Saturday, November 26, 2011

Assumptions about a woman in ministry

Being female and an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church I have found that people assume a lot about me.
~it is assumed that I am liberal in my theology. I have been accused of hating Scripture or when people quote Scripture. In fact here is a quote from someone’s message on Facebook: “Just stating God's word, and liberal preachers don’t like it.” 
            ~Well, I actually read Scripture regularly. I love to study the Bible and hold Scripture in high regard. I want to find where each Scripture fits into the whole picture of the Bible. Most people who consider themselves liberal theologically consider me quite conservative theologically.
~people assume I have a rebellious spirit. I have heard people say anyone who supports women in ordained ministry are in open rebellion.
            ~You are assuming I didn’t spend lots of time in prayer, Scripture reading and study. You are assuming I didn’t struggle with what I felt God was calling me to do. I spent decades studying, praying, fasting, talking to pastors and other Christian leaders.  I tried to do other things. God closed those doors but opened every door into ministry. In the end, I felt I was in open rebellion not following God’s call to ordained ministry. 
            ~You are assuming that I am simply ignoring the “catch” Scriptures on women in ordained ministry. You don’t even consider that I have done studies on these Scriptures and have read Church history on these passages and read scholars from all sides on these Scriptures –and have come to a different understanding than you on them. Yes, we disagree on the interpretation of these Scriptures. I disagree with the conclusions some powerful theologians have come to on these Scriptures. But here is the thing, there are amazing, powerful theologians on both sides of this issue. The Church doesn’t seem to fully agree on this issue. Church history and Biblical history is replete with women in the position of bringing the Good News, preaching, judging, teaching, leading.
Sitting in discussions with most male pastors I find no one assumes where a man stands theologically. Instead they enter into dialogue.  As a woman, I simply ask for the same courtesy. Please don’t assume. 

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