Sunday, October 18, 2009

The gravitational force of logic

In response to the recent papers on the ordination of women at Christ Church in Plano, Texas and Father John Hollister's analysis of of, Father Robert Hart has made an interesting observation.

Hart writes: "The 'conservatives' among the Anglicans have failed to understand the gravity of logic. It works the same way as this illustration. If I stand at the top of a thirty-foot hill with a big round rubber ball, and decide to roll the ball only ten feet down the hill and no farther, like it or not, the ball will roll the entire thirty feet to the bottom before it stops after rolling even farther still. It does not matter that I intended only to roll it ten feet. Once I let go, gravity will take the ball the whole way.

"This is how a premise works in relation to logic. Once you let go of the ball, that is, once you state or merely accept a premise, the gravity of logic will take over. Perhaps you only meant to let women be priests, but not to let the premise take its own logical course to the final end. However, the premise itself is subject to the gravity of logic, and must keep rolling until you are 'blessing' Adam and Steve in the imitation sacrament of Unholy Unmatrimony. Those who want to argue that this was not inevitable have two problems facing them: First, we predicted this would happen, and second, it has.

. . . The logic of their position requires that we reject the clear meaning and teaching of Scripture, as understood everywhere and always by the Church, provided only that we may use some concocted theory about priorities as an excuse. They have released this premise, and cannot stop it from rolling the whole way to the bottom."

I thought Hart put it extremely well. I remember Fr Gary Kriss (Dean of Nashotah when I was a student there) making the point in a letter to the Living Church after the election of Gene Robinson that two General Conventions in Minneapolis made the same decision about the sacraments. If male or female doesn't matter in one sacrament (orders), why should it make any difference for another sacrament (matrimony)?

I used to cringe every time I would hear Fr. David Roseberry talk about how we shouldn't tamper with the truth of God's Word or how to understand the Bible, we must "stand under" its authority (knowing that Roseberry had a big asterisk attached to these statements).

What was even more strange is this statement on their website: "In the Anglican tradition, the priesthood is open to men and women, married or single, who have earned the Master of Divinity degree, completed a series of courses for ordinands, and gone through the discernment process."

"In the Anglican tradition"? talk about an overstatement. To be more accurate they should say, "In some Anglican provinces in the last few decades." And to be even more accurate, they should add, "but not in our jurisdiction." When Christ Church left the Diocese of Dallas a few years ago, they first went to the Diocese of Peru (Southern Cone) where women are not ordained priests. Then they joined the Anglican Mission in America, which after careful consideration decided not to ordained women to the priesthood. Since the leadership is arguing for it, does that mean they are looking to change jurisdictions again? And where will this process end up? Or, to put it another way, will gravity take over?


Anonymous said...

Ahhh...but they're part of The Anglican Mission in The America(s)...not America...smoke and mirrors...

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

But in the AMiA(s), I thought it was only the Canadian churches (ACiC) that ordains women as priests. Perhaps I am missing something here. I did not think that Christ Church was a part of the ACiA either.