Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Open Discussions and Alternate Interpretations in Synod

A new issue of the online Daystar Journal is now available.  Nothing new had been published since the Spring, so I was interested to see what was written. Three articles are offered with a common theme detected from at least two of them.  Once more a call arises for more open discussion and study of previously controversial and contentious issues, not least among them being the ordination of women.  In the past I have been resistive to seeing the Synod treat WO as an 'open topic.'  In many ways I still am.  The Daystar folks would undoubtedly label my reaction as one of fear: fear of change.  Perhaps.  Or might we substitute the word cautious for fear?  I take my cue from the beginning of Holy Scripture, remembering the devil's ancient method contained in the seemingly simple question: "Did God actually say...?"  Questioning, of course, is part of the learning process.  However, in our culture today the idea that there are any absolutes has been substituted for a philosophy of relativism.  Thus, questioning does not end with a definite answer, but more questions.  It seems that this is what continues to plague us in the Synod.  At what point are we allowed to rest on truth and accept it as is?  Or is the understanding of truth always subject to more inquiries?  Or do we ask questions only for the answers we wish to have?  Or do we let the world outside the church set the pace for these questions?  I think that all of this needs to be examined before we once again work to dismantle what we confess.  If one takes a careful look at the Synod today you will not have to go far to see where this questioning is going.  Take a very public sight on Facebook called "OWN: Ordain Women Now."  This is not a call for discussion.  If so one would employ the subjunctive.  Instead we are given an imperative.  So we know where the questions are intended to lead.  Others have studied the issue and they ordained women.  So what's holding us back?  Stop the studying and just do it!  Of course the approach could be said to be the same on the other side of the aisle as well.  My point, however, is that those calling for more open discussion appear to already have made up their minds.  So, are we willing to really discuss this?  I wonder.....

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