Weeping Women: Evensong

I’m taking some time by the fire this evening to offer a prayer and contemplation for women; particularly today the women who are weeping.

I am  thinking this evening of the weeping women we have seen pictured all over the news this week who have prayed, pastored, served, studied, preached, prophesied, committed and envisioned a place for and in the church; not only for themselves, but for other women and for others who’ve been told they can’t.

The media and blogosphere, twitter and facebook have been filled with theological and non critique and comment; here’s a selection:

Popular: ‘Bitchy boys had better play ball and say sorry’ Caitlin Moran, The Times

Political: ‘Get on with it’ says David Cameron, The Guardian

Ecclessiological (about church-ish) and/or Theological (about God-ish): It’s about the Bible not Fake Ideas of Progress, Tom Wright & Has the Church of England finally lost it’s reason? Women bishops & the collapse of Anglican theology

This post isn’t to add critique or make any overly long or analytical comment, I just feel things when I see both the still and moving images of the women clergy who weep, I feel grief, weight, sadness and loss. I am not and have never been a member of or an advocate for institutional church, I am not loyal to a denomination or very clued in on the systems & processes.   But I understand structures and the power and symbolism of structures of which church and Christianity is a part and I understand people  who choose to stay within in order to influence change and justice (in the face of their critics) So I  too weep;  with these women who have faith in their God, their church, their calling, their vocation, their leaders and their people because the vote carried so much hope and the vote then knocked them down.  Hard.

Despite all the positivity in the aftermath from those within and around the CofE synod there were and are still tears; and my twitter feed last night certainly reflected the difficulties some women clergy may be facing this Sunday going back to warm or cold congregations and the prayers going out to cover & surround them.

This is not by far the toughest thing we as  people have faced this week and many, many women have been weeping all over the world, our thoughts have particularly been focussed on Gaza and  I’ve also been mindful of some female family & friends struggling with sickness and bereavement.

But I will finish with this; where women weep, they are also keepers and safeguarders of faith within themselves and for others, they are often found to be the instigators & sustainers of ritual, tradition and invokers of the divine.  Surrounding all gender debates in society and within religious communities, sociological analysis will reveal these distinct patterns and themes of behaviour and experiences for women, .   What is significant and cross referenced across many faith communities and cultures is that they may often be provoked by the close proximity of women to both birth and death over the course of many life cycles and how women who are witness to these human and bodily acts inevitably remain or become aware that they echo with the sacred.

So we weep, we grieve, we lose and lose hard.  But in all this; death, darkness, destruction, sickness  & oppression I really hope & have faith that there is a revelation of God to come, that a redeemer waits with us in the shadows and the hardness, with the one’s who’ve been told ‘no’;  waiting until these ‘foolish things’  really are ready to confound the ‘wise’ and the powerful – and I’m hoping they’ll be ready soon.



Filed under Bodies & Beauty, Culture, Gender, Justice, Talk About God: Theology

4 responses to “Weeping Women: Evensong

  1. I raced through your post. The link was sent by a twitter friend who knew how I felt (though not clergy I wept nonetheless). There is a feeling in me that wants to soak up everyting that everyone has said both for and against, as if if need to have it all inside me before I am ready to face those who disagree with my belief that if God called a woman He called her as the equal of the man he called;her calling is no less nor more than his.

    Perhaps it is the boldness given by the two large glasses of rather good red wine, perhaps it is the exhaustion, perhaps it is the history of living in Glasgow when the Free Presbyterians went through one of it’s most powerful schisms when James Mackay attended Catholic Funeral Masses for two of his colleagues. But does there come a point when we say enough? I will, I am sure, be pilloried and torn down by both sides. But it is the elephant in the room and it won’t go away. If we cannot agree then why are we trying to live within a marriage of distrust and with an overwhelming sense of betrayal on both sides?

  2. Your phrase the marriage of distrust is really powerful – I agree – it’s the age old question and critique about people who choose to stay within this ‘marriage’ who choose to try and fight on the inside – challenging but sometimes it just looks life draining to those of us on the outside. Yet, I am not that outside of it – I’m still choosing church of some form, a church that oppresses and discriminates against women all the time – I guess I like that Camus quote about the very act of being free, being an act of resistance – and we choose OUR church and OUR participation freely no-one else has the power and that in itself is freeing – we’re already at the table, we’re already in the church, we’re already leading so what are you going to do about it…?

  3. Welcome us or try to force us back out of the door again? I don’t think the latter is an option forward is the only way. By rejecting the concessions last week I fear a no concession vote next time which will indeed split the church.

  4. Jade

    Some lyrics I feel are pretty apt from ‘Holland Road’ by Mumford and Sons.

    So I was lost. Go count the cost…
    With your heart like a stone you spared no time in lashing out…
    And I will not tell the thoughts of hell
    That carried me home from the Holland road
    With my heart like a stone and I put up no fight
    To your calloused mind, And from your corner you rose
    To cut me down, you cut me down.

    So I hit my low, but little did I know
    That would not be the end…

    But I still believe though there’s cracks you’ll see,
    When I’m on my knees I’ll still believe,
    And when I’ve hit the ground, neither lost nor found,
    If you believe in me I’ll still believe

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