closer to gnosticism than to Christianity, has been that women have been effectively removed from public influence in the Church. One might on rare occasion become a saint, but certainly not a priest; one might become a teacher, but certainly not a theologian or bishop. The consequence of this distorted spirituality and skewed social reality has been that women have been precluded from receiving or ever developing fully responsible and equal roles in the Church's spiritual, theological and institutional life.
The present-day church, in order to recover its kinship with the primitive Christian message, will have to overcome this sexist dualism and dare to live out in all areas of its institutional and spiritual life this first-generation formula of "neither male nor female" in Christ. Not until the Church overcomes this spiritual dualism and social negation of women by again recovering the theological vision of itself as a people of promise, unfolding the new creation, will it again discover the absolutely unique theological insight and profound social meaning of Paul's "neither male nor female" in Christ. It was neither social reality alone nor spirituality alone to which Paul gave new definition. To be "in Christ" was to be party to the ushering in of an entirely new mode of human existence.
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Publication information: Book title: Religion and Sexism:Images of Woman in the Jewish and Christian Traditions. Contributors: Rosemary Radford Ruether - Editor. Publisher: Simon and Schuster. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1974. Page number: 147.
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