Sunday, February 19, 2006

Long post, then question, about women in ministry

There's a big post on the ordination of women, among other things, over at rev mommy's Of her former denomination, she says:
I'm glad they've stuck to their guns and against the popular tide of affection in this country, have decided NOT to ordain women. I'm glad that tension exists. Not that I think that they are correct for me, personally, but their decision gives them an integrity. They believe what they believe and they are not afraid to stick by it. And this is admirable.
Later she goes on to say that it's not all sushine and roses for the women in her current denomination, who still experience discrimination, only it's more hidden and subtle. So, I've been chewing over whether it's better to have injustice but integrity, or good intentions but lack of integrity.

I think I've come to the side of the second, because of this that I believe: If a system is built on discrimination and injustice, it necessarily lacks integrity, one definition of which is "soundness or the state of being unimpaired." In a system which is based on the systematic suppression of some people's gifts (whether those people are people of color, women, gays and lesbians, young people, old people or whoever) it seems to me to that it's just not possible to be "unimpaired."

On the other hand, it's the human condition to strive toward integrity and to keep missing the mark. That's why Paul always is doing the thing he would not do, for instance. But I really believe that our call from God is to keep trying to be about creation of the Kingdom, as individuals and as instutions, even if we miss more often than we make it. For me, I know my call and path is to do that from inside the organization, as flawed as it is, as an ordained person.

I've been talking lately to friend who's not called to ordination, though, although she has the training for it. And there's a place for her, too, I know - as a person who loves the church but is not in leadership is in a unique position to be prophetic. Another friend in seminary said that the unordained are like your aunt - they are importnat to you, you love them, you have fun with them, AND your relationship is not all complicated like it is with your mom, so you can take criticism from them better. She wanted to be the aunt to the church for this reason.

And speaking of integrity leads to the question that's been rolling around recently after a conversation last week:
Is true team ministry possible, or is a patriarchal model of hierarchy among the pastorate in a multi-staff church inevitible?
If you have any experience pro or con, I would love to hear about it.

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