Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rerun post from TSSO


I had trouble sleeping last night because I came across a webpage by an acquaintance. She persists in shunning women who are called to leadership--and has insulted me in my own home--even though she pushes her husband around--and builds the "case" on that one scripture (incorrectly translated) that tells wimmin' folk to shut up in church--while ignoring Junia, Nympha, Chloe, Priscilla, and Phoebe, among others.
My journey in Christianity has led me to some interesting places, and I'm at a point where the Bigness of God just makes my head spin. Church seems so very small right now, and I know some of you have great churches, I wish I could find one, or come with you. We visited a new one last week and my husband waited patiently while I calmed myself in the parking lot; all the frustrations coming back. It was friendly enough, but no women in leadership, so there you are. The communication card offered coffee, childcare, and parking as places to serve. There was no place to check ministering, or caring for people.
Not that we need to check a box for that. We're going back, though, and I'll have to suck it up because my husband doesn't have "church" every day with folks like you, like I do. I'll just have to Trust.
The bottom line is, I want the Really Good News out there.
Anyway, rather than rewrite, I thought I'd re-cycle, even though it's a little testy:


January/2007
I really don't have anything intellectual to say about this subject right now. It's all from my gut.You know how I feel about the subject of women in ministry....it just seems that the devil is throwing all these blogs, comments, and websites at me that espouse limits of the calling of women to pastor over a congregation. I'm not just talking about men here.First...I'm out of church, but women in ministry was never an issue with me personally. I was ordained as an elder...and the RCA considers that once an elder always an elder with them. Eldership means serving the Body. That's it, and that's the only way that I would allow myself to answer that call--in that manner. I always consider myself to be a servant. Kneeling before a congregation to be "ordained" meant that I made a public promise to do so.Second...it's unbelievable to me that in this day and age, with all the information available, that there are still Neanderthals among us who lie through their teeth when they say "women and men are equal. They just have different 'roles.'" The Q'uran says something similar. It says that women and men are equal, but men are 'more' equal than women.Hmmmm.Who of us has the right to say what anyone's role is? If God calls you to minister, to serve, you GO! If someone tries to stop you, just who exactly are they working for?Third...the powers that be, the ones who are keeping their chosen Bible translations in your hands, and the information away that they DON'T want you to see, are the ones we should be keeping an eye on. They want to confuse you by saying that these new translations are gender inclusive. That's a lie. The truth is they are gender ACCURATE. There's a huge difference. Be proactive....go to the interlinears and some websites (I'll help ya) and see how many words have been inserted that were never there. Do a little Google sleuthing. Don't be spoon-fed.Fourth...Jesus had no trouble using women in ministry, why should anyone else? When Paul's words are really looked at, he had no trouble with women either. I used to think so, but not anymore. And quit throwing those horrible translations of the "women" scriptures at me. And stop with the rules that aren't even in scripture! Only priests can anoint? Jesus had no problem being anointed by a woman before his death! He chastised her criticizers. What would he say to you?What can I say? That's where I am. If you don't think women should pastor over a church, don't go to that church.There's a battle out there, and this is the time that God is calling His daughters to rise up and take up the sword with His sons against the enemy! The Truth is here. I can't imagine any real soldier who is intent on fighting and winning a battle that would refuse help from another warrior!There's work to be done. If you can't get over it...then get out of the way.

17 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

You and I have switched places these days.. with Ann's new crisis we have not been to church snce last month.. hope to go Sunday.

I am surprised that there isn't a church of egalitarian flavor in your neck of the woods Karen.. I hope that your journey is a fruitful one.. wherever it takes you!

Blessings, Bob

karen said...

Bob, I'm sorry for your troubles. You are in our prayers.

No, haven't found a church that is egalitarian...and I guess I'm too lazy to start a CBE chapter...

Don said...

Your pov will get no argument from me. Women's roles in our world, not just in religion is in the process of change. I hope for the ultimate bettering of all of us. I don't believe our Source views us by gender.

TimD said...

Hey Karen - I'm not sure I understand your main point. That may seem obtuse but I simply, don't want to seem cavalier about something you clearly hold such passion about. Since, it's not that women can't participate in ministry, as ministry is simply "ministering" & we are all called to that ... & it's not that women can't participate in every position found among mainstream Christianity, as there are many denominations that embrace this. One, I know of founded by a woman.

So if all levels of Christian service, as well as those in the form of any recognized office or title are available, for men & women among many mainstream Christian denominations, today ... what are you against?

There are some denominations that embrace only men, in certain positions of authority. Is that your complaint? - td

karen said...

"There are some denominations that embrace only men in certain positions of authority."
Tim, there are many churches that ONLY allow men in positions of authority. Many, many.

"Is that your complaint?"
Yes. There are very few egalitarian churches in this area. Some "appear" to be so, but in reality, they are not.

TimD said...

I have been a member of Foursquare International, for approx 18 of last 20 years or so - so I guess I don't think much about many other denom, in terms of how they approach this. However, I know so many other denom that have no restrictions, in this regard as well. Many flavors of Bap, Meth, Assemblies, Episc. Even the non-denom church we attend, now has women on the pastoral staff. It doesn't get any more traditional than VA (where we reside, now) & I've met many women in roles of leadership among the church (varying denoms), here. I just recalled you live in D/FW area -- I can't imagine not running into a zillion women in church leadership roles, in that area.

Are you a member of / only attend a particular denomination? If, yes ... I'd change. You did mention going into a church ... & it had no women in [senior] leadership roles ... so "therefore." There is a big difference between a denomination having a formal position against women teaching / leading & there simply, being no women in teaching / leadership roles. The latter is not an indication that there is any opposition to this. I would never want any leadership, in the church to be "representative" of gender, race, age, etc. - i.e., I don't think we should have more of this gender, race, age, etc. in leadership just because we want diversity representation or anything like that. That would be like getting angry at Christ for not picking any women diciples, to be among His core 12.

Ironically, Foursquare was founded by a woman (Aimee Semple Mcpherson) whom I personally, think had some substantial personal issues, in all honesty. I know of many, many women ordained in that denomination ... I never saw a single [senior] pastor of any Foursquare church, that was a woman, in all those years. Countless others in leadership roles, however. I have worked w/ many women in pastoral positions & can't recall any that had as a goal to move up through levels of authority / position -- it was always about the Kingdom ... to minister ... to serve.

I think I am still missing something or feel that I must be. I think you may see more formal obstacles to women moving in certain positions in the Christendom than I. I would be more than comfortable saying, there are vastly more women in roles of teaching & leading, among the Church as a whole than men. Largely because women typically get involved more than men. We must move in very different circles :-)

I'm missing something here, Karen. I'm squinting hard ... because this is clearly a long-term concern of yours ... & I'm still not sure what it is you want changed / addressed. If you were a guy ... I would be impressed that it seems you just want a position of authority, in your respective fellowship ... & God hasn't established you in such ... & that makes you mad. Creating some measure of resentment towards God & the inability to find comfort, among the all-too shallow world of human fellowship. This would also, grow an unhealthy sensitivity to judgment where none was cast. This person would not / could not find any rest or peace, in fellowship & would be driven to remain on the fringe of spiritual relationship because of their inappropriate expectations. But you're not ... so I'm accepting that there is a greater concern here that I am stepping over.

It's funny, as I see the formal denominationally based idea of church dying more every day; & I think it's a good thing. I am encountering more Christians that are fairly new ... have no traditional / denom religious background & just want to grow in the substantial things of God. Part of my difficulty in being able to grasp the heart, here most likely stems from my lack of interest, in those formal Church "things". I do not mean Biblically based (which I understand is ultimately involved here) ... but all the denom stuff. Good riddance. - td

karen said...

Tim, yes, there are a zillion women in leadership roles, however, very few in the senior pastor position. There are a few many miles from here. A Baptist church with a female senior pastor? Hardly. Methodist, yes. I've visited and stayed for a time in many churches, however, as soon as a woman (not me) tries to move past a certain level, her path is generally shut down. A good friend of mine was slowly ousted because the senior pastor (a Vineyard church) did not want women in leadership or as pastors. She had been there for a very long time, and the loss was devastating.
I was Vice President of our consistory in an RCA church, but I (as well as other women) was left out of the loop in many situations.
My blog post was a rerun about something I'm passionate about. Churches use the Timothy scripture to keep women from leading or teaching men, when in fact, Paul and Jesus had no problem with women leading.

I'm having a difficult time understanding your confusion, Tim, however, as you said, you don't have an interest in this subject. I, however, am interested in the spiritual gifts of others: of encouraging them and praying for them. It may be because you're not a woman and haven't thought to look at this side of things. Perhaps you need to, I don't know, but because you're not "aware" of this issue doesn't make it a non-issue. I know from blogging that many of my blog friends, men and women, are well familiar with this problem.
I was part of a website: www.godswordtowomen.org that is dedicated to this very problem. It is indeed very widespread. There are two other sites, one called Christians for Biblical Equality, which is egalitarian; and The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood which believes in the separate roles of men and women.
So, you see, I am hardly the author of the "women in leadership" concern.
You said:
"If you were a guy ... I would be impressed that it seems you just want a position of authority, in your respective fellowship ... & God hasn't established you in such ... & that makes you mad. Creating some measure of resentment towards God & the inability to find comfort, among the all-too shallow world of human fellowship. This would also, grow an unhealthy sensitivity to judgment where none was cast. This person would not / could not find any rest or peace, in fellowship & would be driven to remain on the fringe of spiritual relationship because of their inappropriate expectations. But you're not ... so I'm accepting that there is a greater concern here that I am stepping over."

Why would you think this of a guy and not me?
I don't care for any further positions of authority in a church, but I have sisters who are indeed called to it and have been denied.

TimD said...

Thanks Karen - That helps.

I wonder if you notice that you went from "women in ministry" to "those women that have a desire to be in the role of [specifically] senior pastor or higher ... in some specific

denominations." The difference being a staggering sum of people. I think people can have personal experiences that if allowed, can permeate and sometimes destroy the "all" of

some aspect of our their lives.

Again, while you are holding & obviously allowing to chew you up, the position that "women are being prevented from ministering" ... millions-&-millions of women are

ministering, completely oblivious to the limitations you feel they face. The opportunities for ministry & service are so great ... it might be described simply as ... "the

harvest is great ... the workers are few."

I have a brother-in-law who is a pretty good guy. He is a pastor, at a church in SD, CA. He was groomed from childhood to be a pastor. If you asked him how he became pastor,

at his present church, he would offer a fine explanation of how God did this & that, ultimately placing him in this position. I, on the other hand would say, "His dad was the

pastor ... & gave his son the position when he stepped down." I (probably like you) have been in & around church, my entire life. I have seen more things done, in the Name of

God ... that had nothing to do w/ the will of God. What you see as [perhaps] unique to those women wanting a senior pastor position ... is simply, common to all mankind.

Preference, shallow idealism, bad Biblical interpretation ... & plain good ol' boy networking. For every instance of denial of a woman wanting a senior pastor position ...

there are countless preference, shallow idealism, bad Biblical interpretation, & good ol' boy networking based decisions made determining so many aspects of daily life, in the

Christendom. THAT is why I have no interest, in these things. You are allowing a VERY unique & relatively irrelevant issue to prevent you from simply, entering in. To go to a

church & note what "formal" areas of service are printed, as available on some card -- what does that mean? Who reads those cards? I can't imagine any of the women you

mentioned as historical examples glancing over the visitor cards to see where they might be allowed to serve. In all honesty ... I didn't really understand the content of the

cards you mentioned. I am imagining you being associated w/ perhaps one of the more liturgical denominations, as it has been my experience they typically are so formal &

organized, in these areas. Aren't those types of things intended to help new believers get involved, in some aspect of service?

I have had a particular set of monumentally bad experiences w/ core leaders, in a couple of fellowships. For years, my best friends were pastors. We were members of a fairly

large fellowship, in the Northwest, for over 12 years. Approx 10 pastors & 800 members or so. These were the people I spent time w/, enjoyed life w/, grew w/. Through a

relationship of accountability, my friend & brother-in-Christ shared w/ me concerns he had discovered involving 2 other men he was in business w/. These 2 other men were

pastors of my church & 2 of my dearest friends. They had been involved in every significant area of my life. As it began to unfold & lawyers got involved, it was clear that

there would be no accountability by the senior pastor or others. Every effort was made by senior leadership to simply, sweep it away without it coming to light. Aside from the

"cover-up", no genuine repentance could occur by these 2 pastors, as no accountability took place. It was big & ugly & the fall-out ironically, impacted me more than anyone.

Being aware of the activities put me in the position of now also, being accountable. Not once, did I try to setup a camp of dissidents. In holding my friends accountable (&

knowing them, I took it for granted they would repent w/ time) it simply, came to the point where we were asked to leave by the senior pastor, w/ him stating he felt we would be

happier elsewhere. When we said, we weren't leaving, as it was our home. He told us he could make us leave. Crazy crap. Crazy mankind involved in God's business, crap. I

don't know why I was made aware of these incidents (other crap occurred, again elsewhere) but from it, I have the simple, desire to move fwd in serving God. So many people are

arguing about so many "religious" things ... while God is busy using those that are simply, available & willing to move past the denominational boundries & man-made junk that

has grown so think over time.

When my son & I began attending our present fellowship, the assoc pastor wanted me to be involved in some capacity. Man, I was just trying at this point to be in 'proximity' to

fellowship ... without killing someone. When he persisted that we have lunch & discuss. A flood of 'stuff' filled my heart that week prior. When we met for lunch ... the

first words out of my mouth were ... I would just as soon beat your as_, as look at you --- & then proceeded to explain why. Good lunch ... & a better man. It opened up a

wonderful door to begin moving among (& most importantly, trusting) others in serving God. These things are cancer.

Karen ... let it go. Move the issue from your "gut" to your intellect. I encourage you to define (written) the argument you have & who it is against, for yourself. I think you

will see a couple of things. Obviously, (& this is extremely significant) you will see that what you define, as monumentally small (those women that have a desire to be in the

role of [specifically] senior pastor or higher, in some specific denominations) ... you are holding in your heart & mind as vastly larger & more all-inclusive (women in

ministry). The other thing is that I believe you will find that most of your anger about the issue is really aimed, at God.

Yes, Karen ... I do think you often see judgement where none has been cast. I have noticed where you have been quick to get "testy" involving comments I shared w/ others, about

others, on other pages. You were quick to catch yourself ... but you were offended, none-the-less. I think this will also, offend you. You are an intelligent, competent, able

woman allowing some trivial issue that doesn't remotely exist to the degree you feel it does to prevent you from entering into the ALL of what God has for you & me.

"Thinking it of a guy & not you" was extending the benefit of doubt that some aspect existed that I wasn't considering, that was unique to women. I see that there isn't a unique

aspect. Men & women are not equal, Karen - men are men & women are women. In fact they share little that they might find equality in, except for what matters. They are equal in

value to their Creator ... He died for both, equally ... & will use both equally, as they are available & willing.

Time is short. Let it go. Move in ministry & encourage other women to do the same -- & let those playing at religion fall by the wayside, as God finds them & related affairs

utterly useless. The freedom you can enjoy will so bless you & your family that many many wonderful concentric blessings will occur. - td

karen said...

I see many of your points, Tim. Thank you for your thoughts. Regarding my remark on Gary Means' blog: I will sincerely apologize again for offending you. It was not my intention, however I am only human.

It sounds like you've had some really bad experiences in church, and I'm sorry you've gone through those times.

However, the fact still remains that women are kept from many of the offices they desire. I've been involved in, researched, and studied this issue with many pastors, elders, and clergy, for the past 7 years. I've had friends who were screamed at by their male seminary professors and told that they have no place as a pastor because of their gender. I am, indeed, passionate about this subject.
I also understand that you consider the subject a non-issue.

mibman said...

Karen - you're awesome. You did not / have not offended me, at any time, in any way. I think anything I might share at this point would simply, be redundant. I pray His best for you & all you give yourself to. - td

Pat said...

Karen:

I can't understand how anyone can be unaware of the limitations placed on women in many "churches." Traditions are strong but the Lord is stronger. We have to be true to ourselves and the ministry He has given us. It doesn't mean being part of some formal church. Jesus went "outside the camp."

We speak the truth, in love, but love isn't always sweet. We stand on the truth, but I've found that when I try to push someone into seeing I have no results so I'm going to quit. I'll just drop a few pearls when He gives the opportunity.

You are one among many who have left “church.” (How can we leave what we are?) I miss corporate fellowship. Have a little, not enough, but I can wait on the Lord. He knows best what I need and I trust His provision though I admit to doing a bit of complaining.

Personally, I think we may have the whole picture out of focus. When we speak of Senior Pastor or give offices or titles to anyone it makes a hierarchical structure. Can't see that in the Godhead and don't think it is His desire for His body either.

I see relating in His body as a circle where we move in to minister on instruction from the Spirit and then step back and let the Spirit be in charge of what comes next.

There is leadership, but it seems to me to arise from within a fellowship. Leadership doesn’t come by degrees or titles but by lives lived to the glory of God. It is out of our relationship with Him that our light shines and we are looked to as leaders. I know I can come to you to receive from Him.

You know who you are in Him. You know He does not have any gender bias. Nothing can stand before Him. We need to be ready to teach those who want to know, and trust Him to continue to make the change that HE has started. Nothing that is not of God will stand in the end.

Sue Hyatt once said “stroke from a point of rest.” That’s wisdom.

Be blessed,
Pat

karen said...

Good wisdom there, sister. Thanks for weighing in.
I often wonder what will become of organized churches if women are empowered to follow their calling--I suspect that church will then become very close to what He truly intended.
What is there now is unbalanced.

Pat said...

Got a call last night from my friend Kathy. She and I did a seminar on biblical womanhood in New Mexico last month. It seems that there are good results.

One of those who attended taught a Sunday School class on Eph. 5 and said how having the ammunition to back up what she felt in her spirit about her calling in God allowed an annointing to flow beyond anything she had ever experienced.

So, we don't give up, we just watch for His open doors and keep speaking.

It seems that these folks want us to come back for more. There is so much more. The gender issue must be overcome but seeing who we are in Christ, knowing what it means to be seated with Him, knowing our authority in the earth, what it means to be a mature son of God--so many more things that need to be understood. Not just quoted, but really taken into our being.

What a joy to live in this time!

Pat

karen said...

Yes, Pat..it is much better than other times! I was looking at my bookshelf at the large number of books that I have on this subject.
Please say hi to Kathy for me...or I'll send her an email! :-)

Robert said...

ah karen so well-thougt out in your typical inimitable style!!! In all my time in Bible College, Seminary, on staff at a church,surrounded by professors,ministers and missionaries, i can say uneqivocably the barrier of women in leadership DOES exist!!! I have seen a huge openness happen since the early 80's though, and can only pray that the process of change continues. So odd how many translations insert words into the text that were not there!!! Bless you good my precious friend!!!

karen said...

Robert, thank you for your input. I know you have been there, as well, and walked this issue. Bless you, too, brother!

karen said...

Thank you, also, Tim.

However, in the future, please remember that this blog is set up for issues such as this.
You judged me and the validity of the issue in a personal, not objective manner. If you're not interested in a subject, please refrain from commenting.
You're very welcome to bring subject issues here; I'll throw them out and see what discussion ensues. However, no discussion about personalities, or value judgments on the issue without bringing actual facts to the table. Thanks.