Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Incarnational Experience

Many of us Episcopalians talk about how we are an incarnational people, deeply transformed by and committed to the power of the incarnation. It certainly has been true in my faith journey that I am more informed by the power of the living Christ than with the literalist readings of Scripture.

Katie Sherrod, a layperson in the diocese of Fort Worth, offers powerful words in a new essay, The Power of the Incarnational Experience. She describes several experiences where women have covertly exercised their ministry as priests in the diocese of Fort Worth (in which women are forbidden to exercise their priestly ministries). I was particularly struck by these parts of her essay:
The result of all of these incarnational experiences is that there is a strong and growing number of people here who not only support the ordination of women, but who want to experience it on a regular basis. That’s why Bp. Iker fears and will not allow a real process of reception to happen here.
Bishop Iker does not believe women can be bishops, of course. But he is always quick to assure his female colleagues in the House of Bishops and the priests who are women in the Network that his rejection of their orders is “nothing personal.” But of course, it is personal. Bishop Clarence Pope [Iker's predecessor in Fort Worth] illustrated how personal when he dramatically left the Episcopal Church for the Church in Rome. He soon came quietly back, telling people in Fort Worth he had to return because Rome would not recognize the validity of his orders and that just too painful for him to endure. The irony was lost on him.
Do yourself a favor. Go read the complete essay here.

Yes, I am still seething about the report of the Panel of Reference, which foolishly and blithely believes that the "Dallas Plan" is working just hunky-dory in Fort Worth. Thank God that Katie Sherrod and others are willing to remind us of the real, incarnate experience of people living under Iker's woman-hating regime.


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