He has a service next in November, and likes to think ahead and let ideas bubble up. I'm more of a production line person, to grab any idea and run with it and make something of it. My service for fellow residents, to be completed this weekend for Monday, is God is a DJ - the result of a comment and a link to some music by Faithless made recently.
He has two ideas. One is the simplicity of ethics and the other is something about heroes, people we look at like Francis David's 'We don't have to think alike to love alike'. I too think that ethics has to come on their own, not pre-set by any kind of theology. He is also into the writings of Karen Armstrong and has re-borrowed her book on The Buddha. But to me, how much is that just construction in tradition, and I said she was far too kind about Muhammad, in the sense of making excuses about raiding camel trains and the disloyal opposition of Jews in Madina, who I regard as morally dubious. This is a problem with universalism - it isn't critical enough.
Where I've changed is that I've stripped out all senses of following individuals - the cult of the individual is probably always damaging.
I see a clash in the whole business of women bishops. I made a comment on Facebook about a recent blog entry against those against women bishops. Now, to be honest, I don't much care about bishops anyway, although the idea of co-ordinating those who facilitate others in a communal tradition is a sensible idea. But given they exist, they should be open to all. But as the argument proceeds and concludes, you get this sentiment:
It is an irony to me that those who most understand the numinous, ethereal, other-ness of divinity, a divinity that reached out to us in human form, like the universe in a grain of sand, could so limit God’s priesthood to what I understand as the original sin: making God (and Jesus as our High Priest) in our own image, when we are called to come ever closer to ‘sharing in Christ’s divinity as [He] shared in our humanity’ (a prayer said by priests as we pour the drop of water into the wine as we prepare the elements (bread and wine) for the Eucharistic prayer reminding, us of the water and blood that flowed from Jesus’ side when the guard pierced Him with a spear to check that He was dead.)
Mary, Mother of Jesus, birthed our Christ through the blood, sweat and tears of a homeless young woman amidst the stench of a working stable, her bemused betrothed beside her. Having chosen such an entry into this world, I doubt very much He is quite as precious about blood, and femininity and clean linen as we dare to suppose Him to be.
To me this is the language of subservience, subservience to a deity believed to be exclusively in one male (note, male - that's what happens when you invest deity in one person, you have to choose the sex). For the life of me, transcendence, if it exists, is a joining up, and is hardly likely to be invested in one male. What of nature and evolution, and the animals, the beauty of equations that produce fractals, the arts, the tribes we fight about and try to overcome, the gift and exchange that binds, even sleep and dreams. What of history, of space, of knowledge that leads to awe? I do not 'follow' a person of little historical record and for which the attachment is a community based on the mythic notion of living after death and returning as a messiah. That's a biological nonsense as well as a thought form long dead for practical purposes.
So as women priests rise up the ecclesiastical pole (if they do), it is all to maintain the language of subservience anyway. The blokes did it because they also had priestly power, pipes of the Christ power, one step below and part of an institution said to be his body. So is this the 'power' that the women want as well? Or will it have a different ring, coming from a background of subservience, to rise and then continue. Like the last remaining miracle (the resurrection) Christ becomes the last remaining man. He only washes your feet so you lick his, in ecclesiastical terms.
It's a nonsense and to be finished. But then, of course, it is goodbye to Christianity. Because, no matter what Christian Unitarians say, Christianity is the idea that Jesus is the Christ, and not some league table winner ethical bloke - because, on that, we don't know and it is rather second hand to the ethical point anyway and you don't follow some bloke like you follow a football team.
Of course you might say Jesus pointed away from himself and to the transcendent (as he understood him, supernaturally) and rather to the effect that Buddha pointed away from himself and to the Dharma. You can say that, but there is the issue about how much the Jesus of history thought he was connected to the coming of the messiah and really whether he took on too much self-assumption (that his tears were necessary for God to get the point and send the messiah). So Jesus is not ego-less at any point. I don't find this attractive at all. It is also a so-what, in that it is for us to point to what matters, to what is important. None of this, anyway, should result in attitudes of subservience. Of course it is plainly offensive that women cannot rise to the managerial top, but if this is to practice subservience then it is the ultimate glass ceiling of all.