Thursday, March 15

The Church: Irreverent Towards Women?

I just completed a Culture Watchin' assignment with my friend, Ellen, in my Fuller MAGL cohort. I figured it was spicy enough to share a splice of it with you. Our assignment was to "partner up" with someone in our cohort, and follow the news , tracing a theme in culture, and analyzing it according to the changing post-modern landscape, and the implications it may have for the Church. (I appreciate Fuller because they've always taught us to pray with the Bible in one hand, the newspaper in the other.)

Our paper was entitled "The Post-Modern Working Woman in Positions of Power: A Clarion Call to the Church."

Here are a couple of the recent articles we analyzed:

NY Times:
Women Feeling Freer to Suggest 'Vote for Mom'

Washington Post Online Blog Discussion (generating +200 comments!):
Have Women Fared Well or Badly in the World's Religions Down Through the Ages? Why?

(And the one that makes me want to either scream or cry...)
Dallas Morning News: Baptists at Odds Over Removal of Female Professor

To spare you all the bloody details, here is our conclusion:

In the shifting landscape of twenty-first century America, it is clear that our culture is now desirous of women having some part in the systems of power. The emerging independency and power-inclusion of women is evidenced through the political campaigning of Hillary Rodham Clinton, the unabashed motherly persona of Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, as well as Sam Rodgers' NY Times report that the majority of U.S. women are now living without a spouse. It seems we are living in changing times in the attitudes of women, and in the acceptance of women into leadership roles. However, when it comes to the question of gender equality in church leadership, articles such as that of The Dallas Morning News and the Washington Post's online blog question on women and religion reveal a growing chasm between Church and Culture. In the present shift to a post-modern world, where partnerships, egalitarianism, and many-layered voices are valued, the American Church must be prepared to reexamine and reform her theology of women in leadership, and the cultural biases that often underscore these theologies. Without such a pointed reformation, the Church risks growing increasingly more irreverent towards women as human beings, as well as being irrelevant to a culture which demands much more equality.

It was especially fun working with Ellen, because she works in a Vineyard church where they freely call her "pastor"!

"This is a historic moment - for the Congress, and for the women of this country. It is a moment for which we have waited more than 200 years. Never losing faith, we waited through the many years of struggle to achieve our rights. But women weren't just waiting; women were working. Never losing faith, we worked to redeem the promise of America, that all men and women are created equal. For our daughters and granddaughters, today, we have broken the marble ceiling. For our daughters and our granddaughters, the sky is the limit, anything is possible for them."
-Nancy Pelosi's words from her 2006 acceptance speech

(Betcha didn't know Nancy P. used to be a D'Alesandro! We might be related. Thanks to Wiki for the Pelosi picki.)


lisa said...

My favorite line in the article about the seminary proff who was let go for her gender was "The administration was patient with her..." That was too funny! I have to think it was she who was patient with them.

jenelle said...

I know, I know, Lisa. I think it says a lot about her character that she left quietly and didn't sue them. To get tenure and then have it taken away? She'd bought a house there and everything...

Jesse said...

hey nelly, thanks for the love about the site! i am so happy to have it up...i am cranking out cajons right now and planning on getting some djembes going soon too.
love you and miss you!
any news on possible africa this summer?

cari said...

Yeah. Sorry, I wish I had something intelligent to say. Good post though. This pastor named Teresa counseled me through some stuff a few years ago, she's super rad, and now she has her own church. I am so happy for her, because people have been so anti about it.

Is your studying getting done? I am messed up Nelly. I love some of here, and other things really mess me up. I am starting to get really afraid about this summer, not having good friends home and a church to connect with, not having a spiritual family. Maybe I will hitchhike to Maryland and visit you on my way to the Appalacians.

Please pray that he loves us more than the sparrows, and pray that we believe him, and pray that he humbles me and teaches me how to be with him in this place. And pray that he's not mad at me for being so self-righteous and immature.

love and peace and a bear hug to you!

Rach said...

the issues of irreverance towards women and irrelevancy in American culture are HUGE- no doubt. this issue is dividing the church in major ways- but also, i think it is breaking the church down from the inside out- so much more wholeness could and would abound with women in leadership...don't you think?
we need men AND women leaders...both created in the image of God, both manifesting God's divine nature in different ways. such healing could happen.

Jenelle said...

Thanks for stopping by, Rach, and thanks for your rich thoughts.

Yes, these issues are outrageously huge, and are ineveitably divisive. I'm with you, I think so much healing could occur if we invited men and women to lead in partnership. Perhaps then, parts of the Body would awaken from her sleep.