Tag Archives: United States

Tales of a Male ‘Preacher’s Wife’

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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”

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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in theology


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Roman Catholic Activists in Rome

Father Roy Bougeois poses with (l-r) Deacon Donna Rougeux, Priests Ree Hudson and Janice Sevre-Duszynska in front of the Vatican, October 17, 2011.

Some senior leaders are willing to pay an enormous price in order that women might follow their calling. Roy Bourgeois was excommunicated and expelled from the priesthood for consistly advocating the ordination of women.  It is ironic that the Catholic Church, the most patriarchal of all churches, finds no theological objections to women’s ordination, just that of tradition.

“It does not seem that the New Testament by itself alone will permit us to settle in a clear way and once and for all the problem of the possible accession of women to the presbyterate. Wikipedia

It would seem that this is also the case with the LCA, given that the CTICR comes to a similar position.

Read the rest of this entry »

Roy Bourgeois tells his story – N.Y.Times


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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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Civil Rights

Black college student Dorothy Bell, 19, of Birmingham, Alabama, waits at a downtown Birmingham lunch counter for service that never came, April 4, 1963. She was later arrested with 20 others in sit-in attempts. (AP Photo) From The Atlantic

This chilling photo records the racism that Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks (amongst many others) were fighting against in the USA.  It is from a series entitled: 50 Years Ago: The World in 1963.

We were not so different in Australia.  In Queensland, South Sea Islanders were blackbirded (perhaps ‘kidnapping’ and ‘press-ganged’ will be understood by more people) into enforced labour in the Qld canefields during the mid to late 19th Century.  They were repatriated in 1906-08 by the Australian government.  Ref: Wikipedia.  It was slavery by another name.   Australians grew wealthy on enforced labour and on stolen land from Aboriginal people.

It’s always interesting to note the religious justifications for racism and slavery, and any injustice.  Women’s marginalisation is no different.

Those of us who work with gifted women, who have sat under the scholarship of women theologians and who have experienced the pastoral care of female chaplains and pastors, are dismayed at the continuing dismissal of women’s ordination in the LCA.  It is every woman’s civil right to be given the same respect as men.  It is difficult to believe that 50 years after the US civil rights movement, and 45 years after Aborigines were granted full Federal citizenship, that LCA women are still deemed lacking for ordained ministry.

What is it that you might do to raise awareness of the lack of recognition of women in the LCA?

Please leave your comment and suggest what people might do to bring about change.

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Posted by on February 23, 2013 in history, women's ordination


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Mike Scott of The Water Boys

There was a time when:

Women were property,
girls were a financial burden,
women could not inherit or own property,
women were considered financially unproductive,

and today in India, foeticide is still evident by the decreasing female:male ratio.

And now, this is time when:

Women are equal but cannot lead at the front of church,
women can lead corporations, but not congregations,
women can speak on behalf of a nation but not on behalf of Jesus,
girls are told to follow their dream, except in pastoral care.

Things have changed but still the hatred of girls and women continues.

It’s time to be open.  Open to the change that is already here.

OPEN – Source

Open to the world
open to spirit
open to the changing wind
open to touch
open to nature
open to the world within
open to change
open to adventure
open to the new
open to love
open to miracles
open Beloved to You

Open to learn
open to laughter
open to being blessed
open to joy
open to service
open to saying “Yes !”
open to risk
open to passion
to peace and silence too
open to love
open to beauty
open Beloved to You

Written: Mike Scott, Taos, New Mexico December 1992
Appears: On “Still Burning”


Posted by on November 25, 2012 in sociology, theology, 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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Pam Hogeweide | Too Hot to Handle: Women in the Church Today

A post you might enjoy from Pam Hogeweide.

Blog­gers like me look to things like site stats and com­ments as indexes of what nerves we are strik­ing in the blo­gos­phere. After hun­dreds of posts over the last five years I can tell you that there are three top­ics that con­sis­tently spike my blog’s traffic:

  • cussing Chris­tians
  • the debate about eter­nal damna­tion and hell
  • the so-​​called con­tro­versy of women teach­ing, lead­ing and being in posi­tions of power within the pul­pit and pew of the con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­can church

It is the third cat­e­gory that is most inter­est­ing to me, and also to my read­ers. Most of my read­er­ship are dis­en­chanted Chris­tians who are sort­ing out what’s really real to them in their faith and what’s dog­matic con­di­tion­ing from reli­gious rhetoric and tra­di­tion­al­ism. The per­spec­tive of women in the church by their men, and par­tic­u­larly the per­spec­tive of women of them­selves is still in the grip of an archaic, hier­ar­chi­cal mind­set that keeps women qui­etly busy serv­ing in the kitchen or the nurs­ery.



Posted by on November 2, 2012 in sociology, theology, women's ordination


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