I’m slowly making my way through ‘Missing the Point’ by McClaren & Campolo (you know those renegade right wing liberal socialists? I kid, I kid!). Anywho, there’s some really though provoking stuff in this book. And I’m trying my best to digest and think through some issues. I think there’s a time to land on some issues – I tend to try and stay open minded on non-doctrinal (church) issues, but I am having a desire to search out and become more educated on some issues; women in ministry is one of those issues.
My parents left the Presbyterian Church when I was young over this issue. The church decided to allow women elders, and my parents didn’t believe that was biblical. Now the PC(USA) is having it’s own crisis of identidy. So that’s my history. I’ve always been a part of a traditional “women don’t teach over men” model of church. Then I read the chapter on Women in Ministry in this book and really started thinking. Talked with my wife this evening about it. She said she’d feel weird in a church where there was a woman pastor teaching. I told her that it’s probably just a cultural thing – that we’ve never experienced it before so it’s foreign. But I have to admit it’s throwing my mind for a spin.
To me there’s two issues I’m dealing with. First there’s Biblical interpretation – what does the bible say about this issue. Because I believe that the bible is the authority. And second there is personal preference – how do I personally feel about this, and what am I comfortable with?
Biblical Interpretation (short version)
According to Campolo, all the verses that we use to keep women out of preaching/teaching and/or leadership roles are mis-interpreted in modern culture. In new testament times, apparently Paul was condemning women who publicly embarrassed their husbands in a local church setting. Or Paul was trying to keep women from becoming a barrier for men coming to Christ, since the culture was so male dominated. According to Campolo, Christ’s atonement on the cross broke the male/female barrier in the eyes of God – repairing the damage that was done in the garden of eden, the original sin.
Paul in fact, acknowledged and encouraged many women as leaders and teachers/pastors in the new testament. And as Campolo notes in the book, we are happy to send women into the mission fields of the world to teach, preach, plant churches, etc. But the bible specifically says they can’t preach in our churches… I don’t get it.
I’m still digesting this and am going to read more on the subject.
Like I said, I am used to a male dominated church culture. I’m used to women leading women’s ministry, children’s ministry, missionary work, volunteer work, office work, etc. The best way for me to share my feelings on this is just some bullet points:
- Over the past couple years I’ve really come to know and respect some amazing women in and around ministry – especially through blogging where there’s less prejudice. Here’s some in case you’ve never met them:
Anne Jackson, Jenni Catron, Tam Hodge (hope that’s right), Kem Meyer, Kendra Watson, Jane Broe (you can only catch her every once in a while on our church blog), and of course, oh wait (my wife doesn’t blog…)
- I’ve really been pushing our church to utilize women worship leaders – not just vocalists. We’re getting closer on that one.
- I’ve never liked the idea of a supreme male driven church. ‘Supreme Pastor’ who is all powerful, all knowing, and does no wrong. It seems typical man to me. I’d love to see what happens when you throw some female power into that mix. I think you may end up with a more balanced church/organization.
- I know I can learn from women. I do all the time. I just wonder how ready the average ‘american’ joe church goer is ready for that.
- I’ve worked and do work with some amazing women at LifeChurch. One is on our executive team and she is wise.
- Our student pastor’s mom is an executive pastor in SD – I think that’s cool. I hear she’s amazing. Trying to hook up and learn a little somethin from her soon.
- Honestly? I cringe at most of the portrayals of women preachers out there: Joyce Meyer, Paula White, Jan Crouch, and of course I’m extremely poorly cultured so I don’t get exposed to much else. Beth Moore would be one that I’ve only been exposed to through Passion – and she rocked.
So, enlighten me.