Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ordain Women Now Adjusts to Reactions

As I reported earlier, OWN opened a Facebook page for the purpose of supposedly fostering discussion, even though the title of their group indicates the opposite.  As of yesterday they felt constrained to 'turn off' regular posting to the wall because of what they termed "spaming."  Experienced FB uses corrected this observation and noted that what was occurring, for the most part, was simply a spirited discussion, exactly what they were aiming for, or so it seemed.  Unfortunately, for them, much of the discussion was not supportive of their goal. As of today the reported "likes," a FB attribute to indicate popularity, is now at 222, up significantly from a few days ago when it was first launched.  It's hard to determine, however, where all those 'likes' originate, as some posters willingly admitted that they are LCMS refugees now living and working in the ELCA.  So, one would be cautious about concluding that this is a groundswell of support for their cause.

In reaction to the closing of the wall posting a parallel group was launched just yesterday, playing off of their name and logo: ORDAIN MEN ONLY in the LCMS.  Their "like" category is quickly catching up, now registering 171 as of today.  So, are there more who want ordination for women than do not?  I certainly wouldn't use FB as a barometer.  Still, it's interesting to watch the debate. 

A comment from the group's organizer notes: "Jayne, we're hoping that conversations will occur in congregations and throughout the Synod. CS."  How they will stimulate such 'conversations' in most local congregations remains to be seen.  Pastors, by and large, are 'gatekeepers' for mail coming into the parish, so a major push in this way will accomplish little, as those in Jesus First and Renewal in Missouri undoubted discovered in a past era.  Internet media is still largely untapped by many parishoners, especially those of the older generation (some of my elderly members hadn't even heard of it!).  Then we must factor in whether most of our younger women will even discover this site, let alone their main web site, and if they do whether they will be catalysts to inject a debate in their own churches.  Unless they could launch a major media campaign that would have maximum exposure in the average congregation, I seriously doubt that their 'movement' will gain any meaningful traction.  So, in the end, the desire to impact people at ground level will probably fall far short of its intended goal.  Their best hope is that the pastors themselves will champion their cause, and from my vantage point it does not seem that there are enough sympathetic to their cause to make even a dent.  

For now it therefore remains just another localized internet phenomenon. 

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