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Shaking Hands, Shaking Theologies

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Chapter Summary

When women obtained the right to ordination in Denmark in 1948, male clergy who opposed female ordination were unofficially given the 'right' not to extend to the newly ordained female pastors the collegiate handshake which affirmed that they were now co-workers in the Danish Lutheran Church, and in the same way these male pastors were given the 'right' not to conduct services together with female pastors. In this chapter, the author refers to the handshake case as an illustration throughout her analysis of what is happening at the personal and the cultural level. The chapter discusses the concept of agency as not necessarily engaged in 'liberation' or subversion but in the gentle art of 'inhabiting norms'. Gender is an important aspect of personal religion, culture and agency, but is often neglected, and therefore poses methodological problems in the area of theology.

Keywords: Danish handshake; Danish Lutheran Church; Denmark; female pastors; liberation; male clergy; theology



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