women's ordination

Same old, same old: The Charlotte Observer tilts one way in women-as-Catholic-priests story

Same old, same old: The Charlotte Observer tilts one way in women-as-Catholic-priests story

Way back in the 1970s and very early 1980s, a Christian singer named Keith Green was quite popular. At the end of "Jesus Commands Us to Go," one of his more heartfelt songs, Green addresses his audience, saying, "I don't know what you think a Christian is. I've known so many people that think [being] a Christian means going to church a lot. You may have heard this before, but going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald's makes you a hamburger."

That analogy has stayed with me, and it popped up when the Charlotte Observer informed us on the last Sunday in April that a "Rebel Catholic group defies church, ordains woman priest in NC."

Although the story somewhat begrudgingly points this out, it should be clear to serious observers that the church-Christian-McDonald's-hamburger analogy fits here: Calling yourself a Catholic "priest," even if done by a "rebel group," doesn't make you one, any more than calling myself a Big Mac would, you know....

From this oh, oh, oh so familiar article:

An international group defiantly opposed to the Roman Catholic Church’s ban on women priests Sunday ordained its first woman Catholic priest in the 46 counties that make up the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte.
The ordination ceremony for Abigail Eltzroth happened in Asheville at Jubilee! – a nondenominational faith community – with Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan presiding.
Eltzroth, 64, said she is the second woman in North Carolina ordained by the rebel group, called the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests. ...
But reached for comment Sunday, David Hains, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, said: “I hope that Catholics in the diocese will understand that it would be sinful to receive a fake sacrament from a woman priest and that includes attending a fake Mass.”

Although the Observer puts an official Roman Catholic Church spokesman's comments relatively high in the story, the overall tone of the piece is at least sympathetic towards, if not promoting of, the pro-women-priest camp. #Surprise

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A Buddhist parable that applies to the Presbyterian Church in America and race

  A Buddhist parable that applies to the Presbyterian Church in America and race

The Religion Guy urges religion writers to monitor parochial media, but beware the obvious pitfall: Such sources can offer limited perspectives.

Remember the ancient Buddhist parable about blind men and the elephant? One touches the beast’s tail and thinks it’s a rope, another touches the trunk and thinks it’s a tree, a third touches the belly and thinks it’s a wall.  Limited perception distorts the fuller reality, something journalists are duty bound to depict fairly.  

So with the Presbyterian Church in America, well worth coverage as one of this generation’s most successful and innovative denominations, with influential conservatives among its members. Major secular media give the PCA little  notice and ignored its newsworthy General Assembly in June.

Christianity Today headlined a piece on the assembly “PCA Goes Back to Where it Started: Women’s Ordination.” True, one reason the PCA broke from the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (PCUS) in 1973 was opposition to women in  church offices. The 2016 assembly ordered a study of whether women can be ordained as deacons (though not lay elders), and encouraged females’ full participation “in appropriate ministries.”

The assembly also approved overwhelmingly a declaration that the PCA “does recognize, confess, condemn and repent of corporate and historical sins, including those committed during the Civil Rights era.” Denounced as past PCA sins were claims “that the Bible sanctions racial segregation and discourages interracial marriage” and members’ “participation in and defense of white supremacist organizations.”

CT reported on this second action, which Religion News Service covered with both a spot item and a Tobin Grant analysis headlined “What Catalyst Started the Presbyterian Church in America? Racism.” Grant thinks “the PCA exists only because of its founders’ defense of slavery, segregation and white supremacy.” That’s truthy, but overly simplified.

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Women as clergy: The stained-glass ceiling and one-sided journalism

Women as clergy: The stained-glass ceiling and one-sided journalism

For the Chicago Sun-Times, the question of whether to ordain women as preachers has only one right answer.

In a story headlined "Female ministers find obstacles on path to pulpit," the Sun-Times makes it clear which direction it leans:

Carol Jamieson Brown was in her early 20s when she told her pastor she had answered a call from God to pursue ministry and enrolled in seminary.
But he put the brakes on her plans — he didn’t acknowledge women ministers.
“He had been my pastor since I was 5 years old,” Brown said. “So it was like your father telling you that God didn’t call you. He had to be right, and I had to be wrong. There was no room for him to be wrong in my life.”
Many years later, she found room. Today she is pastor of First Baptist Church of Park Forest and among those who’ve made cracks in a stained-glass ceiling that continues to block women clergy and is nowhere close to being shattered.

In this story, "progress" is defined in terms of whether churches allow women in the pulpit or not.

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