This Christmas, I’m pondering the grittier, truer side of the nativity narrative through the lens of a refugee mother who waits with her children for their dream of liberation. I’m also contemplating the character of a God who rescues even the most marginalized among us.
I am a part of a Christian tradition that has ordained women as elders since its inception during the American Holiness movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The first church in which I ever served as a pastor was founded by a female circuit rider who planted churches across west Texas and southeastern […]
I’ve had many great conversations with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, many of whom disagree with my belief that in Rom. 16:1-7, Paul commends Phoebe as an ordained deacon, Junia as an Apostle, and Prisca as the pastor of a local church (along with her husband). They contend that these women in Romans […]
The other day I happened to go through some old writings from college and I stumbled upon something. It was a reflection I wrote in a Theology class where we had discussed the “texts of terror.” “Texts of Terror” is a term created by Phyllis Trible to refer to four narratives of disturbing violence against women that are depicted in the Old Testament. The class was, understandably, triggering for me. I had never heard these stories before. After the class I wrote a reflection to process.
Can men be pastors? Can Christian men be teachers, preachers, elders, seminary professors, Sunday school teachers, worship leaders, small group leaders, police officers, elected officials, church treasurers, and so on and so forth? How does that line of questioning make you feel? Why does it sound so off, even offensive?
“There were zero women pastors in the Bible and no women apostles. There were no women pastors in nearly 2000 years of church history. Therefore, women cannot be pastors.”
This argument has been thrown at me on a number of occasions. There are a few things to unpack here. What does the New Testament say about pastors? Were there women pastors in the Bible? Were there women apostles in the Bible? Can we determine whether or not the early church had women leaders?
In recent years I have been struck by how feminine communion is At the Last Supper Jesus says, “This is my body broken for you” & “This is my blood shed for you” and all of it is to bring about new life. How similar to what a mother can say to the baby she just […]
What was she doing there?
There, of all places
Why don’t you run, Mary, just run?
Join disciples’ mad dash to self-protection
Bolt…far as you can possibly go
Any reasonable soul
Anyone would understand
Run Mary, leave this harrowing place
No spot, no place in all creation
From which makes more sense to be gone.
An argument often used to restrict women from church leadership is that Jesus spent most of his time on earth investing in a group of 12 men.  But a close reading of the gospels shows that his band of followers also included women disciples. I’ll leave the reader to their own survey but offer […]
“Girls can’t be drummers.” My 3-year-old daughter.
“I had no idea I could be a youth pastor.” A female high school student.
These two statements have had a profound impact on my pursuit of gender equality. Let me start with my daughter.
She and I love to watch music videos together and one morning, we were watching a band with a girl drummer. With the certainty of a toddler, she uttered the statement above that broke my heart a little bit.
She wasn’t sad; she wasn’t feeling excluded. This was just the simple reality for her because she had never seen a woman drummer before. Of course, girls can’t be drummers!
The situation was remarkably similar for that female high school student. Every winter, we hosted a winter retreat for middle school and high school students. Every year, we invited a local pastor or youth pastor to be our speaker for the weekend. And every year, that pastor was a man.
I realized what we had been unintentionally communicating to our students by this choice: girls can’t be pastors. So I decided it was time to invite a female pastor to be our speaker.