Ordain Women, Women’s Ordination

At the outset, I should say that at this point nothing is going to stop Ordain Women, whether you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s clear that no amount of criticism or shaming will fracture the movement. In fact, these have really only served (unsurprisingly) to strengthen it and add to its numbers. OW may have begun as an organized movement but has become something of an event, in the philosophical sense of that word–the eruption of something new that breaks with the prevailing order, something which marks a before and after. Those who are riveted by an event (like Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ, after which he was never the same again) can only understand certain truths in its wake. As Daniel Bensaid put it in his interpretation of Alain Badiou’s philosophy of the event:

Truth, following in the wake of ‘that which happens’, is a matter of ‘pure conviction’, it is ‘wholly subjective’, and is a ‘pure fidelity to the opening brought about by the event’. Apart from the event, there are only current affairs and the common run of opinion. The event is Christ’s resurrection, it is the storming of the Bastille, it is the October revolution, just as it is illegal immigrant workers taking to the streets in order to become agents in their own right, in order to break out of their status as clandestine victims; it is or the unemployed stepping out from the ranks of statistics to become subjects of resistance, or the sick refusing to resign themselves to being mere patients and attempting to think and act their own illnesses.

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