Highest Calling

Highest Calling

Highest Calling

When I set out to write a blog post about “May: Fertility — Quivers Full of Arrows and Sippy Cups,” chapter eight of Rachel Held Evans’ book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood, I found myself surprised at how fully I’ve transitioned from “Mommy” to “Nana,” and how irrelevant some of the practical information in this chapter had become to me at this stage in my life. Nevertheless, this chapter, like the rest of Evans’ book, is thought-provoking, delightful to read, and rich with spiritual applications.

Rachel’s to-do list for the month:

  • Read a stack of parenting books
  • Come clean about fear of motherhood
  • Interview a Quiverfull daughter
  • Babysit Addy and Aury for a day
  • Care for a computerized “Baby-Think-It-Over” for three days

One of my favorite parts of the chapter was about Rachel’s Facebook experience (“all hell broke loose,” she says) after asking the question, “What books would you recommend for someone interested in learning about parenting? (And no, I’m NOT pregnant!)”

I also found the section on Chip (the name Dan and Rachel gave their infant simulator) quite funny.

Evans points out that as women, our “highest calling” is not motherhood (although being a mother is definitely a high calling), but following Christ. Here are a couple of quotes from the chapter that resonated with me:

Perhaps someday, all women, no matter their marital status or procreative prowess, will be equally honored by the Church.

Following Christ is something a woman can do whether she is married, or single, rich or poor, sick or healthy, childless or Michelle Duggar.


  • Mary Vanderplas December 8, 2014 at 5:10 am

    I like what she says and implies about all women being of equal status and worth, deserving of the same respect and honor, regardless of their marital status or their fertility. I agree that while being a mother is a high calling and is justly a source of pride and delight to those who choose it, there is nothing deficient about those women who, for whatever reason, do not have children. I agree totally that whether a woman chooses to marry or remain single, to have children or not have children (or is unable to have children), she is fully able to fulfill her womanhood/personhood in community with others. And I agree that for women who know and trust God’s love in Christ, being married and having children is not a prerequisite for living out the calling of Christian discipleship.

    It sounds like Rachel Held Evans does a good job of identifying and poking fun at the patriarchal tripe that characterized the evangelical world in which she was raised. While I am inclined to question her approach of putting into practice in 21st century America the commands of the Bible, literally interpreted, regarding womanhood, it may well be that her insights and experiences in doing this are helping many women to find the freedom and dignity that God intends for women in relationship with men. In any case, I’m glad that you are enjoying and benefiting from her insights and writing style. (I have a hunch that I would enjoy reading her, too, though – thanks be to God – I have long recognized much of what she writes about regarding gender roles in her brand of evangelicalism as the biased crap that it is.)

    Question of the day: Is your quiver half-full or half-empty? 🙂

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      Mary, do you deny that men are designed to impregnate women and women are designed, once impregnated to have families? Do you deny celibacy is not the norm?

      • Stephen Helbig December 9, 2014 at 10:59 am

        “Mary, do you deny that men are designed to impregnate women and women are designed, once impregnated to have families? Do you deny celibacy is not the norm?

        Lanny, “Do you deny that men are designed to impregnate women” ~ This to me is “once more” a very “weird” question and I rarely use this word weird, ~ (see http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weird ). ~ And as a side note, I am just curious; Lanny, in your great estimation, ~ What is the “NORM” and just “How Many”, according to “Design”, How many impregnations of “WOMEN” are necessary for a man. ~ You make me 🙂

        Lanny, to try to describe a norm and to make individuals adhere to what you believe to is right and true for you, is absolutely not to be adherent or the same, ( your use of the word norm), for all others, especially when dealing with this subject here as you’ve outlined ~ ( The subject of Procreation?) . You surely must realize at your age there are DIVERSITIES of gifts and callings of God, yet they all work by the same Spirit. And in reference to your poorly chosen commenting here, I am now reminded of one of the many true meanings to the scripture found in Isa 54 and its relationship to Ga.4:21-31. ~ We are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman Jerusalem above, ~ The mother of us ALL

        Speaking as a man (and here’s another side note, ~ 🙂 ~ I am the father of seven earthly children; who have ALL progressed in God workmanship ~ 🙂 ). ~ I find your question and direction in the above comment quite much like that of the Pharisees questioning Jesus, which Jesus by the way saw as vanity, contempt, and of no great value in regards to the true principles of His Kingdom. ~ (Mount Sinai answereth to Jerusalem which now is) ( “SING OH BARREN LANNY” )

        p.s. ~ Truly Lanny, ~ Grace and peace be multiplied unto you; ( 1 Peter 1:2) (2 Peter 1:2)

        • Stephen Helbig December 9, 2014 at 11:12 am

          p.s.s. ~ CLARIFICATION ~

          Lanny, i regards to my first 🙂 ~ “You make me 🙂 ”

          “You make me 🙂 ~ because you remind me of my self, and GOOD things are surely to follow and come from the Father from whom all blessings flow ~ Because ~ God IS SO SO GOOD, ~ ~ “GOD IS GREAT” ~ “And GREAT IS OUR LORD”

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 9, 2014 at 11:57 am

          Stephen, And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. {Romans 1: 27} If you don’t know what “the natural use of the woman” is we have no common ground for discussion. Homosexuality is unnatural and God calls it abomination. {Leviticus 18: 22} Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. HOMOSEXUALITY IS SIN, SINFUL, WRONG, AND A CORRUPTION OF HUMANITY. It should be outlawed like it once was. God outlaws it for Israel, His chosen people. Homosexuality is to be utterly HATED. That’s what abomination means.

          Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. {Hebrews 13: 4}
          I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. {1 Timothy 5: 14}

          Celibacy is not the norm, but it is a gift from God to the few. Marriage and family is God’s original purpose for humanity as demonstrated in Adam and Eve and God’s commandment for them to multiple. Homosexuality and celibracy do not naturally result in multiplication.

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 1:31 am

          Stephen, you forget the freewoman is barren and rejoicing, while the bondwoman is desolate with many more children than the freewoman. Here in the allegory the faithful are few and those without faith are many children. {Galatians 4: 27} A clear distinction of many unbelievers and few believers is made. You do err in thinking we, meaning all humanity, are free when the text is clear that more are bound than are free. Abraham is the father of many nations, but never all nations. The many stands in contrast to all else. A distinction is made between the seed of Abraham and the rest of the world. All men don’t have faith and most will never have faith. The following Scripture attests to that. That they are unreasonable as well as wicked proves they are unsalvagable. It should be obvious any unreasonable person cannot be saved.

          And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. {2 Thessalonians 3: 2}

          • Stephen Helbig December 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

            Galatians 4:27
            Gal.4:21 Since you are so intrigued by the law, please understand its prophetic message: 4:22 The law records the fact that Abraham had two sons: one by a slave girl, the other by a free woman. 4:23 The one is produced by the flesh (the Do It Yourself -tree), the other by faith (the promise). 4:24 There is a parallel meaning in the story of the two sons: they represent two systems, works and grace. 4:25 Sinai is an Arabian rocky mountain named after Hagar, (outside the land of promise). Its association with the law of Moses mirrors Jerusalem as the capital of Jewish legalism. Hagar is the mother of the law of works. 4:26 But the mother from above, the true mother of mankind is grace, the free Jerusalem; she is the mother of the promise. 4:27 FOR IT IS WRITTEN, :REJOICE OH BARREN ONE! ~ ERUPT IN JUBILEE! ~ FOR THOU YOU HAVENEVER KNOWN TRAVAIL BEFORE ~ YOUR CHILDREN WILL GREATLY OUTNUMBER HER WHO WAS MARRIED (TO THE LAW)! 4:28 We resemble Isaac: we are begotten of faith, the promise is our parent. 4:29 Just as when the flesh child persecuted the faith child, so now these Jerusalem Jews in their Christian disguise seek to harass you; 4:30 however, scripture is clear: “Expel the slave mother and her son; the slave son cannot inherit with the free son.” (In exactly the same way, rid your minds radically from the slave mother and child mentality. Light dispels darkness effortlessly.) 4:31 Realize whose children we are my brothers: we are not sons of the slave-mother, the law, but sons of the free mother; we are sons of grace!

            “The Rest of the story” ~ “THE MANY” ~ Lanny, please NOTEthe following verses 15-18 of (Rm. 5) ~ For the REST of the story

            Romans Chapter 5 ~
            5:1 Concluding then that our righteousness has absolutely nothing to do with our ability to keep moral laws, but that it is the immediate result of what Jesus accomplished on mankind’s behalf. This gives context to faith and finds expression in (1)unhindered friendship with God! Jesus Christ is the head of this union! (In one sentence Paul sums up the previous four chapters of Romans. “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” [KJV] The word, (1)eirene, means peace, to join; it refers to the “dove-tail” joint in carpentry. Peace is a place of unhindered enjoyment of friendship beyond guilt, suspicion, blame or inferiority.)
            5:2 Jesus is God’s grace (1)embrace of the entire human race. So here we are, (2)standing tall in the joyful bliss of our redeemed innocence! We are God’s (3)dream come true! This was God’s (4)idea all along! (To be welcomed with wide-open arms, ~ (1)prosagoge echo. The words, ‘by faith’ are in brackets in the Greek text and are not supported by the best Greek manuscripts. Joy is not an occasional happy feeling; we are (2)positioned there, have access (2)histemi, we stand in an immovable, unthreatened union! ~ Hope, (3)elpis from elpo, to anticipate, usually with pleasure. The word (4)doxa, often translated, glory, is from dokeo, to form an idea, opinion.)
            5:3 Our blissful boasting in him remains uninterrupted in times of trouble; we know that pressure reveals patience. Tribulation does not have what it takes to nullify what hope knows that we have!
            5:4 Patience provides (1)proof of every positive expectation. ~ (1dokimos, proof. Thayer Definition: ~ scrutinized and accepted, particularly of coins and money.) 5:5 This kind of hope does not disappoint; the gift of the Holy Spirit completes our every expectation and ignites the love of God within us like an artesian well. ~ (ekxeo, to pour out. The Holy Spirit is an outpouring not an in-pouring! See John 7:37-39, also Titus 3:6)
            5:6 God’s timing was absolutely perfect; humanity was their weakest when Christ died their death. (We were bankrupt in our efforts to save ourselves.)
            5:7 It is most unlikely that someone will die for another man, even if he is righteous; yet it is remotely possible that someone can brave such devotion that he would actually lay down his own life in an effort to save the life of an extraordinary good person.
            5:8 Herein is the extremity of God’s love gift: mankind was rotten to the core when Christ died their death.
            5:9 If God could love us that much when we were ungodly and guilty, how much more are we free to realize his love now that we are declared innocent by his blood? (God does not love us more now that we are reconciled to him; we are now free to realize how much he loved us all along! [Col 2:14, Rom 4:25])
            5:10 Our hostility and indifference towards God did not reduce his love for us; he saw equal value in us when he exchanged the life of his son for ours. Now that the act of (1)reconciliation is complete, his life in us saves us from the gutter-most to the uttermost. ~ (Reconciliation, from (1)katalasso, meaning a mutual exchange of equal value. Thayer Definition: to exchange, as coins for others of equivalent value. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” — RSV)
            5:11 Thus, our joyful boasting in God continues; Jesus Christ has made reconciliation a reality.
            5:12 One man opened the door to sin. Sin introduced (spiritual) death. Both sin and (spiritual) death had a global impact. No one escaped its tyranny.
            5:13 The law did not introduce sin; sin was just not pointed out yet.
            5:14 In the mean time (spiritual) death dominated from Adam to Moses, (2500 years before the law was given) no one was excluded; even those whose transgression was different from Adam’s. The fact is that Adam’s offense set sin into motion, and its mark was globally transmitted and stained the whole human race.
            5:15 The only similarity in the comparison between the offense and the gift, is that both Adam and Christ represent the masses; their single action therefore bears global consequence. Spiritual death introduced by one man’s transgression is by far SUPERSEDED by the grace gift lavished upon mankind in the one man Jesus Christ. (But God’s free gift immeasurably OUTWEIGHS the transgression. For if through the transgression of the one individual the mass of mankind have died, infinitely GREATER is the generosity with which God’s grace, and the gift given in his grace which found expression in the one man Jesus Christ, have been bestowed on the SAME MASS of mankind.— Weymouth, 1912)
            5:16 The difference between the two men is further emphasized in that judgment and condemnation followed a single offense, whereas the free gift of acquittal and righteousness follows innumerable sins.
            5:17 If (spiritual) death saw the gap in one sin, and grabbed the opportunity to dominate mankind because of one man, how much more may we now seize the advantage to reign in righteousness in this life through that one act of Christ, who declared us innocent by his grace. Grace is out of all proportion in superiority to the transgression.
            5:19 The disobedience of the one man (1)exhibits humanity as sinners; the obedience of another man exhibits humanity as righteous. (1)kathistemi, to cause to be, to set up, to exhibit. We were not made sinners by our own disobedience; neither were we made righteous by our own obedience.)
            5:20 The presence of the law made no difference, instead it merely highlighted the offense; but where sin increased, GRACE SUPERSEDED IT.

            p.s. ~ Lanny in regards to your reference of (2 Thes. 3:2) ~ once again HEAR ~ The Rest of the story ~ Romans 12:2 Do not allow (1)current religious tradition to mold you into its pattern of reasoning. Like an inspired artist, give attention to the detail of God’s desire to find expression in you. Become acquainted with perfection. To (2)accommodate yourself to the delight and good pleasure of him will transform your thoughts afresh from within. ~ (The word, (1)aion, is traditionally translated as “do not be conformed to this world.” Actually aion points to a period of time of specific influence. In the context of this writing, Paul refers to the religious traditional influence of his day as (2)euarestos, which is eu, praiseworthy, well done + arestos, meaning to accommodate one’s self to the opinions, desires, and interests of others.)
            12:3 His grace gift inspires me to say to you that your thinking must be consistent with everything that is within you according to the MEASURE of faith that God has apportioned to EVERY individual. Let the revelation of redemption shape your thoughts. ~ Also see (KJV)(Rm. 12:3) ~ “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to EVERY MAN the measure of faith.”

            p.s.s. ~ And Lanny we have had this discussion before 🙂 ~ so lets not do the “ALL” thing again

            • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

              Stephen, it still remains TWO peoples are distinguished by Hagar and Sarah. The former are WITHOUT the promises and the latter have the promises. The first have nothing in which to hope and have therefore NO faith. The second have all the hope and faith. The first are the MANY and the second are the FEW. Therefore the second cannot be your “the true mother of mankind” as a whole. The first is.

              • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 10:48 am

                Stephen, what does all that any way have to do with “men are designed to impregnate women and women are designed, once impregnated to have families?”

                Adherence to design is the subject you argued falsely that God supposedly saves everybody in the end, but you failed with Hagar and Sarah, which actually teaches double predestination in accordance with Romans 9: 22

                What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction

                You make “God is not willing” to overcome “what if God, willing to show” You only run with a half truth. Now that makes me laugh, that you are a half-wit.

            • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm

              Stephen, what do you mean ‘lets not do the “ALL” thing again’ when you will not keep the context of Galatians 4: 26. The setting of the text is the Apostle Paul writing during the first century to Galatian Christians. He is not addressing the whole world, just Christians and you are wrong to assume that “all” means everybody. Not even in the discussion is “all” everybody. It is deceitful to request I let you slide on your “all” for everybody. The Holy Spirit inspired “all” is limited to mortals who are of the faith of Abraham. The epistle distinguishes between those who are of faith and those who are not: Abraham’s children and the world’s children.

      • Mary Vanderplas December 11, 2014 at 4:54 am

        Men and women are designed to be equals – in society and in marriage. Such is God’s ordering of the sexes. Having and raising children isn’t the duty of women, as though they have nothing to say about the matter. It’s a mutual decision and a mutual responsibility. Neither marriage nor the single life is better than the other. Both are legitimate choices; both are equally valid and valued.

        No, I’m not going to keep reading and responding to your stuff. It’s the same old self-serving, sexist, hate-filled garbage. Have a merry Christmas – rejoicing in the good news of God’s coming among us in Jesus to save the world God loves.

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2014 at 10:10 am

          Mary, since WHEN was having children something women have a say in? Getting pregnant is the only thing they THINK they might control. I’d like to see a woman control a man’s pregnancy because that will never happen because having children is by DESIGN only a woman’s privilege. Face natural reality, dear Mary, about equality in having babies. Men can not do that by design.

          Also. Mary, typically men are bigger, heavier, and stronger than women for the purpose of being provider and protector of the family. That’s not equality, dear woman, so face natural reality. A pregnant woman needs a man’s provision and protection. He is the head of the home especially in her weakness. That’s God’s design. Denial of such is foolishness.

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2014 at 10:28 am

          It is your bitter reality-denying feminism that distorts my comments in your eyes so that you think and call them hate-filled garbage. Where’s the real hate, poor Mary?

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2014 at 8:30 pm

          Mary, ever since Adam and Eve sinned God ordered
          Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. {Genesis 3: 16}
          Don’t you see the end of the verse? THY HUSBAND, AND HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE
          This is confirmed in the NT at 1 Timothy 2: 11
          Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

      Mary, to you was my question addressed: do you deny that men are designed to impregnate women and women are designed, once impregnated to have families? Do you deny celibacy is not the norm?

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        What is the matter, Alice, with identifying Mary’s written words (… brand of evangelicalism as the biased crap that it is.) as disdain that she is pointedly making? What’s wrong with identifying such disdain as typical of feminists? What’s wrong with stereotyping feminists as haters of God because they oppose male leadership which God ordained in Genesis 3: 16 for sinners? What’s wrong with identifying haters of God as children of hell? What’s wrong with noting that children of hell have a personal problem with God?

        All these things have I applied to Mary’s original post and her answer to my design question to her. Any child of hell can have her problem with God solved by being born again by the living Word of God, meaning the literal perfect Holy Bible. {1 Peter 1: 23} That’s the Gospel neither one of you believe because it requires absolute faith in God’s current Holy Bible which neither of you possess.

        • Alice Spicer December 19, 2014 at 11:08 pm

          You can be critical of what Mary says without the name calling. It’s not that hard, really.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 20, 2014 at 12:40 am

            Alice, do you really think calling Mary a feminist is name calling when feminist is a respected description? Did you know “haters of God” is a Biblical description found in Romans 1: 30 and “child of hell” is used by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 23: 15 descriptively? Do you not think I accurately evaluate Mary’s writing as typical of such thinking embraced by her? These are descriptions, not name calling and she certainly disdains evangelicalism by her choice word which is perhaps rather vulgar because she’s being emphatic about it and not the least lady-like.

            • Alice Spicer December 24, 2014 at 9:10 pm

              I know that the book has been used to justify violent political maneuverings, slavery, genocide, judgmental and self-righteous behavior, etc. In your comment – http://www.whatgoddoes.com/3394/book-reviews/a-year-of-biblical-womanhood/highest-calling/#comment-69149 – you evaluate Mary’s writing, except the final statement. Those kind of comments are constructive, even if those who read it disagree with the content. Comments like that (focusing on what Mary said and why you disagree) promote communication instead of shutting it down.

              • Lanny A. Eichert December 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

                Alice, “except the final statement” being, “If you’d just recognize God’s work in every conception, you would relax or deny your feminism and take your proper place of submission” is APPLICATION of Psalm 127: 3 – 5 which is the purpose of Scripture, that is, changing lives; and few people kmow what needs changing and therefore need to be enlightened. I’d almost bet Mary thinks she acknowledges God’s work in conception, but she doesn’t seem to understand the application to her own life. All the contraceptive measures in the world will not prevent God from producing conception if that’s His intent, so she fools herself when she writes, “It’s a mutual decision and a mutual responsibility” when in reality it is submission to God’s plan, whether it be to expose sins in out-of-wedlock conception or bless obedience to holiness. No one is the master of his own destiny because that is God’s business. We are the sheep of HIS pasture. HE made us, not we ourselves. Psalm 100: 3 puts an end to her feminism, her right to control her own body. However she rejects the Scriptures from reigning over her and will not submit to God Who commands her submission to male rule. Instead she distorts God’s Scriptures to make her own private interpretation to justify herself. Just as you have falsified a non-linear idea of time, so Mary invents a theory of an apostle’s developing sexual equality without realizing chronology actually proves it false.

                There is simplicity in the Gospel and neither one of you would have to work so hard as you do to disbelieve as you would if you’d just believe it. It is simple to believe God in Christ said there are few that are saved and all the rest perish forever in the flaiming Lake of Fire.

    • Alice Spicer December 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      I’m not sure I understand your question of the day. Please elaborate. Unless it’s meant to be rhetorical. In that case, I still don’t understand. Sorry, I’ve been working a lot and my brain seems to be malfunctioning 🙂

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 8:37 pm

        Alice, today I noticed something is not right with the indenting. Our posts are not STAYING indented hours after being correctly posted indented under the post being replied. Even the sequence changed. Today my 3:34 pm properly indented immediately below Stephen’s long 10:01 am post as I had intended it to and now it appears between my two posts today at 10:34 am and 10:48 am not indented. I thought, but wasn’t sure this afternoon, that I had replied to Stephen’s 10:01am with both my 10:34 am and 10:48 am posts, that they were originally indented, but this afternoon when I posted at 3: 34 pm they were unindented, so I made sure to use the reply button in Stephen’s 10:01 am post and saw his beginning words, so I was sure I did it correctly.

        Are you rearranging the posts so that they don’t nest as per originally?

        • Alice Spicer December 14, 2014 at 7:01 pm

          No, I’m not rearranging. Perhaps the plug-in needs an update.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2014 at 9:14 pm

        Alice, Mary means optimist or pessimist respectively? Yet she fights God’s order of creation, that men are BEFORE women; and women were made FOR men. She is characteristically a feminist dissatisfied with God’s order of the sexes. I don’t see how she could be an optimist as she denies God’s natural order of the sexes without living a lie.

      • Mary Vanderplas December 11, 2014 at 4:52 am

        It was just a silly comment, intended to make light of the notion that having a slew of children makes a woman more of a woman than does having a small number or not having any at all. Sorry for the confusion. Obviously, my snarkiness backfired.

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 13, 2014 at 5:30 pm

          Mary, your reference is Psalm 127: 3 – 5
          Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

          Do you see the words shall not be ashamed? They hint at the blessing of having many children. With the opening statement of the whole of verse three, the man is rewarded by God through his wife having many children by the acts of God causing each conception. The issue here is NOT womanhood, but the work of God in procreation. If you’d just recognize God’s work in every conception, you would relax or deny your feminism and take your proper place of submission.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 17, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Mary, you’ll love this from today’s news:

    LONDON – The Church of England on Wednesday named the first female bishop in its 500-year history, promoting saxophone-playing, soccer-loving vicar Libby Lane to bishop of Stockport.

    The announcement came five months after the church ended a long and divisive dispute by voting to allow women to serve as bishops.

    Lane, who called her promotion “an unexpected joy,” made her first act as bishop leading a prayer for the victims of the Taliban school massacre in Pakistan.

    “I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment,” she said.

    Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who succeeded where his predecessors failed in elevating women to church leadership, said he was “absolutely delighted” by the appointment.

    Prime Minister David Cameron called it “an historic appointment and an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions.”

    Lane was ordained in 1994, one of the first women to become a Church of England priest; her husband is also an Anglican priest. Her biography on the website of the Church of St. Peter’s Hale, where she currently serves, says her interests include “learning to play the saxophone, supporting Manchester United, reading and doing cryptic crosswords.”

    The 80 million-strong global Anglican Communion, whose members range from conservative evangelicals to supporters of gay marriage, has long been divided on the role of women in church leadership.

    The Episcopal Church in the United States was the first member to have a woman serve as bishop and is now led by a woman.

    The Church of England’s national assembly, the General Synod, voted for the measure in July after a previous attempt two years earlier had failed.

    Mary, this is the result of not taking God’s Holy Bible as authoratitive and elevating human thinking above God’s decrees. It is not God’s religion any more when people, instead of God, make the rules.

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