Archive for July 2014

On the Ordination of Women and the Orthodox Church: a Comment   Leave a comment

1805_10151815944799152_1962743405_n

I am dedicating this blog post to express my views not on the Church of England’s (henceforth CoE) approval of women to the ministry of episcopacy, which I utterly approve, but on the reaction of the prominent Eastern Orthodox churches to that approval. As a Christian who is from an Eastern Orthodox background, I felt that the statement of the largest Orthodox Church in the world (the Patriarchate of Moscow) is alarming and that every Christian, especially Orthodox ones, need to stop and reflect on its disturbing content.

Beside many inflammatory articles by Orthodox priests (see this one for example), the statement assaults the Church of England’s new decision because :

1-It did not come out of “a theological necessity” but because it complies with “the secular idea of gender equality”

2- It confirms what the Muscovite Church considers a negative issue, that is, “the increasing role of women in the British society.”

3- It leads to “elevating” women to the “dignity” of episcopacy.

 

In the past, Orthodox hierarchs were more diplomatic by saying that the Orthodox church believes in gender equality but, for theological reasons, they are prevented from the sacrament of priesthood.  Now the unprecedented aggression of the statement went beyond these politically correct words and made it clear: gender equality is a secular idea and the church should not comply with this. Priesthood is a dignity, not simply another service, and therefore women do not deserve such dignity. Most important is the assault on western culture and explicitly British society, which witnesses, God forbid(!), an increasing role for women.

Based on that, the Russian Church considers the Church of England as an unapostolic church i.e. lost its apostolic succession which automatically means it is not anymore a church. Moreover, it sets itself not only against “the long-held church tradition” but also the Gospel(!).

Now let me put down some points:

First of all, enmity towards the idea of a secular state shows us in which direction the Church of Moscow is moving. The former KGB officer, patriarch Kiril, has been supporting Putin’s policies to give the Church authorities over society that breach the rights of the freedom of thought. Opposition to the ideas of the church is handled with the iron fist of the state and we have seen many cases including homophobia, scientific critical thinking (evolution) …etc. In return, Kiril has been a ruthless supporter of Vladimir Putin and his foreign policies.  Is this a value Christianity advocates?

Secondly, if Christianity does not accept gender equality then what version of Christianity are we encountering? It is any version but the version of Jesus! Here I do not want to repeat the clichés of stock answers about the role of women in the first Church because I do not think that this is the right approach to the question of gender equality i.e. we are not salafists to blindly follow the practices of any Christian generation in any century. But we are Christians, we attribute ourselves to the one whom we call the Lord. Jesus did not leave any books or cultic practices but insights about a new world he asks us to realise, launched in his person and ministry. It is what NT scholars refer to as the realised eschatology of the Kingdom of God. We Christians are called to existentially transform our views because we are realising a kingdom operating and growing in our thoughts and life. The values of this Kingdom sent Jesus right to the cross because they were subversive to the eschatology of another king, the Divi Filius August.

Social, sexual, national and gender divisions have absolutely no place on the table of the Kingdom. This is the fact on which Christianity’s raison d’être hinges  on: The first will be last and the last will be first. Thus is a new understanding of Lordship in which the Lord is serving rather than being served.  In the light of this new reality in which every Christian is invited to be involved, it is unthinkable to believe that a dignity, whatever it is, should be withheld from a group of humans because what they are!

It is us who should think about what we are doing and reflect on our existential questions in the light of the new reality which we proclaim as a Gospel… not adhering to a blind following of earlier generations! That’s what makes Christianity a faith in a present reality of unconditional love , not a cultic religion that looks forward towards a futurist judgment based on the level of compliance with affiliation to inherited cultic acts of purity!

If gender equality is a “secular” product should the Christianity of Kiril embrace the opposite? (discrimination)?

 

It has always been strange to me that the Kingdom of God and its values are not present in the Nicaean creed. Now, I understand the consequence.

Heresy in Christianity has been about the gender of the priest and the veneration of icons… but we have not seen a heresy of embracing dictatorship and oppression. Denying the gravity of giving weapons to rebels who indiscriminately shoot civilian jets and killing civilians is a heresy because it offends the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Embracing the imprisonment of a group of people because they offended a church is a heresy against the values of the Kingdom of God.

Embracing the imprisonment of those whose sexual orientation is different is a heresy against the values of the Kingdom of God.

Depriving women from what is called a type of “dignity” because they are “women” is unequivocally a heresy which would leave Jesus in complete shock if he witnessed it.

I unconditionally condemn every act of discrimination whatsoever. As a Christian whose background is shared with that Church I must declare that I am entirely against these values of their Christianity. I believe in the values of the Kingdom of God as inaugurated in the life of Jesus.

Mina Monier

Cambridgeshire, July 2014

 

Posted July 26, 2014 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized

“Beyond Bultmann”: A Newly Published Volume   Leave a comment

a new important book published.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

I’m pleased to learn that a multi-author volume to which I’m a contributor has now been published:  Beyond Bultmann:  Reckoning a New Testament Theology, eds. Bruce W. Longenecker & Mikeal C. Parsons (Baylor University Press, 2014).  You can view the publisher’s information on the volume here.

Rudolf Bultmann was the dominant NT scholar of his generation, especially in Germany where he exercised amazing powers of getting his doctoral students appointed to university posts.  This made for a Bultmann “school” of sorts (although, as one expects of German scholars, this “school” also developed differences, even differences with Bultmann on some points).  The only other European figure who could be thought of as contending with Bultmann for influence was probably Oscar Cullmann.  Especially in English-speaking circles, Cullmann was known widely, probably at an earlier point more widely than Bultmann, largely because Cullmann’s works were translated a bit earlier and more…

View original post 360 more words

Posted July 18, 2014 by Mina Monier in Uncategorized