Thursday, October 04, 2007

That "woman" thang again ..

Pickles are peacable creatures really (ok the question of whether a pickle is a creature can be discussed at some more philosophical moment) .. after all, we don't like sharp knives or any suggestion of slicing or chopping, but in spite of our general squishiness we do have principles and things we are even prepared to go to the chopping block for, even at the risk of a sandwich! And for me, one of those issues is being allowed to preach and teach as a woman. I can respect people who genuinely and thoughtfully interpret the bibledifferently, as long as they can respect the biblical validity of MY position, what wears me down and out is those simply use a couple of fairly obscure verses, without proper exegetical consideration, and without looking at the bigger picture of what the bible, and the Kingdom of God, is all about, and condemn women like me as "sinful", "unbiblical" etc for honest disagreement on this issue. sometimes it just feels liker misogynistic abuse all over again.

Anyway, the subject came up on codepoke's blog, in reference to yet another group of Christians who can overlook their differences on all sorts of divisive theological issues, but are united in their condemnation of us presumptuous women! (sigh) This is part of my response:

My own denomination (Anglican, Sydney diocese) has announced that it is a sin for a woman to preach, and a sin for a man to let her. That hurts. my own minister asks me to preach regularly, in fact the whole congregation, even people who used to be a bit iffy about women preaching, are very supportive of me, but it still hurts to have God's calling on my life called "sin". it hurts to know that my sharing from the word of God, preaching truths that none of them would disagree with, is more offensive to them than someone preaching things which in reformation times would have been regarded as a different gospel! i have heard arguments back and forth about those 2 verses of Paul's on which the entire anti-women exegesis depends, and many of the alternative interpretations make good sense to me .. surely even the most conservative should be able to concede that there is some grey area there (just like there is, say, on baptism, or church government) These days I tell people who ask that I am bypassing the endless arguments on those disputed verses, and i simply take my mandate to preach, as a woman, from Jesus having told a woman to go and tell the male disciples that he had risen from the dead! (definitely new teaching)

But I get very tired knowing that every time I step out in obedience to God I come under the condemnation of men. I have also been known to say to friends that the only qualification I lack for ordination is one of those magic Y chromosomes. Still, i know the Lord has called me along this path for His purposes, and my job is to wait on Him and do whatever comes to hand for Him. but hey, you have no idea how much the encouragements along the way mean to me ..

Am I really that threatening to men?


Anonymous said...

I don’t think it’s as much a threat as the folks who are stuck on false interpretations. They read it very differently and have years of falsehoods to back it up. Think of how hard it is to get people to sit in different places in church. Change is hard in a church and churches have a lot of back up to support their rules now matter how wrong it is. I attend a CoC so you’d only be able to preach to the woman, it's sad that men wouldn’t be able to hear God’s word.

Suzanne R said...

I have experienced this somewhat in my own church, when I edited the church newsletter and I departed from my usual personal style and instead included an article that a number of men interpreted and even suggested to me was a "sermon." I have become a very marginal member and if it weren't for a female Elder there who is my friend, I would have been tempted to withdraw my membership entirely. (With some of the attitudes that a few of the men have had there, I am amazed that there even is a female Elder.) There are other issues over which I differ with my church, but at the moment I am just considering it as good a place as any to officially call my church home and not attend. ;-)