Monday, June 13, 2011

More Thoughts on the Priesthood

Alice C. Linsley

As some readers of Just Genesis know, I was ordained a priest in the Epsicopal Church in 1988 in the Diocese of Pennsylvania by Bishop Allan Bartlett.  I left the Episcopal Church on the Sunday that Gene Robinson was consecrated bishop in New Hampshire. That was the line in the sand for me.  Everyone should know where their line is before the day comes when they are tempted to cross it.

I believe that I was a caring and effective church administrator and I trust that God was able to use my offerings, meager as they were at times. Yet as I stood at the altar, I sometimes had the feeling that I didn't belong there, or that I was wearing someone else's shoes. Indeed the priest wears the shoes of the Man Jesus Christ, the universal ruler-priest.  Not every man can wear those shoes, and they are not meant to be worn by women.

After I renounced my ordination vows I was able to dedicate myself to research and began to explore the origins of the priesthood as a biblical anthropologist. If you are interested in some of my conclusions, you might want to read this "Response to Dr. Peter Moore on Women Priests."

Related reading:  What is a Priest?; Why Women Were Never Priests; C.S. Lewis on Women Priests; God as Male Priest


Teena Blackburn said...

I had an argument on FB with some Episcopalians (and an Orthodox I think) over the issue of women's ordination. You really cannot talk to these people-it's especially interesting when they play fast and loose with early church history, and then turn around and say, "Well, the New Testament didn't know a priesthood as we know it anyway." I also had to argue with whether the issue was a doctrinal one. I really am just baffled by the willingness to throw 2,000 years of practice under the bus. Of course, it leads to the ordination of active homosexuals as well, because once you've ordained women, you've admitted that gender doesn't matter in any significant way. Argh....

Alice C. Linsley said...

If these Episcopalians are still in TEC they have by now been fully indoctrinated. Shake the dust from your sandals!

Lvka said...

Hi, Alice!

This is off-topic:

a man sick with cancer needs all the help he can get:

Link 1 , Link

If you could maybe post about it, get the word out there and help draw more attention to his case...

Thank you, and God bless.

Fr Theodore said...

Dear Alice,

You are right. Sometimes, it is best to shake the dust off one's sandals and walk away.

As a wise person once quipped, it is pointless to try to teach a pig to sing: it only annoys the pig and frustrates you.

There are times when people are open to hearing the truth spoken in love, and if we discern that openness, we should speak. Or if, like you, we are scholars who can enter the scholarly debate with credibility, we should do so in love and humility.

But the non-intellectual baggage associated with this topic prevents most people from having a true, open-minded dialogue. Indeed, the greatest criticisms I faced when I renounced my Episcopal ordination to become Orthodox were that we didn't ordain women and opposed same-sex marriage, which were seen as self-evident "social justice" issues, not theological or anthropological.

Now, if I found myself in need of discussing this with an Episcopalian, I think I would first refer them to your writings, Alice, which are refreshingly straight forward, intelligent, and non-emotional (yet frequently personal in the best sense of the word). It might not do any good, but at least it would expose them to something other than the usual barrage of proof texts or equality language.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thank you, Fr. Theodore, for those encouraging words. I appreciate your comment.