Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future

06 Dec

Christian Piatt of Sojourners Community

Christian Piatt of Sojourners Community points out that the majority of those still hanging in within the walls of most churches are women. He says that since prehistoric times men have gone out to hunt, developing independence, while women have remained at home establishing and maintaining communities.  He suggests that, due to changing times, women are key to the future of the church.

While in the past we needed strong leadership, today we are guarded, sceptical and even pessimistic about leadership.  What hasn’t changed is our need for one another.

Who better to model such a resource for our culture than those who have been at the heart of such community since before the dawn of recorded history?

We can hold fast, clinging to our authority, drawing lines and issuing ultimatums, while watching people continue to walk away by the millions. Or we can recognize that what the world needs at this point, far more than another sermon or worship service is a model of healthy interdependent community. And as scripture assures us, if we gather together with the intention of truly seeking God in our midst, we will find what we’re looking for.  (more)

Not so long ago in Australia the Lutheran Church was a rural church with strong Germanic origins.  We had little money for our own religious texts, beyond the Bible and devotional materials. We were farmers with only primary education and we relied on the local pastor to bring his tertiary education to the interpretation of Scripture so that we might be educated.   As a corollary, we relied on our leaders to pave the way ahead.  They were our navigators and we trusted them.

Today, education to a tertiary level, at least in Australia, is almost universal.  In this information age we are hyper-connected, and we are exposed to issues across the globe – even religious issues.  We need to filter enormous amounts of material and contradictory political opinion with some discernment.  Times have changed. We are no longer passive consumers of opinion and theology, and yes, we are guarded about top-down leadership which doesn’t reflect the common experience.  We no longer have the mono-cultural allegiance of early German settlers.  There are many options. Ref 1 and 2

‘Strong leadership’ at the helm of the LCA is, ironically, destroying the trust that some of us have in the LCA.   Those who oppose women’s ordination seem to oppose living together with a diversity of practice, even valuing isolation in the name of purity. Such determined isolationism contradicts their evangelical DNA and does nothing for the Gospel. We fear that such closing of options may lead them to schism.

On the other hand, women seem to offer gifts in building community. They have been nurturing families and relationships since time began with leadership styles that are generally more consultative and encouraging of interdependence. God is not finished with the church just yet.  There are yet more changes to come.


Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future – Christian Piatt | God’s Politics Blog | Sojourners.


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12 responses to “Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future

  1. dingo

    December 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Thanks for this post – it is interesting. Need to point out, though, that the assertion regarding men going out to hunt and women staying home and nurturing families is, itself, the product of a biased reading of the historical record.
    Women were actually the main providers of food in ‘prehistoric’ times; heading out each day to collect plants and hunt small animals. Men (together with women) would occasionally head out in a group and hunt down a large animal.

    • Katie and Martin

      December 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm

      It certainly was a generalisation, as Piatt makes clear in his article. No doubt there were various ways that tribes distributed hunting and gathering roles.

  2. Dorothea Preis

    December 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Maybe in this context a closer association with the German tradition might not be a bad thing – in the German Lutheran Church there have been women as pastors since the 1950s. The German church in Sydney has at present a female pastor and a female vicar. In the European Lutheran churches women’s ordination is simply not an issue any more.

    • Katie and Martin

      December 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Indeed! Today there is a clear move towards women’s leadership in secular and sacred society. Certainly the German Lutheran Church is a good role model.

  3. Wally

    December 6, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I think women are the key to the Church’s future and I think men are the key to the Church’s future. Therefore I think it makes eminent sense to say rather that people are the key to the Church’s future. I believe we must emphasise the complimentary nature of our unique gifts by bringing them together in this way.

    • dingo

      December 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      That’s a great point Wally … let’s think about the logical outcome of following that train of thought ….. Women’s ordination!!! 😉 Glad you agree with us 🙂

      • Wally

        December 7, 2012 at 2:43 am

        I’m afraid I don’t see your logic at all – my point is just the opposite, hence the word “complimentary”.

  4. Wally

    December 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Correct, but no big drama.


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