I spent four days last week with over a hundred Pastors and leaders from my own tribe, the Church of the Nazarene. It was excellent, and the general theme was renewal of mind, body and spirit. Chick Yuill was the speaker, and he was not only much needed but also very appreciated.
One of the periods we had, gave us an opportunity to discuss the issue (there isn’t really an issue for me by the way) of women in ordained leadership and a chance to listen and share experiences good and bad. I found the fact that there were clearly many who wanted to take part in this as both refreshing and quite worrying at the same time. This last year has seen our denomination celebrate the centenary of ordaining women. It should really be a talking point, but it is.
Amongst some of the views expressed, it was interesting to hear people’s attitudes and experiences. In the British Isles, we have had a steady increase in women being ordained, but some still have some issues. The over riding attitude I have is this….. we want the best people to be our ministers. I don’t care if they are male or female, and despite some women maybe not being accepted as they would wish (this may not be a male/female issue but all those other reasons like personality etc.), but all I would like is for women to be who they are and not choose to say things louder, more often or blowing a trumpet for any cause. If you are really called to be ordained or lead in any way, then the people will see those qualities for what they are and not be concerned with whether you are a male or female Pastor.
I also want to say to those people who do have a problem with female ministers……… Bye!
Yesterday, I was looking at the Church Times dated 26 Oct 2012. I usually browse through it and often find myself either shaking my head in disbelief at what I read or casting it to one side. Within this edition is an article relating to Hans Kung who took part in the process of Vatican II being put together alongside a certain Dr. Ratzinger. Interestingly, he speaks of the role of women in the Roman Catholic Church. He states:
“….we will have no ordination of women while we have the law of celibacy. That law perpetuates a pagan misogyny, which rejects not only women, but sexuality in general.”
Kung calls for something that applies to all those opposing the equal roles of women and men, he calls for,
“…a better knowledge of the New Testament among Catholics, particularly of the role of women as leaders, and even as apostles, in the early days of the Church…… Jesus was not at all conservative – the opposite was true: he had women in his following. If the Roman Catholic Church were as feminist as Jesus was, we would be in a much better situation.” Instead, we live with the legacy of women being “Pushed out and marginalised”.
When asked what women bishops would bring to the Church, he answers with a single word: “Humanity.” He also concludes the article with the fact that he has enjoyed his stay in London, and says, not least because of time spent over a drink with friends. Gentleman’s clubs are “good for drinking”, he says, “but not for the [eucharistic] supper”.