October 7, 2016, in the morning:
* I believe in women's ordination because the Father is not a male, and the Triune God is not a hierarchy.
* I believe in women's ordination because the person who first saw and proclaimed the Son risen from the dead was a woman.
* I believe in women's ordination because the Spirit is being poured out on all flesh, on sons and daughters, especially on the daughters.
* I believe in women's ordination because of the circle of anointed women in Paul's life and ministry, Phoebe, Prisca, Mary, and Junia, to mention just a few.
* I believe in women's ordination because of the priesthood of all believers.
* I believe in women's ordination because of the promise -- come the day -- when they shall no longer say, every person to his brother and sister, "Know the Lord" because they shall ALL know me.
* I believe in women's ordination because the person wielding the highest teaching authority in my faith community was a woman.
* I believe in women's ordination because I have seen churches saved, lives transformed, and communities blessed by the ordination to ministry of women, given from above.
And you, who are willing to traumatize and divide the church by your opposition to acts of God, what do you believe?
October 8, 2016, in the morning:
GOD, THE GENERAL CONFERENCE, AND THE UNIONS
The hubris of the General Conference is unbelievable. It is now reported that the GC will give the unions a year of grace in order to repent of what they have done. The proposal is quite amazing. The unions have not done much and are not easily in a position to repent. Let the GC direct their complaint to a higher authority. You must tell God to repent and do your best to bring God to order. The unions merely responded to acts of God. They saw women gifted, called, and anointed for ministry. All the unions have done was to acknowledge God's calling to pastoral ministry. They have practiced the reality of ordination -- a recognition of what God has done. Beloved GC: Bring your complaint to God, then let us know a year from now if you were able to get God to repent.
LETTER FROM HEAVEN
Heaven, October 2017 (not a mistake)
Dear General Conference,
I have wanted to write to you for a long time, but there is a lot going on in the world, and I have been very busy. It is not that I have forgotten about you, but I have other sheep that are not of this fold, and I also need to shepherd them. Besides, you have kept up such frantic activity at the GC headquarters that I can hardly keep up. My, how you guys travel! It is not that I don't care, but I have my priorities.
Did I tell you my idea about church? Church to me is Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Church is local and particular. What happens in the local church in Oslo interests me more than what happens in Washington, D.C. I don't mean to offend you, but I like the local stuff better. The most important persons to me are the pastors and the members of the local churches, not the presidents and the vice-presidents at the General Conference. It says in the Bible that I never slumber or sleep. That is true--to a point. I do nap sometimes. I have an attack of somnolence when there is a board meeting in Loma Linda, and it is even worse at the Annual Council meetings in Washington, D.C. I just can't stay awake. My Son advised me to see a doctor about it, but I don't think that's the problem. Mindful that I can't stay awake, I sometimes stay away. I can't understand how you guys can stand it, sitting on so many boards, not getting any time to read or reflect or listen to what is going on in the world.
It is now a year since you notified the unions that they have one year of grace to walk back their actions on women's ordination. I am not the type that is easily miffed. If I were, I would be extremely miffed at your actions, that is, for leaving me out. Why are you taking it out on the unions? What is their role in this that so vexes you? You should be taking it out on me. Worse than my somnolence at your endless committee and board meetings is my utter disgust over centuries of male chauvinism, male sanctimoniousness, and male self-importance. I have waited and waited to see if it would let up, but in some parts of the world, it is getting worse. Enough is enough in the world, but now we are talking about the church. Do you think these women put themselves forward for tasks to which they had not been called? I called them; that's what happened. They responded to my call even though you tried to block the door. Honestly, I am utterly sickened by your decision to deny seating to Sandra Roberts at your meetings. I am not going to deny you a seat at my table in the world to come, but you'll be surprised to discover where Sandra Roberts will be seated. Let us be specific. Let's do names. We are talking about real people who have feelings.
The problem with your decision to unload on the unions is that the unions report to me. I called the women, and I instructed the unions to recognize what I was doing. This one is on me. I plan to continue calling women to pastoral ministry, and I hope the unions will not think that your demand for repentance has anything to do with me.
I must go now. Other sheep are waiting, a full seven billion of them. But it has been reported to me that you are saying that my Son is coming soon. What do you know about that--or about my seven billion sheep that are not of this fold? Until you pay attention to how I am pouring out my Spirit on all flesh, especially on women, hold back on the "coming soon" mantra.
This is it for now. Perhaps I will write again in a year if my Son has not come by then.
Sigve Tonstad is Assistant Professor of Theology at Loma Linda University's School of Religion.
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