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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Thu. 02/17/05 06:41:00 PM

"A Grief Observed"

No, not the book by C.S. Lewis.

Thanks to Eutychus Fell for his very kind mention of The Blog from the Core and ELCore.Net. And thanks to him for notice of this remarkable essay by Folke T. Olofsson, a pastor of the established (Lutheran) Church of Sweden, recounting the effective destruction of his church:

.... One Sunday in the Spring of 1960 some churchgoers after the service told me that this was a black day, a day of grievance for the Church of Sweden. I did not know why, and when they told me that three ladies were being ordained priests that Sunday, I simply did not understand the point. So what! I knew that some of my High Church friends were against the ordination of women and told me that is would a disaster for the Church. The reform was presented as one of church order and not one of doctrine, and its aim was, as it was said by its advocates, to reach out to people alienated from the church. Only later did I realize what had really happened at the Sunday. Gradually, I also realized that those who took their Christian faith most seriously were those who opposed the novelty. The flavour and scent which I had learnt to recognize was simply more detectable around and among these people. As a student still in the Gymnasium, I attended Bible studies, in which ordinary parish priests occasionally stated their reasons for being against the reform. If I remember correctly, they predicted that in the long run there would not only be ordained women, but this reform would lead to a different view of the Word of God and hence God´s revelation.
Now, they said, man was in command of the Bible, free to interpret it the way he, she or the spirit of the times wanted, and as a consequence of this, there would be a new understanding of the priesthood to begin with. They predicted that insolubility of marriage would wane with a new understanding of marriage and what it meant to be a man and a women, there would be a new way of looking at the Creation and the order given in it, a new way of understanding human sexuality, that same-sex relationships in the end would be accepted, and there would even be blessings of same-sex relationships, marriages, and as the crowning event: the understanding of God the Father would be replaced by God the Mother. It sounded like some dystopic theological science fiction. The priests, the names of whom I do not even remember, expressing these opinions were, of course, criticized by their more moderate colleagues: "You are surely painting the Devil on the wall!" In a retrospect of forty years, I cannot but admire the clearsightedness of these "pike-jawed faithpolicemen" - a common derogatory characterisation of these High Church or Traditionalist priests, routinely used by the man who was later to become the bishop, or as he rather preferred to call himself, Diocese director, of Stockholm. Ingemar Ström, who died recently. These priests, at that time there was quite a few of them, were with a saddening regularity chased through the columns of the local newspapers and tabloids, otherwise filled with tear-jerking accounts of how poor ordained women were being harassed by those reactionary, women hating, loveless dogmatic black-coats....

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 02/17/05 06:41:00 PM
Categorized as International & Religious.


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