I was away yesterday at a conference. As usual, plenty of stimulation. I have brought back with me, as a return to the TH library from a borrowing friend, Rupert Shortt's biography of ++Rowan. A very nice book to read on the plane home. Including this passage which better expresses something I have been trying to say here, recently. In Shortt's words, ++Rowan, when he changed his own mind on the ordination of women, came to this argument (p. 94):
"All Christian priesthood has its ground in the priestly work of Jesus. The function of ministerial priesthood is given to some by God's call, so that the dignity belonging to all may be received. To infer that women cannot be priests entails two assumptions incompatible with the New Testament model of priesthood: that the ordained priest's relation to the priesthood of Christ is different in kind from that of the baptised person; and that a baptised woman's relation to Christ's priesthood is substantially different from a baptised's mans. For those who reject these assumptions, it follow that the ordinaton of women is perfectly compatible with Catholic orthodoxy."
Further stimulation came with the thought that unbeknown to myself I have made a personal submission to the Ma Whaea Commission [our church's commission on ordination/blessings re same sex partnerships]. A member of the Commission at the conference told me that they had seen a DVD in which I dialogue with another person re these matters. Here was me feeling slightly guilty for not having (yet) made the effort to make a submission! (The DVD was made for the Auckland Diocese late last year. If you want a copy please contact their office, not mine. I am not even sure where my copy is, and haven't yet watched it.)
Coming back home and catching up on internet news I find that Mark Harris has published a rubbishing of the CofE's recent statement about marriage in relation to the UK government's proposals about same sex marriage. I have disagreed with him in a comment on his site.
This morning on Thinking Anglicans there is an interesting statement by the UK government as it tackles with the horny matter of religious bodies and their response to their proposals about same sex 'marriage': they are proposing that religious bodies will be exempt from any requirement to bless such 'marriages' and from any consequences re anti-discrimination legislation, with the further step that religious bodies would need to opt in to such blessings (rather than opt out). I will be blunt: if it was just the Cof E they were up against, I do not think they would be so kind, believing the CofE can be kicked around. But they are also up against all mosques, some synagogues and all Roman Catholic churches. This direction from the UK could be helpful for our own parliament when it soon considers these matters ...
Indeed, I wonder if the UK government is offering a way forward for our church as it grapples internally with these issues. Suppose we do pass certain legislation in 2014 which is controversial: what if it offered "opt in" for dioceses and/or parishes and/or clergy, rather than "opt out"?