Dream along with God

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori addressed the recent convocation of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Basing her remarks on Isaiah 61:1-9 she encouraged the incoming class to "dream along with God." According to Mary Frances Schjonberg and Daniel Webster in Episcopal Life Online:

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the incoming class ... that they need to consider, how theological thinking is going to help to shape the rest of your life.

The task of theological education really is to help us learn to do theology -- to relate our own stories, and the stories of those around us, to the great stories of our faith, so that we may be able to give an account of the faith that is within us. Theological education can bless us with the ability to see the need and hurt and injustice of the world, the ways in which God's dream is not yet being realized.

In his introduction of the Presiding Bishop, Union President Joseph C. Hough, Jr. said that her election is "emblematic of the determination of the Episcopal Church to embody a new church for the 21st century and to forge a model for a prophetic church in a radically changing world." ... a "prophetic statement to the church and the world at a time when aggressive misogyny has reared its ugly head in many Christian communions, determined to restore the full grip of male hegemony in the leadership of Christian Churches."

"She and her church in full view of the world have defied this trend and engendered hope for many of us Christians who abhor this sort of male exclusivism," Hough continued.

Hough said that "since misogyny is almost always accompanied by homophobia, it is hardly surprising that she has been the object of virulent attacks for her openness to gay ordination from some of her fellow bishops and clergy in the Anglican Communion."

"What is so wondrous for me to see is her refusal to engage in white hot polemics in response to this ecclesiastical skullduggery," he added.

Read the news story here

Read the address by Katharine Jefferts Schori here

Watch a brief video of the Convocation and read more here

Comments (3)

Whenever I hear someone use words like misogyny, homophobia and male hegemony, I wonder if the speaker has any real understanding of the motives of the people he abhors.

Ralph Wagenet

It seems to me that such words could have both a subjective sense (a claim of feelings of hatred or antipathy) or an objective sense (a claim that prejudice and social power have combined to create oppression).

In the second sense, I think it's perfectly appropriate to use a word like homophobia. It's not a matter of people's motives, but of something clearly displayed in human events. It describes an oppressive force of evil, the sort of thing that Ephesians 6 and our baptismal covenant call us to war against spiritually. Prejudice doesn't oppress people; power does. It is, I suspect, the objective alliance between them that Hough decries.

If I'm understanding that second sense in this context, the word homophobia is being used to make a claim that prejudice and oppression have combined to cause practicing homosexuals to be denied the right to be ordained to church leadership.

On what grounds would this claim be justified? What of the claims of those who say that on the grounds of the clear teaching of the Bible, practicing homosexuals should be denied the right to be ordained to church leadership? Are all Biblical teachings that restrict access to church leadership to be identified as the work of "the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers of this present darkness" identified in Ephesians 6:12 and therefore written off as "prejudice and oppression?"

Ralph Wagenet

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