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Sunday, February 06, 2011

Inclusive Church and the Jesuits

Listening to those videos from the Inclusive Church by Giles Goddard, I noticed a couple of book mentions, one of which was Imitating Jesus: an inclusive approach to New Testament ethics by Richard A. Burridge, Dean of King's College London and Professor of Biblical Interpretation. I've sent for it from the library but while I'm waiting, I thought I'd mention one of his papers ... ‘Being Biblical? Slavery, Sexuality, and the Inclusive Community’ The 22nd Eric Symes Abbott Memorial Lecture (delivered at Westminster Abbey and Keble College Oxford, May 2007). You can see the Quick View of it here. Here's the abstract ...

The use of the Bible in ethical debate has been central for the last two millennia. Current debates about sexuality, or the position of women in church leadership, are marked by both, or all, sides of the argument using Scripture. However, this has been true of many issues in the past. This is demonstrated in the debate about slavery two hundred years ago. Careful analysis of the use of Scripture in both the justification and critique of apartheid reveals how both sides quoted Scripture in its various modes, such as rules, principles, paradigms, and overall world-view. The biographical nature of the Gospels means that we must set Jesus’ rigorous ethical teaching in the context of the narrative of his deeds, including his open and welcoming acceptance of all people. It was an inclusive community of interpretation which changed the debates about slavery and apartheid, and a similar inclusive community is needed today.

While I was looking at Imitating Jesus at Amazon, I noticed mention of a Catholic theologian who's written about ethics, spirituality, and Jesus - William C. Spohn, past Augustine Cardinal Bea SJ Distinguished Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University. Many of his articles can be found online (see the link), including the interesting Jesuits & Women: A Historic Commitment. Here's just the start of it ....

When examining the impact of women on Jesuit higher education in general and Santa Clara in particular, we have to note the historic document produced in 1995 by the 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. The 220 delegates from around the world passed a decree addressed to all the Jesuit ministries entitled “Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and Civil Society.” A decade before, the previous General Congregation had briefly mentioned “the unjust treatment and exploitation of women” as part of a number of justice concerns which Jesuits were called to address. This full-length document, however, was the first such statement since the Society was founded in 1540. What led to this breakthrough?

Individual Jesuit provinces made formal suggestions for the work of the Congregation. Frequently mentioned was the issue of how Jesuits should work with others in the various ministries of the Society, from education to direct pastoral work. Increasingly, lay men and women as well as women religious have become more directly involved in these works. This change was not only a response to dwindling Jesuit numbers, but a development stemming from the open spirit of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65. An Irish theologian proposed that the Congregation could not do justice to this question without
explicitly considering the situation of women .....

More about Imitating Jesus when I get it from the libeaey.


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