I find unconvincing the reasons people give for why women should not be ordained pastors or priests. For each reason, I can think of a corresponding reason a person might argue men should not be ordained.
A few years ago, I found a list of reasons why men should not be ordained. I posted the list on facebook this weekend, and I received a great response. I thought I’d post it here to provide a forum for folks to respond in greater length than what is possible on facebook.
These reasons are, of course, meant to be humorous. But they wryly reveal flaws in reasons Christians give for why women shouldn’t be pastors or priests.
Ten Reasons Men Should Not be Ordained Pastors
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.
7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.
5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.
4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change the oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.
1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.
I sometimes take for granted how great it is to be a member of a denomination — the Church of the Nazarene — that affirms women in all levels of ministry.Since its inception more than 100 years ago, women have officially been accepted as equals to men in ministry.
Of course, some local Nazarene congregations don’t do well at inviting women into pastoral leadership. The practice of some churches does not correspond with the denomination’s official affirmation of women in ministry. But I remain hopeful that changes are coming that will rectify these oversights.
I’m especially interested in hearing any constructive or strategic suggestions for how Christians in any particular community might encourage congregations to affirm women in all levels of ministry leadership.