We would not worship a God who is misogynist. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t matter what verses anyone may provide as proof – it just doesn’t make sense that God is misogynist.
We are not interested in arriving in heaven to find that women somehow have a different role. We would refuse to participate with cliques, patriarchs, theocracies, boys’ or girls’ clubs or tradition.
We are interested in equality before God.
But, you insist, the Bible doesn’t allow leadership from women. While we disagree, we do concede that there are verses that can be used to sustain an argument to support your thesis. So, how do we arrive at consensus on this divisive issue? We don’t, for the time being – we should just live with each other, despite the tension. Agree to disagree. Grow together, over the generations.
This issue need not divide us, like the many other issues that we rarely highlight, but on which we disagree. For instance, we rarely talk about or expect miracle healing, speaking in tongues, the handling of scorpions (Luke.10.19), the drinking of poison and the handling of snakes (Mark 16:18)… and so on. They are contentious and too strange, too divisive or too confusing.
Then there’s the ‘texts of terror’ in the Old Testament that we can’t attribute to the will of God. We just don’t believe that God condoned the terror in the Old Testament: the slavery, the abuse, the rape, the murder, the racism … We don’t name the violence for what it is. We avoid the issue. It need not divide us.
We have a God who is much larger than we imagine: more loving, more compassionate, more gifting, more affirming, more justice-centred than we might ever imagine. Let’s not bicker on our understanding, for, by any measure, our understanding will presumably be sadly incomplete.
Whatever the reason, the LCA, in its youthful almost adolescent years, has clung to simplistic Biblical understandings and literal translations. Increasingly over the years, many of us have confessed certain things but experienced a growing unease with the position of the Church. It is time to bring our beliefs and theology into harmony. It is time to embrace a larger theology, a larger view of God and a larger view of each other.
It is with thanks that we celebrate the installation of Bishop John Henderson, who has declared that his ministry will be one of listening. Only in allowing space for voices to be heard is there any possibility that the LCA will be able to respond faithfully to the issues of today, and the concerns of those who come its doors.
Reference and inspiration Bishop Desmond Tutu