Friday, March 28, 2014

Christian Piatt has come up with five reasons why, regardless of your denomination, your church’s senior minister not only should be but must be a woman.  They’re all stupid so caveat emptor and all that:

Many people beyond the walls of institutional religion either have bad personal experience with organized religion or harbor a negative perception based on the way religious leaders are presented in the media. It’s not that a woman can’t lie, steal, or commit acts of sexual impropriety the way men do. But seeing a woman in a position of top leadership can help challenge, and even break down, some of those preconceptions for the skeptics among us.

Kind of not the reason why ministers get called to churches anywhere.  And if you want to get nasty about it, Katharine Jefferts Schori, after having never ever been a parish priest, once knowingly allowed a child molester to work in the Diocese of Nevada.

Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund, a regional minister for the United Church of Christ, told me, “As a woman and a feminist, I am more inclined to empathize with other oppressed groups and appreciate feminist, womanist, liberationist theology.” Yes, men can have compassion for people and groups who have been historically oppressed or denied equality, but empathy emanates from shared experience.

Um…what?!!  Everybody knows that the only reason Jozef de Veuster went to Molokai in the first place was because of the surfing.  Yeah, yeah, Father Damien did a good job.  But if the Roman Catholic Church had only been enlightened enough to send a female priest out there, that work would have been REALLY impressive.

Fellow author and ordained Presbyterian pastor Rev. Carol Howard Merritt noted that Christians have cleary been interpreting scripture from a predominantly male point of view for a long time. As such, we run the risk of missing some inherent biases in how we tell and explain biblical stories.

And the gals don’t have “inherent biases?”  I have to admit, Chris 3.1416att, that I’m having a difficult time understanding why I should remain connected to any organization that basically hates me.

A Gallup poll conducted a couple of years ago found that 47 percent of women surveyed in the U.S. claim regular church attendance — compared to 39 percent of men. Author Sarah Thebarge, director of communications at Imago Dei, a nondenominational Christian church in Portland, put it this way: “Most congregations are more than 50 percent female, so [women pastors] have the advantage of being able to identify with more parishioners’ gender.” Having a woman in the lead helps assure women who attend that their pastor understands their daily experiences in a deeper, personal way.

So.  The way to get more men into church pews, or keep the ones who are already there from sleeping in on Sunday mornings and/or start spending their pledges on booze is to communicate to them that their “daily experiences” no longer mean jack squat?

We tend to think of God in traditionally masculine terms, though many churches have made strides by using more inclusive language. Still, actively imagining the more feminine qualities of the Divine is another thing entirely. “A woman minister,” said Rev. Lund, “can offer insight into the feminine image of God that informs the Trinity in both female language for God in the Bible (God described as a mother hen, ancient images of nursing mother God) and in Sophia Wisdom.”

The Rev. Dr. Sarah Lund of the United Church of the Zeitgeist, if you need her.  This, of course, is one of the countless examples of why my default position on anything written by “The Rev. Dr.” Anybody is intense skepticism.

For my part, I’m having a tough time wrapping my elderly brain around the fact that one part of the Trinity repeatedly referred to a second part of the Trinity as “Father.”  But that’s probably because of the Patriarchy and crap.

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