Monday, 18 July 2011

Keeping the debate on the agenda

I've just come back from holiday to find the usual box-full of emails!

Nothing new there, but I was encouraged to find that among the boring ones were one telling me that Kate Coleman (pic above) is speaking at a LICC event in September, and one from a woman saying how helpful she'd found my book, amid the continuing confusion and controversy within the Anglican church.

First, LICC (the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity). On Monday 26th September, at 6.30pm Kate Coleman and others from her team, are leading an event: 7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership - an overview of the seven and an introduction to the first 'sin', 'Limiting Self-Perceptions'. You can find more about the event here.

Now to the email. The fact that all the dioceses which have voted regarding women as bishops have seen fit to vote in favour of moving ahead shows how much weight there is in support of women's leadership. But the debate continues in certain quarters of the church.

The idea that so-called subordination in the Trinity has a bearing on the leadership of women continues to be brought out as an argument against women's leadership - as if the relative positions or relationships of three persons of the godhead can say anything about the relations between men and women, or about women as leaders.

I do respect those who wish to be true to scripture, but I find it really hard to see how this obscure view of Trinitiarian doctrine can be thought clearer than all of Paul's practice and teaching.

So let's keep reading and thinking and talking: to overcome internal barriers such as 'limiting self-perception', and external barriers which continue to keep women safely in 'submission' on the sidelines rather than serving God in the spiritual battle!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

In the image of God

In the Image of God is the title of a booklet recently published by the Sophia Network.

It's an 8-week course exploring what the Bible says about men and women, and is based on the course run by email last autumn. A booklet of 52 pages clearly can't go into a huge amount of detail, but I was impressed with the range and scope of the studies, and I hope it's widely read and used - see the Sophia site for details of how to buy a copy.

This resource was launched at the Sophia Network's excellent day conference last month, where Maggi Dawn, Howard Worsley and Lis Goddard spoke on different aspects of the debate about women. Lis had some extremely helpful and striking things to say about 'how to disagree agreeably', as well as providing some useful insights into the texts so often under discussion.

We need to keep discussing, and where we disagree, to do it agreeably!

At the conference I also found out more about the resources being produced by Restored, to help churches to understand more about domestic violence, and to help young people avoid getting into abusive relationships. I'm impressed that they are not just dealing with the results of violence but trying to stimulate wider thinking about relationships generally. It's also got an international dimension. Take a look!