Some people would like it to be the case that all of the horror of individual specific biblical passages disappears if you just translate them well enough, or interpret them well enough, or use the right hermeneutics. But sometimes the text is itself horrifying. And that doesn't go away with anybody's culturally-cued hermeneutic.
Particularly if you're a girl or a woman, you are taught that you need to protect everyone else by your purity because men and boys are easily sexually tempted. So girls and women have to be responsible for the sexual purity of the whole community, essentially.
There are lots of reasons for women to leave parish ministry, I’d say. Complicated family circumstances and fewer openings because of the implosion of the American church experienced first in the mainline but followed now by the evangelical church, as well, to name two. The bias that blights women’s service is one among them, in my experience.
... the PC(USA) cannot confess sin against LGBTQ people with any integrity. First, this action would not include those Presbyterians who do not feel that they are sinning when they judge the LGBTQ person. Second, people with these judgments are still hurting LGBTQ people in the PC(USA). We are not of one mind in the PC(USA).
My tradition is Reformed, always being Reformed (which is why we tend to protest what is traditional). Coming to a more expansive understanding of marriage is our generation’s experience of reforming our grasp of God and God’s will for us.
I believe the church at its core can also be a place of healing (and it breaks me when it's a place of trauma). We have confession and forgiveness, peacemaking and reconciliation, prayer and offering going back to the earliest days of Christianity. Self-examination and self-giving isn't something we can do without community...
My hope is that we will come to the day that our communities are places where LGBTQ+ people can be fully themselves and fully pursue relationship with Jesus without any hindrances. I wish I knew how long this season of transition will last— but I don’t.
After I finished Wendy Gritter's book and spent some time reflecting on what I had read, I realized that she had chosen a very difficult path. She is now regarded with suspicion by people on all sides. Many conservative Christians believe she has been deceived and has departed from the “truth” of the scriptures. LGBT people like me find it difficult to forgive her involvement with Exodus.
That to me is Her strength, the strength of God. It's not the strength required to shock or kill, manipulate or destroy, but rather the strength required to contain Her creation and the Light of Love for millennia, despite our efforts to usurp and degrade the meaning of All That Is.
And if my son could take the risk, how could I not? I will say it makes a huge difference to have support; I am deeply grateful to the members of GCN who have mentored, inspired, supported, equipped, and empowered me.
I know what it is like to try to “fly under the radar,” keeping silent so people won’t notice the way I speak, trying to avoid the inevitable ignorant questions when people found out I had lived in Egypt: “Did you live in a pyramid? Did you ride a camel to school? Did you like it over there?”
When I write, I am usually writing to the movable middle. Those are the hearts that can possibly change. We will not be able to convince those who are decidedly against homosexuality that they are wrong. But we can build up the group who know it is not wrong by reaching people in the middle.
But let me end by saying even our allies don’t fully understand the insidiousness of homophobia in their churches, their communities, their workplaces, and in our government.
I think the days of being a minister as a career are numbered, even for straight, white men. The truth is that the church is on shaky ground even for those at the center. But the good news is that walking over shaky ground often leads us to find more sure footing with God.
"I continue to find ways to serve the church as I try to be faithful in my love of God and God’s church. I am thankful for the people who are called to ministry inside the church. But most churches are not ready for me to respond to a call as their minister. For that, I am sad.
Last winter at snow camp, a young girl asked me if I would write a song with her. I didn't really feel like it. I was kinda tired and had just pulled a great book off the shelf. It was pretty obvious I wasn't doing anything though, so I agreed. As we talked about what to write, I found the afternoon transforming into a healing session.
I would say I think in that amorphous space of the divine every tradition, every mystic, every person who has touched upon that divinity in themselves and everything else speaks of it with a very similar paradoxical vocabulary. I think in the space of inner quiet we are all full of the same holy intentions.
We were both raised with an awareness of God and our hearts were opened early to that relationship. What a gift to be introduced to that presence. Over the years we have realized even the strongest ingredients that have been added to our soul soup— strict rules, judgment and punishment— have mellowed in the abundance of grace, compassion, and love that have been added since.
We walk in a state now where everything is holy, and there is nothing that can separate us from the miracles offered by the Divine.
My whole life has been about trying to “change the world” but now I understand Jesus to be calling us to obscurity, to changing not the world but our world, by the way we pay attention to those around us.
As we talked, I mentioned that so many women who have left fundamentalism are extremely bitter because they have been so hurt, and their anger comes across almost as a “fundamentalism” of its own—as though they want to “de-convert” people away from faith.
“Exactly,” she responded. “And I have received many emails from people who want me to join them in that bitterness. I’m just not going to. I’m not going to go there. . . ."
In Changing Church I tried to reflect not only racial and ethnic diversity, but also diversity in sexual orientation and Christian denominations. To pursue their calling some of these ministers have overcome obstacles not only of sexism but also of racism and/or heterosexism.
Although we’re of different generations, Diana and I had similar experiences of attending “Rotary Club”-type mainline churches that left us spiritually unsatisfied in our early years, leading us to turn to evangelicalism on our own as teenagers. There we found a more lively form of Christianity and an exciting emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ.
One day I profoundly needed comforting by God, and I needed to be sung a lullaby like a mother and child. So I started strumming around with lullabies in three-quarter time, and then I was thinking of images of God as my Mother, caring for me.
What Christian evangelicals have in common is the conviction that meaningful living requires a direct personal relationship with God, and that the Bible should be taken seriously. But what that means can differ widely, and our social attitudes differ tremendously."
She writes, “God is like a Father, a Daddy, Abba Mia, My Daddy, ”but only in the same sense that God is like a Nursing Mother or Shepherd or a nonparental image such as Intimate Friend, or Guide or Rock or Light. “
She is saddened that so many fear and deny their bodies. "People 'stay in their heads' a lot to protect themselves," she said. "Rhythm gets us in touch with the unconscious and takes us out of our heads.
“Peace is built as men and women learn to have historical perspectives. Uncovering and recovering women’s stories can contribute to a more egalitarian, less domineering world. Stories of ancient women travelers give people today courage to travel. Women’s history is as important for men as for women”
“An old idea that everyone has bought into—I don’t care what part of the church—is the idea that if we believed certain things we’d be safe. In conservative congregations, it means we won’t go to hell. And in liberal ones, it means we’ll be part of a community that’s doing vibrant social action.”
“I think today’s girls are given a great advantage for understanding the sky’s the limit,” she says. “Now if we could only tailor our appetites in the media to reflect more on the beauty of the girl inside, rather than the surface nonsense that gets in the way….”
With a history dating from 1973, we are an international organization of women and men who believe that the Bible supports the equality of the sexes. We are Christian feminists. We are inclusive. We welcome you.
. . . taking the humanity of the Bible seriously in no way undercuts it message, nor should it result in fear that the Bible will lose its power or meaning if we recognize that people wrote it in specific times and places with specific points of view. Of course. But, this has been and continues to be the dividing line among contemporary Christians.