Friday, December 9, 2011

"Ordain Women Now" (OWN) Opens Facebook Page

Today it became official, according to website manager Carol Schmidt.  The name is changed, as is the mission. Initially the purpose was discussion surrounding the CTCR document "The Creator's Tapestry."  Such discussion did not occur, as was hoped.  Now the direction has changed.  As Ms. Schmidt notes:

While we have no idea how many people in the Missouri Synod want to advocate for the ordination of women, some of us believe there can be no hope for discussion without a place and voice for such advocacy.  Without a voice for advocacy, all voices who desire true discussion will be silenced even if an appearance of discussion is projected.

To widen their push for "advocacy" they have also opened a Facebook page.  Under the mission of the group the following is posted:

There are many theological perspectives on the role of women in the LCMS, but not all aspects have been heard or considered. Studies conducted over the last four decades by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) on the topic of women in church have created confusion and unnecessary division within and among congregations due to a lack of thorough study of the issues and of relevant Biblical texts.

For discussion to occur, all positions on an issue must be voiced or put forth. While there are many groups that ironically speak in favor of the silencing of women, there has never been a group in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod that has advocated the ordination of women. Therefore, the purpose and mission of LCMS OWN is twofold:

1) To help create a space where the voices and writings of people in favor of the ordination of women can emerge and
2) To openly call for the public discussion, within congregations and synod-wide, of the ordination of women.

Obviously those desiring women's ordination in the LCMS do not intend to go away quietly.  In fact, they would like to see their agenda and debate spill over into our local congregations.  Such is the direction of "advocacy."  Respect for decades of responsible scholarship from our trusted theologians has been exchanged for a call to seek answers until we find the one we were looking for all along.  Obviously the seminaries are not on board.  Obviously officers in the highest place do not show a willingness to champion their cause.  So to the streets they go.  Create a space for local unrest until it rises high enough to force the hand of those above.  Or so it appears from my vantage point.

While this is being couched in terms of "discussion," the title of their group and website say it all.  Only one outcome is acceptable, so all "discussion" will ultimately have to arrive there.  This was the agenda all along, but only now is the impatience and boldness fully evident.  How does one "discuss" an issue impartially when the other side is screaming in capital letters: "ORDAIN WOMEN NOW!"??  No, discussion is not the goal.  But then again it hasn't really been so from the other side either.  While one can discuss theology to learn, their idea of discussion is to open up the matter for change.  Unfortunately to do so only creates the very confusion about which they complain.  I can only imagine if my seminary training had been nothing more than endless discussions of this sort.  Until very recently, historically speaking, women were not ordained to the office of the public ministry.  Two Millenia of theologians held that Paul and the church did not approve.  We have accepted their seasoned wisdom.  So, no, it is not a topic open for "discussion" if the purpose is to seek overthrowing centuries of hallowed practice for the sake of current sociological change. 

Whether this new initiative gains traction remains to be seen. Their first attempt fell flat. So far the Facebook initiative is mere hours old.  I will keep watching.

Addendum (on 12-10): After at least 20 hours of being published, the Facebook page has only 8 "likes."  In FB reality this seems awfully slow and small.  Apparently the ideas are not necessarily going "viral" yet....
Addendum (on 12-11):  They now have 50 "likes," and a few people have begun to comment, although not all in favor of WO.  Still a bit slow for Facebook....


Pr Mark Henderson said...

'I will keep watching'.
As will I, with great interest.
I don't expect this will be any consolation to you Donald, but down under the 'discussion' has been going on for 20 years.

The Rev. Donald V. Engebretson said...

Thank you, Mark. Unfortunately, in one way or another, this kind of 'discussion' has been going on 'up here' probably even longer. I see the first visible roots of it at least by the 60's or 70's.