Tag Archives: Huffington Post

LCA Pastors Discuss Women’s Ordination With Not a Woman In Sight

Huffington Post July 8th 2015 - Attributed to

Discussing Women in Society – Huffington Post July 8th 2015 – Attributed to

“The conference was reportedly held in 2012 at the University of Qassim and was apparently attended by representatives of 15 countries. …The picture features row upon row of men in traditional keffiyeh and white thobes.” Huffington Post

Most rational people in the West would agree that such absolute exclusion of women demonstrates a misogyny contrary to human rights and destructive to society and religion.  Without women’s voice Arab countries will continue to treat women poorly and treat them as children who must be accompanied by a male family member when out in public – no drivers’ license, no international travel without a male family companion.

LCA pastors are currently meeting in Hahndorf, South Australia without any female voice.  It’s a funny old world isn’t it?  We are able to hold two disparate points of view without any cognitive dissonance.  While we condemn Arab society for its harsh treatment of women, the LCA, through its male pastors, is doing a similar thing.

The LCA has been discussing this issue for around 30 years in a country where women were among the first in the world to receive the vote. Yet, still we cling to this strange notion that we must cling to MIssouri Synod sectarian theology, while other most Western Lutheran churches already ordain women.  Strangely in the LCA there are women chaplains, women adult educators within Equip (adult education for educators in the Lutheran school system), women elders and so on.

It is time!  If the LCA is going to cease being a magnet for those dispossessed of their conservatism from other churches, thus entrenching our inability to adapt to the times, we need to reflect our intention of engaging with the world by creating policies that demonstrate compassion, integrity and justice.


Posted by on July 8, 2015 in sociology


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Rob Bell Comes Out for Marriage Equality

The arguments in support of GLBT people are the same ones in support of recognising women in the Church. Note the sentence, “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work.”

Bell (a popular American preacher, and as reported in Huffington Post) went on to say that while it used to be fair to equate evangelicals with social conservatism, that assumption no longer holds true. More pointedly, he said, “I think we are witnessing the death of a particular subculture that doesn’t work. I think there is a very narrow, politically intertwined, culturally ghettoized, Evangelical subculture that was told “we’re gonna change the thing” and they haven’t. And they actually have turned away lots of people. And i think that when you’re in a part of a subculture that is dying, you make a lot more noise because it’s very painful. You sort of die or you adapt. And if you adapt, it means you have to come face to face with some of the ways we’ve talked about God, which don’t actually shape people into more loving, compassionate people. And we have supported policies and ways of viewing the world that are actually destructive. And we’ve done it in the name of God and we need to repent.”

via Greg Carey: Rob Bell Comes Out for Marriage Equality.

Social conservatism is always looking backward.  It is forever clinging to what may have served us well in the past.  Sometimes that anchor will serve us well, however, sometimes that anchor keeps us remote from new understandings, progress, compassion and from society itself.  Conservatism, in its insistence on looking backwards, is often heartless.  In the LCA a rigid, heartless insistence on the exclusion of women from ministry has given our Church a rigid, legalistic exterior, despite the majority support for women’s ordination. Sadly the President’s repression of discussion on the issue has been destructive on several fronts, including on those who continue to leave the Church.

It is time to repent, to turn around.  It is time to listen to the still, quiet voice and embrace those we have shunned, those who have no voice – for that is the way of Jesus.


Posted by on March 22, 2013 in sociology, women's ordination


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Chime for Change

Chime for Change - homepage image

Chime for Change – homepage image

Gender equality has come a long way in the secular world but there is still need for change (let alone in the world of the LCA).  We can point to violence each day towards women and we can point to ongoing inequalities in the world place.   The following post from Chime for Change and sponsored by many, including Beyoncé Knowles and Arriana Huffington (of Huffington Post), strives to bring ‘Education. Health. Justice For Every Girl. Every Woman’.

None of us can move forward if half of us are held back.

Chime for Change is a community of people working to promote Education, Health and Justice for every girl, every woman, everywhere.

Chime for Change.

Throughout history, women have done things differently.
When we need to get something done, we do it together.
With each new generation our story has spread wider.
The voices telling it braver, more powerful.

But the story is far from over. These are extraordinary times.
Thanks to technology, women across the world have the ability to connect in ways
unimaginable to those who went before us. We believe that connection empowers us.

We are proud to be joining a growing movement of many.
The young and the old, women and men, from all cultures and all walks
of life who want to see change. Not one, but billions of voices calling for
the empowerment of girls and women. Empowerment through education,
through health, through justice.

This is about hearing a call – to join us wherever you are.
About raising an alarm – drawing attention where there is work to
be done. Our issues are the world’s issues.

This is the sound of connection.
This is the sound of progress.
This is the sound of change.

Will you join Chime for Change and make some noise to bring ‘Education. Health. Justice For Every Girl. Every Woman’.   Joining broader movements for gender equality will assist our own movement to recognise giftedness of women within the LCA.



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Complacency is over


Gordon Brown – UN Special Envoy for Global Education

Gordon Brown blogged at the Huffington Post today, “Girl Rising: Adult Complacency Is Over“.  He speaks about the attempted murder of Malala in Pakistan by the Taliban, and he speaks about the recent gang rape and murder of the medical student in India.  He suggests that these atrocities should not be just further examples of terrible violence but that they should mark the end of tolerating such violence.

The forces against girls and women are  structural, often subtle and often culturally and religiously ingrained.  You will hear endless rationalisation for how girls and women are treated – until your gut turns and you realise that the human condition historically has objectified or ‘othered’ girls and women.

Our sexism is not planned, it just is, at least until we can name it and vow to move on from it.  It’s like superstition – avoiding walking under ladders, or saying “touch wood”.  We have inherited a  lot of nonsense!  Overcoming sexism is not an intellectual decision however.  We were surprised some years ago, when travelling interstate, when an attractive woman walked towards a semi-trailer from a petrol station and entered the cabin from the driver’s side. She was the driver but our upbringing and conditioning had told us that she would be the passenger. There are countless examples where we detect our sexism.  (Does sexism become misogyny when we start to justify our negative attitudes towards women?)

The Church, in all of its self-congratulatory pats on the back about grace, Scripture alone, etc, needs a moment of confession and seeking of repentance.   We need to start listening to women and hearing their stories of abuse experienced.  As history is often told by the winners of conflict and oppressors, the quiet voices take some time to be heard.

It is time that male complacency towards women’s position in the Church was let go.  As Christians, who are highly adept at acknowledging our sin through the liturgy and general faith, it should not be a major step to acknowledge that we have dishonoured our women.  It is time that we lifted up women in the LCA, and in doing so, were able to benefit from their pastoral skills honed in relationships and raising families.  Anything else is immaturity and vindictive.

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Posted by on January 27, 2013 in sociology, women's ordination


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How women voters became the kingmakers

From Crikey.

Barack Obama won 55% of the female vote, meaning it was women who decided this year’s presidential election. Politicians who refuse to take women’s concerns and freedoms seriously are now on notice.

I suspect it may be dawning on a few white men as I write this that giving women the vote was a seriously bad idea.

Suddenly the constituency that used to rule the world — because they ruled America — are getting a sense of just what it feels like to be a minority group. And I don’t think they like it much.

According to numbers that are being crunched as I write, Barack Obama outpolled Mitt Romney in every group except older white men. Based on these admittedly preliminary figures, the President won 55% of the female vote, 93% of the African American vote and 71% of the Latino vote. He also outpolled Romney in every age group up to 45 and won the votes of most Americans who live in cities.

But if these early figures are correct, it is women who have really decided this election. That’s because they are 53% of the population, while blacks are 13%, Latinos 10% and Asians 3%. Even younger people only add up to 46% of the American population.

(read more – it’s good writing and worth a read)

“Barack Obama outpolled Mitt Romney in every group except older white men” and  “in every age group up to 45”.  If you read other related articles you’ll read that “America is not the America it used to be.  If there were only white voters, Romney would have won.” While older white men have every right to hold an opinion they are on notice that opinion is no longer the .

Yes, America has changed, and so has the LCA.  The writing is on the wall: “Politicians who refuse to take women’s concerns and freedoms seriously are now on notice.”  Ignore women at your peril.

Even the trick of old white men who bus retired clergy to vote against women’s ordination at LCA Pastors’ Conferences will not stop women’s voice being heard.

The ridiculous thing is that once women are ordained most people will come to value the wise, compassionate, pastoral care that women give.  If other churches’ experience is anything to go by, the stories of apology will begin like this, “I used to be against women’s ordination, but then …”

Leave us a comment.  Let us know what your thoughts are.


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Human Rights Begin in the Pew

The exclusion of women and the resulting division in the Church is not peculiar to the LCA. Many other churches, including the Catholic Church, are facing the same debate. The inclusion of women has come of age.  It is an issue that can’t be placed aside.

Religious-based bigotry eviscerates women’s human rights the world over, and God doesn’t like it one damned bit. Re-posted from the Huffington Post with permission.

Today at the grocery store, I overheard a mom telling her little girl, “Of course you can be President of the United States!” It seems a boy at school said girls were not good enough to be president because they weren’t boys. Even though I had heard such things before (I am the youngest of six with five older brothers), this particular conversation stopped me dead in my religious tracks.

Catholicism decided I wasn’t good enough to be a leader in the Church about 2,000 years before I was born. I couldn’t be its president (aka “pope”) or a priest or bishop or cardinal because I happened to be female. Not knowing any better, I accepted my Catholic less-than-ness as a fact of life, like when the Little League in Wheaton, Ill., said I couldn’t play because I was a girl. I didn’t organize sit ins on the pitcher’s mound or walk outs from the pew. Like other girls, I simply accepted the adult-dictated view of things.

The Catholic Church believes the Bible (a document written, translated and almost entirely interpreted by men) establishes that men are, quite literally, born leaders. The Church claims that women can’t be priests because Jesus wanted it that way. Really? A man didn’t play any role whatsoever in Jesus’ conception (from all accounts, it was sperm-free). Christ came out of a woman’s uterus, which seems to be a pretty important part of the birth story. Jesus’ most trusted disciple was arguably Mary Magdalene. The risen Jesus didn’t show Himself to the fellas at the local mens-only oasis. He first appeared to Mary. Experts believe it was Mary at Jesus’ right in DaVinci’s Last Supper. She wasn’t doing dishes in the back or filling the wine glasses for the boys, she was right next to Mr. Equality Himself.

The wildly dangerous and incredibly pathetic part of religiously based gender bigotry is the critical role it plays in legitimizing the horrific treatment of women in societies throughout the world. Women aren’t equal in the eyes of God, Jesus, Allah, Yahweh, etc., therefore: Cover your face and body or be whipped. You’re forbidden to drive or vote or hold a paying job. Don’t speak, as you are not worthy to be heard. You deserve to be treated like objects or property or animals. It is justified by God that you be beaten or stoned to death simply for being the victim of your own femininity. Face the cold, brutally hard fact that all of your human rights are dependent on what men, not God, feel they should be.

In the Catholic “faith,” women are told to accept that our own religion utilizes every political and legal channel known to man (aided by the money we put in the Sunday collection basket) to prevent us from controlling what happens in our bedrooms or to our bodies. Using God to control women is what we in marketing might call a “Top Down” strategy. Find an expert and leverage his/her position to convince consumers of a “truth.” Unfortunately, God isn’t around to verify the man-made claims in support of gender inequity, or to expose it as the load of crap it most certainly is. I believe God made us equal. We may be different physically, but God sees us as His children. Not as His sons and those other ones, but as His children. Precious. Made in His image.

By attending Catholic mass, I’m tacitly endorsing women’s inequality within the Church. Through my silence, I am agreeing with its calculated discrimination against females. I am supporting a Church that fights to control women’s reproductive choices and is hell bent on ruining the lives of my God-loving gay brothers and sisters. And at the end of the day, I’m going to have to explain to Jesus why I would patronize any organization that doesn’t treat His children equally.

I believe in exacting change from the inside out by trying to make things better rather than abandoning them. However, unless I can find a way to express my opposition to all forms of bigotry within the confines of my Church (wearing a sandwich board, neon sign or set of very large buttons to Mass being viable, short term solutions), I’m going to have to stick by the teachings of my God and sit that pew out.

Sarah O’Leary is a writer, marketing expert and licensed minister. She encourages you to share this and all of her Huffington Posts. Sarah answers all comments made herein, and may be reached via email:


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Female Jet Pilot? Sure. Preacher? No.

Rev Susan Sparks, New York, New York

From Rev Susan Spark’s blog on Huffington Post:

One third of the U.S. Supreme Court justices are women; more than fifty female astronauts have traveled into space; and forty-one women have won the Nobel Peace Prize. But place a woman in a pulpit and blood pressure and eyebrows immediately begin to rise; rise, that is, within the religious tradition of my upbringing: the Southern Baptists.
It’s not so different in the LCA.  We have women doctors, lecturers, CEO’s, social workers, therapists, lawyers, singers, school principals, administrators, counselors, accountants, translators, missionaries  … and yet women are not fit for the pulpit.  Lord forgive us. If it was the post-war 1950’s, when the two Synods were discussing union, it would be understandable, but the 21st Century is another matter.

Posted by on April 21, 2012 in sociology


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