In other words, can a woman satisfactorily represent Jesus in relation to the church that has been traditionally figured as female (which, by the way, was a tradition continued when the at first Presbyterian and Anglican sons of a somewhat de-ritualized protestantism re-discovered their need for priestly ritual and created all-male priestly fraternities, starting in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. On the initial model of the Freemasons, the fraternal lodges that were, until the last few generations, ubiquitous in Anglo-American civil society were figured as feminine: e.g., one used turns of phrase like "our Mother lodge"; "our sister lodge" to refer to one's lodge's relationship to other lodges, though one's fellow priests were definitely fellows or brothers in the craft.)
While I believe we are primarily cultural beings, culture cannot eliminate or make insignificant certain underlying biological natures and these inevitably influence how we play any role, and how it was first "played" before it became the basis of a ritual. Anyway, this is just to explain why this story grabbed my interest:
Clergy Catwalk Show at Westpoint, showing off the cloths form the cloth is - Reverend Wiz Slater, curate at St Michael's CofE Stoke Gifford (Photo: SWNS)WWJD?
The ecclesiastical event was a showcase of the latest designs of religious gowns in various colours, patterns, shapes and textures.
Several priests acted as 'models' to strut the cat walk in front of hundreds of clergy at the exhibition .
One model, The Rev James Hutchings, said: "I've done nothing like this before. It has certainly caused lots of laughs in the parish.
"My children thought it was hilarious. They probably won't ask me back. My pirouette was terrible."
Designers featured in the show including J Wippell Ltd, of Exeter, Juliet Hemingway and Shinglers of Sutton.
Ms Hemingway, who has designed vestments for George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, told the Express and Echo: "Women clergy have brought a fresh look to garments.
"They are not as willing to put up with dirty, worn-out robes. I think this has rubbed off on male clergy."
Reverend Hilary Dawson, Church of England curate in the Netherexe Mission Community, near Exeter, modelled various designs. She told the newspaper she had bought four stoles from Juliet Hemingway.
"My stoles say something about my faith, the place in which I am serving and, most of all, point to the gospel of Christ," she said. "My green stole, for example, reflects the water and hills of my new home and parishes."