19 March 2014

Cultivation, Not Castration, of Masculinity

C. S. Lewis has a fascinating little essay in God in the Dock called 'Priestesses in the Church.'

In it he's addressing a 1950s Anglican/Episcopal issue, but the relevance to today's church scene is striking. Lewis argues that the office of priest should be open to men only.

At one point he says:
It is painful, being a man, to have to assert the privilege, or the burden, which Christianity places upon my own sex. I am crushingly aware how inadequate most of us are . . . to fill the place prepared for us. But it is an old saying in the army that you salute the uniform not the wearer. . . .

We men often make very bad priests. That is because we are insufficiently masculine. It is no cure to call in those who are not masculine at all. A given man may make a very bad husband; you cannot mend matters by trying to reverse the roles. He may make a bad male partner in a dance. The cure for that is that men should more diligently attend dancing classes; not that the ballroom should henceforward ignore distinctions of sex and treat all dancers as neuter. (238-39)

1 comment:

Gabe said...

"When one is required to preside over the Church, and be entrusted with the care of so many souls, the whole female sex must retire before the magnitude of the task, and the majority of men also." -Chrysostom

'Majority of men also' is so telling. Being male is only the beginning of the requirement and oh how I wish this was more fully examined in the church today.