True (grit) Confessions

[this is all abstract theorizing and playing around with thoughts- I am not looking at scripture and trying to make theological statements with this….]

I am writing on gender once again over at Intellectuelle. It needs to be a topic to pursue, but even though I am strongly egalitarian in some many ways, I have to confess to you that I am generally appalled by women ministers. So much so, and this based upon their character, theology, and effects, that I am tempted to simply think there ought not be women in senior leadership. That is what I have to confess to you. While at the same time I believe that we have to unleash women from bonds of suppression so they may fulfill their callings and potentials. There is a powerful tension, there, I admit.

Women, when they advocate something, don’t have the dispassion that men are capable of… and I think this is directly attributable to the nurturing and protecting way women think and operate. We always want to embrace attributes that place us in a favorable light, but those things often have a dark side.

Women have a tendency to fiercely protect anything that in under their particular jurisdiction. It is the picture of the enraged Mama Bear or lion when something threatens her cubs. For some of us, our pet projects are our cubs, or “our ministry” …. and any threat to those things become a threat to our very survival. That is why I think it is difficult for many women to cooperate with each other in a high competition environment. You may think what you want, but I’ve seen women get cut-throat mean over very insignificant things. I attribute this to the mothering instinct that comes into play in a womans rule over her environment. Does this enter into ministry matters? I am not really sure… sometimes I have seen it do so.

Recently, not long after the infamous Anne Holmes Redding apostasy, I started reading about Aimee Semple McPherson. I read a great deal on her … and am at something of a loss to encompass the facts. Although I pretty much chalk it up with others of more recent times such as Leroy Jenkins.

I could say alot more, but this is enough for now.

Interesting to listen to the actual preaching of Aimee.

4 thoughts on “True (grit) Confessions”

  1. reading this makes me sad. It’s good you can write honestly, but “I am generally appalled by women ministers.” is an extremely strong statement, and I want to assure you there are many out there with whom you should not be appalled because they are fine women of God, working in teams and alone, providing nurture but also healthy leadership …

    This says something about the church situations you are in … and gender bias too.

  2. Lorna, I know this catches you in where you are, studying to be clergy… and I don’t mean to indict women who serve in clergy as being unChristian, but am greatly disappointed in their use of the ministry. I think you need to give more weight to my use of the word, “generally”.

    I’ve been in a Pentecostal and Charismatic – and before that Presbyterian, experience of Christianity- there have been numerous women ministers to observe and to serve under.

    I have found that they have glaring weakness the more independently they exercise authority. You are sad at what I’ve said, but I am equally sad -I believe, in what I have seen in experience.

    If it makes anyone feel better, ( which I don’t think it will) much of the male leadership has done much that is damaging, too… but I attribute much of this entire problem to unscriptural imbalances in authority and a general ignoring of the lack of charity in us all.

    That doesn’t mean women can’t be in leadership, but there have to be some scriptural caveats on it.

    I didn’t flesh out the post, and I knew that would be troublesome, but I think the strengths of women are in their service of the Church in areas other than leading entire congregations -generally. I find almost all the great women of God had a humbleness that I don’t see in today’s feminist atmosphere. Maybe you see this, maybe you are in a place where that is the norm, but no… that has not been my personal experience. In fact, women ministers can be the most oppressive in preserving their place.

    Gender “bias” is a term I find so broad as to be meaningless in a real sense… especially in a spiritual sense. We all have gender bias if we have gender. And that is the plain truth, Lorna, although I know it is most unpopular to say so. Spiritually, it is necessary to look at two things, one is the Word of God and two, is the outcomes in reality- do they reflect the expected outcome of righteousness? Or do we keep hoping for some different outcome from our continued insistence on our ideology?

    These are hard questions. I know that.

    What I find is that this is such a hot button topic that anyone trying to seek out anything other than the premade lines is going to be in trouble.

    I could go back to ignoring the whole thing, but I sort of started out on this pursuit of trying to figure these things out.

  3. hey it’s good you are able to be open about this – and figure it out.

    I’ve seen pastors (male and female) who are not submitted to God and seem to more Lord it over the congregation that serve- and it makes me sick (not just sad)

    Leadership is about leading, not bullying; it’s about using authority (not abusing it) … what we need is more servant hearts both male and female …

    that’s for sure.

    Bless you as you wrestle with this. And I’d also like to stand in the gap and apologise to you for when women in ministry have behaved in an oppressive way towards you or others. I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive us.

    xx

  4. Your initial reaction made me think. A Lot. I felt very awful that I’d saddened you, because you have a great sweetness of spirit and true sincerity that I appreciate. I wondered whether the experience of an American in church might very different from that of a European.

    It made me retrospective as well in remembering that sometimes in strongly stating a case I have unintentially hurt someone, as I feel happened with you, and other women who want to follow the call of God on their lives – with humility and a good heart.

    I wish you could simply stand in the gap, but it can’t be done, and I don’t know if it should. It is more than some women, it is women and men in a system. And I have to work out my hurts, as we do all…with God’s grace which is sufficient. I am thankful for your heart and love, though.

    Sometimes when I am very angry over issues that come up in delving into the insides of topics such as ‘women in the church’ I begin to realize how I hid my head in the sand for so long and just tried to ignore it and move on. As though I was thus disconnected from a hurt body. But I was hurting with it, and just unaware. My anger always tells me that there is something not dealt with properly, and I have to be careful how I express it.

    Your reflection was a splash of cold water, and I am so sorry for making the brush broader than I ought. You know how ocean fishing nets sometimes catch and harm dolphins? Like that.
    I appreciate your thoughtful reaction- it truly affected me.
    I have to remember that looking at issues in the Church often requires surgical tools and not bludgeoning ones. heh.

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