

I think it is possible that we have problems understanding and living submission because of cultural poverty: we simply don’t have good role models of free, powerful submission, and it clashes with our pre-occupation with self-advancement /expression/... In addition, our situation is made more complex because we are ashamed of our past; in fleeing from historic patterns of patriarchy and abuse, I think we have constructed what may prove to be artificial distinctions such as your ‘either God is mutually indwelling love lived in the true equality of interpenetrating divine persons or God is hierarchy with headship and subordination’. We try to make rules e.g. women must be free to be ordained / must not be ordained - before we have grasped the wonderful priviledge of sharing in the divine life through submission.

This is the way I have come to understand the interlinking of submission/headship: both are opportunities to sacrificially allow Christ to live his life through me. As a consequence, when I am in a position that indicates submission is an appropriate response, I am not putting myself in a degrading or belittling position. On the contrary, I am being given an opportunity to allow Christ’s nature to be formed more fully in me. I don’t think that submission diminishes my human dignity or responsibility because my inspiration and power to submit comes from the life of God within me.

Whatever else is true Peter , it seems clear that you and your bishop will not be in a permanent relationship of headship and submission; SO I guess that your rest home may well prove to be a learning curve for at least one of you ... and an interesting place for us all to hang out and observe!

Anonymous said...

I’m with the consistency of Rosemary! There is amongst those who comment here a crypto-ad hominemism if I, as Bryden boy-he-would-be-dangerous-if-anyone-understood-a-word-he-was-writing Black would say, might be allowed to neologise mixing my linguistic sources. Peter the Greek only scathingly attacks certain individuals when they support women in church leadership, but his silence is screamingly loud when Peter Carrell argues in favor of it. Rosemary continues to be the sole voice of consistent, understandable, non-discombobulating, sola-scriptura (Bible alone) Christianity. Whether we agree with her or not, let’s hear it for her lone voice!


Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,
My problem with his argument is not so much with his Trinitarian theology (although it sounds a bit monarchianist to me, ie Father > Son > Spirit), but his application of internal Trinitarian relationships to relationships between men and women. This seems to me to have very little Biblical evidence. Ephesians 5 points us to Christ and the Church as our model for gender relationships, not Christ and the Father. John 17 draws an analogy between the Father and the Son, with the Son and the apostles. The "image of God" language in Genesis 1 refers to both men and women as different from the other created beings, rather than drawing an analogy to the inner relationships of the triune God. I know my Sydney friends use the same argument, and I have to say I am surprised that people who value the Bible so highly rest their arguments on such flimsy Biblical evidence. There are other Biblical arguments for distinctive male-female roles in the home and church, but Trinitarian relations is not one of them.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Lucy, Alison, Andrew

Thanks for recent comments - all challenging what I have written to one degree or another.

I think my main question back is to Lucy: is the headship shared or fixed to one person in the group? Even in a bishop/diocese relationship the bishop can submit to (e.g.) the will of synod. My general experience of headship belonging in a fixed manner to one person is that spiritual unhealthiness can flow from that, and often does.

I am not convinced that there are many actual marriages in which the couple espouse the headship of the husband and actually live that out consistently. Headship which shifts from person to person from context to context would fit well with submission to one another (i.e. in a marriage the wife might lead an area of shared life, the husband lead another); together they could have common currency with mutuality in communion.

Anonymous said...

May I direct an appeal to Bryden?

I do enjoy your pieces when I can decipher them, but may I ask you to write less allusively (and parenthentically) - and tangentially - as I can chase only one rabbit at a time. I think you have some profound things to say from the perspective of historical and systematic theology but a more lineal presentation would help me - thanks.

To Alison: women in ministry is an issue I just can't get that worked up about because of my belief in the priesthood of all believers, but I think it is catastrophic, even gravely sinful, to exclude people from serving in Anglican churches simply because they hold to the majority consensus throughout history. when this has happened, a church has become a politcal organization and is no longer acting as the body of Christ. Pragmatically, I am unenthusiastic about female leadership because men need to be led by men. Churches led by women become ever more feminized - a simple fact of human organisms. From what I know of the historical origins of the monepiscopacy, liberal catholic theories about ministry and episcopacy have never convinced me, and increasingly I wonder what the point of bishops is in any case. Rosemary makes a telling point about hierarchy.
Orthodox trinitarian theology has always insisted that the Father is the fons divinitatis and has no difficulty with hierarchy and equality.

Peter "Palaiologos"

Father Ron Smith said...

" Pragmatically, I am unenthusiastic about female leadership because men need to be led by men."

- Peter the Greek -

Then you would never have got along with St.Hilda of Whitby, where she presided over a joint monastery of women and men. You might also have had a problem with St. Brigid.

Regarding the Trinitarian modes; whatever became of the appellation:
"Co-Equal and Co-Eternal"?. Is that, too, passe?

Anonymous said...

To Peter the Greek: Please let Bryden continue to write in his inimitable style. He and Rosemary are two of the best contributors here. You appear jealous, Peter, as your style could be described as Bryden-lite.

If you need a translation of Bryden: he agrees with you about gays, he disagrees with you about women. He and Peter Carrell hold the same position on both those debates here.

I understand that you now get worked up about women in leadership about as much as others do about gays in leadership. This buttresses my crypto-ad hominemism point, as you got quite heated about it at least in one conversation I remember, I think it was with Liturgy, but did not make a single response to Peter Carrell’s series on that. Let’s see you and Carrell discuss your assertion that his church “has become a politcal organization and is no longer acting as the body of Christ”.


Rosemary said...

Peter, I’m not sure how hierarchy, headship and subordination can be considered a ‘temporary phenomena,’ perhaps you could explain it to me. As far as I can see, since time immemorial, every household, every committee, every church, in fact every gang from every genesis, has always got to have a leader, a chairman, a boss .. otherwise you have chaos.

You said, “What I think is important is that those supporting the ordination of women have the best theological arguments possible rather than resorting to merely pragmatic considerations.”

Hmm, well I’m a little surprised that you consider the fact that Jesus didn’t choose any female apostles as a ‘pragmatic’ consideration!! Obviously I don’t think you have the best theological argument, and yes, time will tell.

Lastly, your explanation of the ‘oneness’ of a husband and wife does not include what happens when there is a disagreement, only when there is agreement. I suggest that we learn more about the dynamics of such a relationship during the disagreements. By the way, I’m also interested in that ‘oneness’ in Eternity, do you have any thoughts on that?

Rosemary said...

Lucy, thank you so much for your post, and it’s very good consideration of submission. I want to add a personal note in case it helps anyone. Whenever I have had to submit, I have rarely done so graciously, although I hope I’m learning as I grow older. It’s only later that I have found the wisdom to see that my actions or words, reluctant though they may have been, [often kicking and screaming if the truth were known] were indeed what God instructed me to do. I need to add that I have in my husband a very good role model such as you described. Thank you Lord.

Alison .. thank you. I’m not fond of the sort of people who wear sandwich boards going on and on about the same old subject, and am horrified to find myself one of them. You are very understanding and gracious and I thank you.

Peter, in your reply to Lucy you say, “Even in a bishop/diocese relationship the bishop can submit to (e.g.) the will of synod.” I’m quite sure you misspoke, I know you’re very busy and I’m grateful that you manage to spend as much time with this blog as you do, it is beneficial for a large number of people. It’s not that the Bishop CAN submit, it’s that she SHOULD. She is their servant as well as their leader. Just as a vicar is the servant of his parish as well as it’s leader. An onerous task and not one I envy .. but surely that’s the extraordinary beauty of headship and submission.

Bryden Black said...

Just surfaced folks to this delightful thread: good-on-ya-folks for the courtesy; but I’ve been indisposed ...

I will go for the jugular here. Robert Jenson has a small monograph entitled “Unbaptized God” (1992). It is his understanding, painstakingly drawn up in a number of other, earlier texts, and then pulled together in his subsequent 2 volume Systematics (1997/99), that features of our current and historical appreciation of God’s triunity remain insufficiently “baptized into the God of the Gospel”.

One conclusion that nails a key matter for the East, and which serves for some justification for hierarchy here, has to do with the so-called “root” of the Trinity, in the Person of the Father. What if there are in fact TWO “poles” - the word is RWJ’s - to the divine being: the Father as Unoriginate, and the Spirit as Unbounded Futurity. (How this is reached and how it works out is too lengthy for a mere blog, folks!) The point is this: the Holy Spirit is our “down payment/guarantee” (Eph 1:14, 2 Cor 1:22) of that which is to come. Yet he may be this for us in the history of salvation, because this is the indication of his eternal identity. QED: that identity, as the divine Unsurpassability, fully ‘balances’ that of the Father in the way Jenson suggests.

True; this IS heady stuff; and somewhat a peering into the divine inner Being. BUT this is exactly what the Gospel does/invites us to do. For if we deny Athanasius’s conclusion that the Word inheres in the divine Being (a woefully simplistic summary; apologies - the KISS principle Peter!) - which is itself some form of peering into the inner life of God - then the entire Gospel of Redemption falls apart: God is effectively truly silent and we are thrown back upon ourselves.

So; it’s a matter of how we construe God’s Trinitarian nature. Do either the classical formulations of West (Augustine, Aquinas) or East (Cappadocians, Palamas) have the last word? Is there yet more work to be done, to baptize more fully our understanding of how and why God is indeed as he has revealed himself through Jesus and in the Spirit - as Trinity? No; to the first: and Yes; to the second! Deo Gloria!

Ever since Karl Barth kicked the subject off anew in the 1920s and 30, and ever since he was taken up by Eberhard Jüngel in 1964, there has been a veritable flood of literature. It is slowly percolating ‘down’ to the pews, thank God. And when it does more fully, then we shall see much of the rug will have been pulled out from under the likes of Bp John’s premises. It will be like another twist of the barrel of a kaleidoscope, as the pieces of glass are reorientated to cast the light of God’s Gospel anew into a fresh pattern. We will still see old pieces there as well; but the overall shape will be as I say - new, richer, more dazzling! And one key element, which so far has been strenuously avoided, will be more baptized still - the nature and significance of divine temporality.

liturgy said...

Easter Season Greetings!

Most of these discussions are interesting for me but a tired Friday-afternoon brain cannot contribute anything of value.

I do always wince when the word "hierarchy", holy rule, the Christian understanding of ruling, government, leadership (ἀρχός leader), is understood, in “the world” to mean as used here: headship, submission, and subordination, rather than as Jesus would have holy rule to be, IMO, service.

Because the word has been torn away from the cross rather than transformed by it, I tend to shy away from using it. I just checked – in the 923 posts on my blog, I never use the word once.

Christ is risen!


Bryden Black said...

could not agree more Bosco: the Cross transforms just about all our language - must so transform it: back to Rom 12:1-2 again!

Anonymous said...

"Then you would never have got along with St.Hilda of Whitby, where she presided over a joint monastery of women and men. You might also have had a problem with St. Brigid."

You are absolutely right. The monastic life would never have suited my hormones. Plus, Hild was English. I doubt I could have coped with an Irish mammy either - shades of Milo O'Shea. :)

Peter "Palaiologos"

Peter Carrell said...

Thanks everyone for some great comments!

I think the main outstanding response from me are to some matters Rosemary raises.

1. just in case I am being misunderstood, pro-women's ordination should have great theological arguments rather than pragmatic arguments; but I am not suggesting non- or anti-women's ordination arguments are only pragmatic.

2. I think hierarchies have a temporary or provisional quality. On the pitch the team is led by a captain; afterwards in the pub everyone drinks whatever they choose. In heaven I do not think there will be bishops or presbyters or deacons let alone archdeacons or canons.

3. Disagreements in marriage: as far as I can tell the couples I know, including the one I am part of, work their way through disagreements on a case by case basis. Disagreement X needs an eventual consensus reached (X might be big issues like shifting town, buying a house, etc). Disagreements Y and Z might be handled by letting husband take the lead on Y, the wife take the lead on Z (X and Y might be smaller issues like what to have for dinner, which movie to watch, etc).

4. Oneness in heaven. Well I may be misunderstanding Jesus, but I do not think we will be married in heaven. Our oneness on earth is part of giving life here (producing children, building secure families, witnessing to God's love, etc), but in heaven that life giving will not be required.

You raise an issue, Alison, which I might want to discuss re the church being a political organization ... no particular energy for that at the moment. Sorry!

James said...

It is terribly difficult for us to set aside - even partially - our cultural conditioning when approaching certain issues. In our times, "gender" is such a loaded word, and has undergone any number of major paradigm shifts even in a single generation. In women's issues, our generation began with a split between "woman stays at home and does cultural things like writing and arty stuff" and "woman needs to work, perhaps divorce, get out in the world in ownership of her potential, and refrain from sex with dominant, stinky men." Now the "leftist" side has largely caved into "Spice Girl Empowerment" (flashing leg and cleavage being part of empowerment), merged somewhat with the "other-voice" feminists like Carol Gilligan - with greater respect for abiding marriage commitments and differences between the gifts of men and women. What's left over is the general lack of appreciation of domesticity (with domestic tasks still shunned, or delegated to poorly paid workers) and more than an abstract sense of parenthood in child-raising (the great push for children being raised by the State, with many nations pushing for greater roles in loco parentis). The consumerist economy with its enormous waste tends to require both spouses to work full time in increasingly specialized employment, bringing new strains to gender relations. I'd suggest that the earthquake of sex and gender issues is far from over, and that "late capitalism" with its understandings of what leadership is, and what gender is, is far from a stable ideological paradigm. Those arguing for better conditions for women now are likely to be treated with as much contempt as the feminists of ten years ago. This is, I believe, one of the reasons Elaine Showalter - a great feminist literary critic - largely abandoned literary criticism for pop culture punditry.

This is to say: the early 21st century is a difficult time for asking questions about Scripture and gender, and we do well to avoid placing too much emphasis on this generation's understanding compared to that of previous generations. However, I do applaud the fact that we are doing this nonetheless. I tend to shy away from it, the thought of saying something about gender making me fear someone will yell at me - a fate not only shared by men, but also some (female) feminists.

I used to explain to women that my readings of 1980's and 90's feminists made me cautious in engaging in such gender-stereotyped actions as opening doors for them (and that I'd been scolded for opening doors for women). To which frequently the response was, "Only lunatic women would write such a thing. I also have an academic background, which you must not belittle, as I did three years of technical school in marketing; and I do not think such things, so you must be lying. And you must stop thinking you can hurt women by merely having sex with them if they aren't interested in commitment or there's no mutual respect; that is sexist; sex is for fun." Or something like that. To which I could only reply that if the "anti-sexist" code of conduct of one moment of avoiding objectification turns into "sexism" in the space of a mere decade, there is something very unhealthy in the way we are dealing with gender in general.

So I'm not sure the preoccupations of late capitalism are significantly better for women than those of previous generations, nor that those of the next decade, or the decade after that, will not be better than what we have now; and most certainly: that there is no over-arching teleology of "progress" in gender relations - but rather that there is some legitimacy to be found in the gender relations of every age and culture.

The only relevance of all of the above to Scripture and gender is: we must be very, very careful - especially now, since gender expectations are so fluid from decade to decade.

Anonymous said...

To Alison:

Jealous? Moi? I don't think so, tho' I freely grant our own faults may be hidden from ourselves. I would just like Bryden to unpack some of his telegraphic writing a bit more as I think I could learn a good bit from it. Maybe he should guest-post - with Peter's permission.
I understand his basic positions well enough. Where I cross swords with Bosco - and Ron Smith - is with what I see as their liberal catholicism. The Church of England was and is reformed and Protestant, and infusing catholic and patristic theories about its ministry and sacraments can sit ill at ease with the BCP.

Peter "Palaiologos"

James said...

One of the things a philosopher frequently does is to sit at the sidelines, watching various sides duke it out in debate.

This debate reminds me of some "gossip" I heard in the 90's about Derrida and a group of academic feminist devotees who had invited him to a conference. They were quite intent upon unpacking his notion of différence with regard to gender, and were very, very upset when he refused to agree that the difference between male and female is one of ontological difference.

There are some tasks which men tend to be very, very poor at executing. We've also all heard at how women excell at "multi-tasking."

We must acknowledge at least the possibility that the type of "headship" as described by Paul is something significantly different from what we today associate with "leadership." It most certainly does not exclude wise council or creativity from members who are not "heads." It might even be more receptive than active - e.g., not creating new ideas and plans, as much as receiving ideas and plans drawn up by others, and discerning which to act upon - as a manager (and managers have the responsibility of not being too creative - creativity belonging more to the other parts of the body - managers expected to know their place, and employ the creations of the body). Managers are known for being dull, grey, "serious," conservative individuals - as indeed they should be, out of respect for the creative powers of those they manage. One who wishes to be creative - should not choose to be a manager.

Today's preoccupation with career mobility is so utterly blind to doing one's task well, including creative / directive aspects. Our work areas and designated tasks seem to be drawn more from metaphors of the assembly line and its mechanical requirements, rather than the glory of an organic body. Staff are treated as "human resources" - like coal, grain, or steel (cf. Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology). So it only makes sense that everyone would love to escape from being barked at as a gear in the machine, in order to become the head and do the barking one's self.

Likewise, we tend also to be preoccupied with a small group of heroes and celebrities; this probably also has its effects in shaping our desire for career ladderism.

A future generation might have the creativity to pattern work organization more after organic bodies than assembly lines; with this preoccupation about career mobility put largely to the side, with perhaps only men selected for the sorry task of being the dull, grey manager who chooses and delegates, but does not create.

Future, wiser churches might find ways to enable the whole body in ministry, with the rector as head and manager (but himself doing little ministry amongst the flock) - rather than our current assumption that ministry tends to "belong" to clergy.

And women - with their great creative powers - might very wisely choose the fulfilling task of actually engaging in ministry, instead of the rather thankless and non-creative task of directing and ordering it.

Anonymous said...

"The Church of England was and is reformed and Protestant, and infusing catholic and patristic theories about its ministry and sacraments can sit ill at ease with the BCP." Peter the Greek

As they say in New Zealand: "Yeah Right!"

Here's a response from today's sidebar: