One upon a time, there was a Old Boys Network that made it easier for many clergymen to A) climb the ecclesiastical ladder, B) escape misconduct charges, C) start anew after a less-than-successful experience or D) all the above. In my own 30+ years in professional ministry, I have personally experienced being deceived about a clergyman’s past so that he could “move on” without facing consequences. I have watched brilliant clergywomen being passed over for not-so-brilliant clergymen because the congregation couldn’t imagine a woman in their pulpit. I have heard goodhearted Christians (often other women) say, “We didn’t want to call a female Senior Pastor since we already have a female Associate Pastor (as if we haven’t experienced generations of two men in similar roles.)
But there is a new narrative out there these days.
Lately, I’ve observed clergywomen (and men) recommending women for certain positions, because they are among the most gifted clergy on the planet. I’ve watched women defend their colleagues on social media when the commentary has become misogynistic – and I’m not even talking about your run-of-the-mill trolls. I’ve seen enormous support of women by women in a culture which has often pitted women against each other.
And with that wave of encouragement under us, I leave for Portland, Oregon tomorrow morning to meet my sister Denise Anderson where we are standing as Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly. Our brothers in this endeavor are fine men who are also qualified for this office.
I cringe a bit when Hillary Clinton refers to this being the time for a woman to be elected president. Yes, a woman can certainly be president, but let’s not presume that she (or anyone) should be elected because she happens to be female. Denise and I do not want to be elected because we are women. We pray that the Assembly will discern that we would be the best leaders for such a time as this.
There are some awesome men in my network. Old boys. New boys. Old men. Young men. This is the healthy, holy way.
But I’m especially grateful this week for the old and new girl network. (Thank you, my sisters.)
This post is dedicated to my sisters & brothers at RevGalBlogPals, to which this blog has been connected for almost eleven years.