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Monday, August 13, 2007
Women in the Emerging Church
In response to some recent conversations, I posted on my blog over the weekend my thoughts on some on the issues women face in the Emerging Church. (read it here). These are just a few of my impressions based on what I have heard. Please add your own thoughts to the conversation there and help clarify our experience in the EC if you want.

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posted by Julie at 11:30 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 8/13/2007 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous chill24

    thank you so much for sharing some of your thoughts, observations, experiences, etc... on women in the ec. it's helped me in my own wrestling with these issues to realize it's not just me feeling women aren't being taken as seriously (or intelligently sometimes) as men.

    the post on your blog has some great ideas to promote change, not only in the ec but also for women in ministry in general.

    thanks again!

  • At 8/13/2007 03:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Women are not victims. Why are they finding this treatment acceptable???

  • At 8/13/2007 09:34:00 PM, Blogger Nancy

    Amie: I would have to agree. Instead of feeling like or assuming one's self a victim, perhaps it behooves us to provide feedback to those who are being condescending or patronizing. Sadly, I think most men are blind to it and many might be mortified to have it pointed out but how else is it going to change unless it is identified right in the moment (versus blogging about it later)? That is one way to raise consciousness.

    At risk of over-simplification, the other is for us women to stop waiting for permission and just start making ways to get done what we desire to get done. As far as ministering goes, there ARE women clergy and in the EC, there seems a general acceptance of women in leadership, so what's the problem? Don't wait to be asked, just do it (thanks, Nike). If there are systemic issues (for example publishing companies who only support male authors)then we better start our own publishing companies, confront those companies for their discrimination and stop buying their books or seek out women-run companies that promote female authors/voices and build, build, build!

    The bottom line is that you can not wait for any dominant force to stop running the show and be more equitable and so forth...why would they? Women have to stop giving away their power, which is what happens when we put the responsibility for our misery or dissatisfaction on someone else. All anyone can do is change what they themselves do. Those you interact with will either have to change too or get left behind in the dust.

  • At 8/13/2007 10:12:00 PM, Anonymous chill24

    here's my problem - my husband is the pastor (very women leadership friendly) and i struggle with being heard and taken seriously in the praise and worship area (i'm one of the worship leaders). i don't want to be too outspoken when i'm treated differently ( i have in the past and been accused of comparing myself to one of the male worship leaders) and make things hard for my husband. on the other hand, i'm perfectly able to worship and lead others in the process. when i take the reigns on my nights to lead i'm met with resistence. so frustrating.
    i don't think i'm being a victim or weak when i constantly back down - i just don't know any other way to maintain a worshipful atmosphere during rehearsals and the service.

    i wish my situation fell under a simple solution, it's quite complicated when we start bringing in the relationships beween staff and spouses.

    i know i'm not alone in my situation - if someone out there has advice because of experience or just plain insight i'd love to hear it!

  • At 8/14/2007 07:24:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    Chill: I don't think you are being weak or a victim either. Sounds to me like you notice a pattern and you have made choices based on your experience with attempts at confronting that bias you see. Those are legitimate choices given what you have come to know and what is important to you in your situation. I guess the good news is that you are leading worship. The bad news is that some may be resisting you on the basis of your gender. Maybe the trick is to do what you are doing...not continue to confront it directly and avoid further dismissal of your concerns and creating problems for your husband? Meanwhile, you maintain a worshipful environment and hope that over time the resisters will cease their resisting. While it hurts to be doubted for being a woman, in the end we can not control the thoughts and beliefs of others. I suppose it helps when we put it back onto the doubter and not let it slip under our own skin in the form of new self-doubt or self-loathing. YOU know how capable you are and in the end, that is all that really matters...that and the fact that you can and do minister as a worship leader.

  • At 8/14/2007 08:39:00 AM, Blogger ONE VOICE OF MANY

    Chill: I've gone through your situation. My husband was not a pastor at our previous church but we were both worship leaders. That seemed to go along ok while we were both active in the role. At one point, however, my husband did a 3 month tour in Iraq. When he announced that he was leaving, one team member in particular, became immediately frustrated. His comment was was "I didn't sign up for this" - sounding all in a huff.

    I tried to just do what I needed to and behave the same as I normally wound. He wound up "stepping down". This same person has had the same issues in other churches under female leaders so at least I knew it wasn't me personally although it did still bother me a bit.

    At any rate, I do understand your feelings and it's a tough struggle learning how to be a leader without something accusing you of negative behavior. Just don't let it cause you to shrink back from who you are. Be kind and fair and confident.

    Michelle K

  • At 8/14/2007 12:46:00 PM, Anonymous chill24

    nancy and michelle - thank you! i'll keep on keepin' on.

  • At 8/14/2007 08:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous


    That's exactly what I did. I stopped waiting for male permission/approval/validation to speak and teach, and just started doing it. I think that it would be fantastic to focus on solutions and to hold on to our personal power.

    Chill (and anyone interested),

    Firstly, I don't think that it is "weak" to be a victim. To endure maltreatment takes strength, perseverance, and longsuffering. Secondly, it doesn't sound as if you are claiming to not have choices. "Victims" have no choice. Life just deals them the cards that they are dealt and they have no power over it. It is a mental lock inside a cage of helplessness (been there).

    I'm am so very sorry for what you are going through. I couldn't imagine being in that situation and I am so very glad that you posted here. I'm fairly new myself but have found that these women are very supportive and empathetic. I hope that it is as refreshing for you as it has been for me.

    The way that I see it (for what that's worth), is that we do have choices. We can choose to rebel and "counter" react. Usually that isn't so productive since people tend to become more entrenched in their views and defensive - among other things. We can choose to withdraw and do nothing - which gets us no where. Or, we can work together to find some creative solutions.

    I think that Nancy had some great creative ideas. I actually think that you (Chill) are making some tough, but creative choices. You haven't, as Michelle K wrote, shrunk "back from who you are." I'm glad that you're going to keep on, and am glad that Michelle did too. Each time you take the position of leader, you are working creative solutions. It takes time for the world to follow.

  • At 8/20/2007 03:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    It isn't quite as simple as whether women have a right to hold positions in the church. There is a current movement in my church to accept a teaching presented by Mrs Moss that women were created by God 'more susceptible to deception than men' I was stunned by the video (CD) and appalled when elders and pastors accepted this.
    If it were true it would mean that, we women who were created in the image of God (male and female, created He them - Genesis 1, 2) must have been created in the image of a flawed god. I recoil at the thought. They don't seem to see the connection. Genesis 2 "proves" to them that we women are all flawed. Talk about undermining self-confidence and crippling our ability to function.


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