Eugene Hung is a talented writer and fierce advocate for women. He recently started a new blog –feministasiandad.com – and we can’t get enough! He graciously let us repost this from his site so we could share it with all of you and spread the word about his inspiring new blog. Check it out and give him […]
On the third Wednesday of each month I set up camp in a conference room at the hospital where I work. I set out water bottles, a tray of cookies, and boxes of tissue. I post signs throughout the hallway, and then sit down and wait. As the clock nears 6:00 pm they start to arrive – the surviving spouses of the hospice patients I have served. Sometimes they smile when they see me, other times they make it through the door just barely, a bewildered and tired look in their eyes.
It seems odd that I, a 29 year old with less than 5 years of marriage under my belt, would be tasked with running a support group for bereaved spouses. In reality I do very little to ease the burden of grief. I give group members permission to talk about their loved ones and their loss. I sit and bear witness; sometimes I have to tell myself to stay and be present, and other times I am captivated and drink in their stories.
The latter was the case with a man who attended my group in March. He was old enough to be my parent and then some, but by far the youngest person in the group. He was also the most reserved.
“Do you care if Jesus is a righty or a lefty?” Jasmine Myers asks during a rehearsal for Godspell. She’s just finished showing me the sign language translation she’s created for the chorus of the song “Beautiful City.” “You’re a lefty,” I respond, “Do whichever’s more comfortable for you.” In Still Small Theatre’s upcoming […]
“The devil is among us here at our seminary: women are being told they can preach.”
Those were the first words of a classmate’s sermon in my preaching class. He went on to berate the class with his interpretation on 1 Timothy 2:8-15 for another 20 minutes.
In some seminaries this type of sermon may not have been surprising, but this seminary officially stated that women are affirmed at all levels of church leadership. So, to say the least, I was stunned. But I shouldn’t have been, because when it had been my turn to preach this student had been particularly critical of my sermon and delivery, even going as far as to accuse me of not having prepared or done good exegetical work. While other students had been encouraging in their feedback and constructive in their critiques, he had been unkind and unrestrained with his public criticism.
After he concluded his sermon, there was an uncomfortable silence in the room. Finally, a male classmate spoke up and said gently but firmly, “I don’t agree with your conclusion. I believe the same Bible you do, but I believe that women can and should be pastors. Where is your love for God’s people, for women, and for God’s word in your sermon? You didn’t bring good news to the people of God.”
Another person may have commented, but I honestly don’t remember anyone else saying anything substantive. I do remember that the other two women in the class were absent that day, so my professor, who has a Ph.D. in homiletics and is a preacher herself, and I were the only women there. All the other male classmates looked uncomfortable and sat in silence.
A few weeks ago, the pastoral leadership team of my church (which I am a part) was planning the upcoming sermon series. When asked if I wanted to preach one of the sermons, I enthusiastically said yes. My “yes” to preaching comes out of a deep sense of call to use my voice. I believe that preaching is one of the ways that God has empowered me to serve and minister to others. I didn’t always feel this way about preaching. My journey as a female preacher has been a twisting path, filled with fear and insecurity.
While I was a student in college, I was part of a campus ministry that had both men and women leading and preaching. The female preachers I witnessed were confident and strong speakers who spoke with authority and power. Something began stirring in me – it was a whisper of a question, “Could I ever do what those women are doing?
I was the first woman I ever heard preach. I was 16 years old, and I called it “sharing”. The urge to do so started like a fire in my belly, a small spark at first that was easy to ignore, only to continue to be flamed until I felt as though I would […]
I just spent six weeks with a group of 21 other Air Force chaplains. All 21 were male. I’m a female chaplain in the Air Force Reserves (which means I serve a minimum of about 30 days per year at my base) and the six weeks were spent at a training assignment fulfilling educational requirements. […]
I’m a southern girl, the middle child, one of three daughters in my family of five. My daddy gloried in raising up three, strong-willed women. He taught us early on to assert ourselves, with frequent reminders to never let anyone walk all over us, to stand up for ourselves because we mattered. He believed we could do anything we set our minds to, challenging us and giving his all as he raced us around the go-cart track, pushing us to play our best during family basketball games, never taking it easy because we were girls.
I admired my dad and longed for his approval, and there was never a moment from my childhood, adolescence, or adulthood when I didn’t receive it. When meeting others, he introduced my sisters and me with the pride of an Olympian, placing his arm around our shoulders and smiling down on us, his three gold medals.
Was it then I became an Egalitarian? Did my dad’s ability to see beyond my gender to my soul shape my views on my place in the world?
Today guest writer Jory Micah shares some of her personal story. “I had a realization. As a woman in ministry I could accept ‘my place”‘ or I could dust the dirt off my shoulders, and do my own thing. I left my safe church job and gave up having a salary. My husband, who has always been very supportive of me as a minister, was scared. He wanted me to stay put in my safe church job. He wanted to see me succeed. I submitted to him for two years and I am glad I did, because those two years are my most valuable ministry experience. But, when God told me to go, I could no longer submit to my husband’s mixture of wisdom and fear. I had “holy rebellion” in my blood and Jesus was saying, ‘It’s time to fly, girl’.”
Kate Wallace at BIOLA Chapel Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking in BIOLA University’s student chapel. I was asked to come set the stage for their week of “Gender, Faith, and Culture”. It was such an honor to be there and share what God had put on my heart. It is hard […]
One of my favorite stories is when Jesus healed a man who had been born blind since birth. After Jesus heals him, the religious leaders curse him and declare that he is following a man not connected to God. The man responds with… Why, that’s very strange! He healed my eyes, and yet you […]
It was November 2013. The conference had already started, and I was running late. I walked quickly along the sidewalk with my lunch crew, and we made our way inside. They went straight to their tables, but I wanted to put my coat and scarf away. I walked to the coatroom and grabbed a […]
I used to work for a church that went through the tedious process of changing the church bylaws to allow for the full participation of women in ministry, including in the role of senior pastor. When it came time for a pastoral search, the church sent out a job description containing only masculine pronouns. When I asked why this was the case given that the bylaws allowed for female candidates, I was told that the bylaws do allow for a woman to be hired, but they had decided to hire a man. They were not even taking applications from women.
Recently, I was looking through the website of a friend’s church. The pastoral staff consisted only of men, and all of the numerous online sermons were preached by men. I asked one of the pastors about this, and he assured me that both he and the lead pastor held egalitarian views, and fully supported the equality of women in all levels of church leadership and in the home. He told me some of the logistical reasons for the lack of female presence in their leadership, and said that they have made an effort to have women preach, but haven’t been able to accomplish it yet.
I also went to a worship service at the church of another male pastor I know. He holds to egalitarian theology as well. There was not a single woman present in the leadership of that service. The pastor, associate pastor, scripture readers, and the entire musical worship team were all men. When I asked him about this, he explained some of the logistical reasons for this, and assured me that this wasn’t the case every week. However, it is also true that there is never a week when there are no men up front.
In the case of the first church, they claimed to be egalitarian in their bylaws, but in reality, they are not. They did not even consider a female pastoral candidate, and assured none would apply by the wording of the job description. In the cases of the second two churches, I know these pastors personally, I appreciate both of them, and they have been very encouraging to me and many other people I know.
I don’t really like to identify myself as a feminist. I am – to borrow and slightly modify our priest’s description of herself – an outspoken, straight, white woman with a slightly ridiculous collection of education and degrees. I am somewhat uncomfortable aligning myself with feminism, mainly because feminists have gotten a pretty bad rap from the people in my former evangelical circles. I am, for the record, also still somewhat uncomfortable with saying I have a priest, and that said priest is female.
Saying that I am uncomfortable with those things, however, does not make them less true.
In this personal and moving post, guest author Hannah Helms makes the case that the Church needs a better theology to address the grief and pain of unrealized motherhood…
My husband, Ben, and I were living in my parents’ guest bedroom at the time, in the middle of our first year of marriage. We were both in-between jobs and graduate school and not having any idea what we were doing. However, the prospect of a baby-to-be was so grounding – in the midst of our uncertainty was the promise of new life and a goal for us to focus on. We waited until I was all of eight weeks along before we made the announcement to my entire extended family on the first day of our annual camp out-reunion at the Jedidiah Smith State Redwood Park.
The day after the announcement I woke up with a tiny spot of blood in my underwear. I ignored it, refused to give in to the worry that sat at the edges of my mind. I mentally reviewed all the normal pregnancy symptoms that I could think of. Spotting is normal. Nothing to worry about here.