1. to cut off from communion with a church or exclude from the sacraments of a church by ecclesiastical sentence.
2. to exclude or expel from membership or participation in any group, association, etc.: an advertiser excommunicated from a newspaper.
3. an excommunicated person.
- cut off from communion with a church; excommunicated.
Imagine growing up in a faith community which you love, participate in, demonstrate leadership and find family. Now imagine that being ripped away from you. Not because of moral failure, or because you committed murder…No. It is taken from you because you value the created identity of women in equality with men.
That is what happened to Kate Kelly. A devout Mormon, Kelly has been the first person since 1993 to be excommunicated from the church due to her desire to see women ordained in the church.
In the article found on the Huffington Post Religion front page, Jan Shipps comments, “It does more than excommunicate Kelly,” said Jan Shipps, a retired religion professor from Indiana who is a non-Mormon expert on the church. “It warns everybody.” Shipps said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is implementing “boundary maintenance,” using Kelly as an example to show people how far they can go in questioning church practices.
Kate Kelly could have easily left the Mormon church and aligned herself with a faith that does recognize the ordination and gifting of women in spiritual leadership. That would have been easier. But she did not. She believes in the Mormon faith, so much so that she was willing to be the voice crying out in the wilderness….calling others to explore the teachings and to be willing to engage in the discussion.
This article highlights what can happen when boundaries are pushed, however, it also begs the question, How far is too far? Are we not allowed to challenge our faith communities in new directions? Can we encourage critical thinking without fear of drastic retribution?