RSS

Tag Archives: Sojourners Community

Tales of a Male ‘Preacher’s Wife’

Screen Shot 2013-05-18 at 4.38.03 PM

Images from Sojourners Magazine

From Christian Piatt at Sojourners Magazine 2013

MY WIFE IS a pastor. Specifically, she’s the senior pastor of a prominent church in downtown Portland, Ore. I’m on staff too, but only part-time, and she enjoys telling people she’s my boss. Technically, I answer to the church board, but people get a laugh about the reversal of “typical roles.”

I get my share of “preacher’s wife” jokes, to which I have a handful of rote responses. No, I don’t knit or make casseroles. No, I don’t play in the bell choir. Generally, the jokes are pretty gentle, but they all point to the reality that few of us will actually talk about: We see the traditional roles of women as less important than those of their male counterparts. And so, to see a man who works from home most of the time and takes the kids to school while his wife has the “high power” job brings everything from the man’s masculinity to his ambition into question.

But regardless of the teasing I get, Amy has it a lot worse. One time, when she was guest preaching at a church in Colorado, a tall man who appeared to be in his 60s came up to her after worship. “That was pretty good,” he said, smiling but not extending his hand, “for a girl.”

Amy and I planted a church in southern Colorado 10 years ago, and we actually kind of enjoyed watching people’s expectations get turned on end when they met us. A newcomer would walk in the doors of the church and almost always walk up to me and start asking questions about our congregation.

“Oh, you’re looking for the person in charge,” I’d say. “She’s over there.” Then would come the dropped jaws and the wordless stammers as they reconfigure everything they assumed walking through the door. Amy’s even had people stand up and walk out in the middle of worship when they realize she’s about to preach.

SEX, FAITH, AND power have been long-time, if not always productive, bedfellows within organized religion. And from what I’ve seen as a “preacher’s wife,” Christianity is at least a generation behind the rest of the United States in figuring out our respective roles and limitations. Some churches would sooner shutter their doors forever than allow a woman to preach, and soon enough they’ll probably get that chance, given that the vast majority of people in seminary today are women. (more)

 

Sojourners Magazine – “Faith in Action for Social Justice”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 18, 2013 in theology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Women are the Key to the Church’s Future

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.


Reference

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

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Is Women’s Leadership in the Church a Primary Issue?

Mimi Haddad from Sojourners,

suggests that the answer is often, ‘No’, with the primary issues being understood as “those that focus on the gospel, evangelism, and the leading of the lost to Christ”.

Haddad tells the story of Emily, who is alienated by the church’s attitude to women and consequently loses her faith.  She asserts that, “One’s biblical position on gender clearly advances or diminishes the good news of the gospel”.

When people find the presentation of faith as illogical and unjust they re-examine Scripture and find that, “The differences between egalitarians and complementarians (those who support a male model of authority) run deeper than a difference in interpretation or personal preference. Egalitarians and complementarians present differing worldviews, and this is why so many of us challenge gender-hierarchy as God’s ideal”.

Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) of which Mimi Haddad is president,” is devoted to showing individuals like Emily — who have left the church, or who refuse to marry, or who have joined other religions — that scripture does not extend authority to men just because they are male. Rather, leadership and service is the product of God’s gifting, one’s intimacy with God, and one’s moral choices”.

Read more.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome.  We’d love to get your comment.

If you found this post useful, consider sharing and subscribing to this blog for free.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 5, 2010 in sociology

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: