Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's really quite simple

I received a review copy of Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James, in the mail tonight. As is my habit, I trudged around the margins, looking at the notes, being disappointed there is no index and generally noting that a page in the front says, "Four pages to be left for endorsements".

Well, I guess that means it must be in important book, right? Obviously, I am not a fan of multiple endorsements so I hope you'll forgive the snark.

There will be a full review coming up in a week or two. In the meantime, I did want to take note of two things in the, well, notes. First, you need to know that Mrs. James is all about ezer-warriors or simply, ezers her preferred term for women whose primary concern is not domestic affairs. Now if Mrs. James' primary concern is with women who ask the hard questions, (doing theology) and are ezer-warriors, it's a wonder these smart, theologically-minded women are so fragile and unschooled that they need dumbed-down, pedestrianized definitions of words that, one would think, ezer-warriors who "do theology" would be able to handle without such a basic explanation. But here are the definitions Mrs. James uses in her book for two theological terms:

Ecclesiology is the part of theology that centers on what the Bible teaches about the church, the people of God, and what it means to be the people of God.

Anthropology is the part of theology that centers on what the Bible teaches about human beings - male and female, [goodness, if she hadn't included those last two words, I might have thought anthropology had nothing to do with us womenfolk!]

The quite simple bit is that both of those words have much simpler definitions. Ecclesiology = The Doctrine of the Church -and- Anthropology = The Doctrine of Man.

Apparently, such directly simply explanations are beyond the ken of Mrs. James' army of warrior-women.



Fr. Bill said...

When I come across books like these, a stink of condescension rises from the pages like steam from a fresh cow pattie on a frosty winter morning.

What Ms. Theology Ezer and her ilk are doing is to write a book for that great unwashed herd of Ms. Theology Ezer Wannabe women.

"Read my incisive tome! Use words that Ms. Theology Ezer uses! Soon, you too will talk like Ms. Theology Ezer talks! And, if you can't publish books like Ms. Theology Ezer gets to publish, you can copy pages from her book and offer them to your Theology Ezer Wannabe Ladies Bible study."


Kamilla said...

Exactly, Fr. Bill.

I also found it interesting that Mrs. James seems to have been sufficiently piqued (is that the word I want?) by the criticism of her insults to "kitchen wives" and women who "keep house, cook, clean and sew" to have scrubbed those phrases from her available online bios - several attempts to google those terms came up with only dead links or blogs discussing them -- but nothing to the original bios containing those insults.

Stuart Koehl said...

A theologian is one who prays truly, and if you truly pray, you are a theologian.--Evagrius of Pontus

All other definitions remove theology from the realm of prayerful contemplation into one of pseudo-science.

Instead of wasting your time on reviewing a piece of drivel, why not look at things from my neck of the woods. I recommend the following books:

"Women and the Priesthood", Thomas Hopko, ed.

"Women and Men in the Early Church: The Full Views of St. John Chrysostom", David C. Ford

"Women Deacons in the Orthodox Church: Called to Holiness and Ministry", Kyriaki Karidoyanes FitzGerald

"Towards the Authentic Church: Orthodox Christians Discuss Their Conversions", Thomas Doulis, ed. (includes four excellent essays by women).

"Our Hearts' True Home", Virginia Nieuwsma, ed. (Fourteen women discuss their conversion to Orthodoxy)

These ought to give you a morale-boosting view of perfectly normal women who find peace, freedom and fulfillment within the matrix of the ancient Tradition.

Kamilla said...


I may have to start on that list of yours sooner rather than later - I've only read the intro and first chapter and already feel as if my head is about to explode.