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Experiencing gender discrimination in the church

18 Sep

Pastor Rick Mickelson, from the ELCA (USA), who served in the Barossa (SA) and Epping (NSW), once wept that he couldn’t affirm for his daughters that there was nothing they couldn’t do. He was painfully aware that in secular life there are no boundaries for girls. In spiritual life, which connects at a much deeper level, women are told in the LCA that certain things are not for them.  How many women in churches around the world have been told that they don’t really have a call to the ordained ministry because they are women?

“It’s sad, really, that the only place in my entire life that I have experienced gender discrimination is the church,” VanScoy emailed me. “Certainly God never intended to gift a woman to do something she was not intended to do.” source – Soujourners Magazine.

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6 Comments

Posted by on September 18, 2011 in sociology, theology

 

Tags: , ,

6 responses to “Experiencing gender discrimination in the church

  1. Andor

    September 18, 2011 at 6:10 am

    I’m ‘Gen Y’ and the gender discrimination within our church causes much pain and confusion for me.

    I was a teenager in 2000. When the results came through I felt unworthy, unwanted, other.

     
  2. Katie and Martin

    September 18, 2011 at 7:09 am

    Andor, we understand the pain and confusion. The LCA is theoretically a democratic, synodical church where the congregation is central to decision making, however, sadly, it is more like a magisterium where a select few are in position to manipulate and dictate outcomes. Suggestions: Network! Keep the conversation alive, talk to your pastor, talk to congregational members, find congregations where the matter is treated seriously, write letters to The Lutheran and explain something of your hurt. Share your hurt with others, trusting that the LCA will find ways to welcome those who are powerless. Without each one of us acting there will be no change in the LCA.

     
    • Andor

      September 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Thank you for your reply – it means a lot.

      I tried to put out a gender equality message in a conversation with my pastor. I will quote him verbatim: “You’re not one of THOSE are you?”

      When looking at 1 Timothy 2 during a bible study with another pastor, he referred us to Genesis 3:15 to support the dictate… and he’s Gen Y as well!

      Are there any meetings, or similar, that I can attend?

       
      • Katie and Martin

        September 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

        The LCA seems to be mostly behind women’s ordination. Twice there have been majority votes at General Synod despite dire warnings from the chair that women’s ordination would split the Church. The President hasn’t moved with the Church. Certain pastors haven’t moved as well. The gender of ordination is not a doctrinal matter as there is no scriptural directive about the gender of the pastor. If a pastor cannot be pastorally supportive consider finding another congregation where you can find appropriate pastoral care.
        Women’s Ministry Network has women and men from all Australian states. Contact them at http://www.wmn.org.au/. The webpage is in need of rejuvenation. In each major city in Australia you will find groups of supportive people. Beyond Australia we should be able to put you in touch with supportive people.

         
  3. witsend

    September 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

    I remember a time in my early 20s when Rick and I were standing in the kitchen at my parents and he asked me if I had considered becoming a pastor. I said ‘no’, because I hadn’t been called. Now, on reflection, it never occurred to me that if I did have a calling it was irrelevant in my Lutheran church, the LCA. A decade or so later, I have not experienced a calling, but I do question my place in a church that oppresses women (not only those called to be pastors), and every day that this oppression continues the LCA and I become more distant. I still have a little determination left and I’ll continue to work towards the ordination of women in the LCA, but the energy is fading.

     
    • Barney & Co

      November 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Katie and Martin
      The LCA seems to be mostly behind women’s ordination. (debatable – unless precise statistics are given) Twice there have been majority votes (simple majority, 67% majority was required because it was a doctrinal issue) at General Synod despite dire warnings from the chair that women’s ordination would split the Church. (The passing by vote on the gender of the Lay Readers was only successful because it was deemed to be an administrative manner.) The President hasn’t moved with the Church (NO an element in the LCA has moved from the teaching of the LCA). Certain pastors haven’t moved as well (certain Pastors are failing to live up to their ordination and installation promises).

      The gender of ordination is not a doctrinal matter as there is no scriptural directive about the gender of the pastor.
      (The gender of the Pastor IS a doctrinal matter as is that of a deacon – by any other name. 1st Timothy 3 is quite clear about the gender. Besides 1 Cor. 14 and 1 Tim 2, make it very difficult for a woman to be a Pastor, a deacon or a Lay Reader without speaking during Divine Service)
      If a pastor cannot be pastorally supportive consider finding another congregation where you can find appropriate pastoral care. (If a Pastor cannot live up to his ordination and installation promises, he should recant or resign his call.)

      At this stage I cannot use a different typeface to indicate the author and the one who comments, I’m working on that, so for the time being my comments are in ().

      Barney

      Ubi Verbum Christi, ibi Veritas

       

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