Women, Ministry, Satire, and Stereotypes

I read today a satirical article off of Sojourners that I think is worth a look. It is called “10 Reasons Why Men Should Not be Ordained For Ministry” and can be found at (http://sojo.net/blogs/2012/04/30/10-reasons-why-men-should-not-be-ordained-ministry#.UYlZtoUaEeY.facebook). The list is as follows:

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.

8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.

7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.

5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.

4. Pastors need to nurture their congregations. But this is not a traditional male role. Throughout history, women have been recognized as not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are prone to violence. No really masculine man wants to settle disputes except by fighting about them. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was betrayed by a man. His lack of faith and ensuing punishment remind us of the subordinated position that all men should take.

1. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the church roof, and perhaps even lead the song service on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.

I enjoy satire as much as anyone, but let me get serious fr a moment. The list is ludicrous and no one would ever take it seriously; it is based off of broad stereotypes that are really pretty faulty. Though no one would make such a case against men in ministry, it is often the same types of arguments that are made against women. Apart from the obvious , is because we have a tendency to look at someone as gender first, person second. But the truth of the matter is that people are people first, apart from how their gender typecasts them. 

Fact of that matter is, there are many women I know who are far more qualified to be ministers than I. I’ve heard them teach and they’ve challenged me; I’ve seen their heart and they’ve inspired me. To say that their gender disqualifies their passion for ministry, heart for people, ability to communicate, conviction of preaching, and love for Christ is troubling. And if we look at women gender first, then that’s the conclusion we’ll arrive at. 

I know there may be some hoops to jump through exegetically, but here is what I know: 1st century and 21st century roles of women are different. And we need to evaluate what we read in scripture as it was influenced by culture. That said, I don’t have the answer. There are a lot of people wiser than I on both side of the issue. But I know that there are plenty of qualified women that I know, and first century culture shouldn’t diminish that.

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