Civility in expressing our differences

Sun, 2017-03-26

By Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst | Bread for the World 

“By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22 (NRSV)

Several years ago, while I was attending a World Council of Churches event, I met a wonderful Orthodox Christian woman, and we spent some time sharing our faith with each other. The conversation moved to ordination and how our expressions of Christianity differ so strongly on whether or not women can be clergy. I asked why she had never pushed for ordination. Her response was gentle but firm. She explained that if I was going to be involved in ecumenical ministry, I was going to need to learn that my assumptions might sometimes be wrong. She did not believe women should be ordained, and I needed to understand and respect that.