FAO the General Synod

9 Jul

Same roles different worth.

When I was a teenager I went to an all girls grammar school and worked as a Saturday girl. Saturday boys earned more than I did, for the same job. I was told this was because boys grew into men and men had to support families, so they needed to earn more.  I was educated and intelligent, but I still swallowed this whole at the time.

Different roles same worth?

When my mother was young it was quite usual for families in England to concentrate resources on their sons’ education and not on their daughters’ education. Now to say to a daughter you must leave school before your brother simply because you are a girl would be considered unfair, unwise and depending on the age, illegal. Some of you say you think being restricted to one kind of role doesn’t mean you have unequal worth, but saying this is true for you doesn’t make it true for anyone else, and doesn’t take away the injustice you are prescribing for others. It is true Jesus did not choose any of his disciples to be women, but then if he had told a woman to leave her family and follow him she would have become an outcast in his society. Jesus did not come into the world like Superman, the movie, he came into the real world as a real man, and he lived in a real society with real societal laws. Jesus did not use a telephone, or post a letter, or travel by an aeroplane – this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do any of these things now. When Jesus was alive there were no women doctors or women bus drivers. That doesn’t mean we think there shouldn’t be any now. Jesus did not set up the Church of England, or any church. He did not tell anyone to write down a set of rules. There is nothing in Jesus’ teaching that says women cannot be priests, bus drivers, doctors, cleaners, bishops, politicians or archbishops now.

Same or different roles and same worth.

Being male or female isn’t always cut and dried. Now we understand the genetics behind the apparent differences we see there are cases where one person could be described as man or woman depending on who was judging. Appearances can be very deceptive. There are “women” who have Y chromosomes and “men” who do not. Is the judgment genetic or physical? If you really believe there are two kinds of human who have to be given different roles why are there humans who do not obviously fit into either category? It is being human that counts; gender is irrelevant to God and Jesus. Valuing all humans is what we all should do. We show this by giving all humans the same opportunities to choose their roles, and the same worth whatever their choice.

We can, by attending to our inner spirituality and communication with God, lose all our fears and worries about obedience, tradition, restriction and prescription and open our eyes to a really equal and loving view of all. Remember it is hard to judge some issues because our upbringing and the values we were given as a child can stand in our way, just like mine did when I thought schoolboys should be paid more than me.

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9 Jul

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