By Julie Smith
Why do we fear the ordination of women so much? Fear is the only reason I can begin to think of that would keep us from recognizing the need for both men and women in spiritual ministry. I find this fear somewhat odd considering our past. One of our founding fathers, excuse me, founding mothers was a spirit-filled visionary. How did we so easily slip back into the patriarchal traditions of the churches we left?
It’s a question we already know the answer to. Tradition is strong. Forging a new path is hard. Unfortunately, we lost the opportunity to show the way in this regard and now other churches have taken the lead. But it’s not too late! We still have the chance to make new choices.
The reason most often given for not ordaining women is that, (of course we would in North America) the rest of the world is not ready to follow our lead. This has always been the case, though. It is really not the big problem we’re making it in to because in countries where women are not fully valued, the church there will continue to make choices that fit their existing paradigm. They will not have women in ministry until basic changes take place in their culture first.
This leaves the obvious question of why we don’t honor the spiritual leadership through ordination (a sacred setting apart for ministry) of women. It is the elephant in the room that leadership carefully dances around and pretends is not there. The question is not only a problem with our leadership it is a problem with the layperson. It is not only a problem with men it is a problem with women. The reason we have difficulty with this is because the feminine aspect of our planet is wounded. We are all wounded in this regard and so it is an issue for everyone.
The explanation of this wound, or separation is in the beginning of the Bible in the Genesis account of creation. It explains God’s original plan, creating humans in His image—male and female. It doesn’t take long before we see the consequences of our choice to follow the path of good and evil, that we are introduced to the evil of separation. God separates what He had so artfully created, making man and woman, male and female at odds with one another.
Redemption provided a path of healing for the sin problem, which at its core involves a tear between the Divine union of male/female. Paul reminds us of this great restoration of what was once torn when he speaks of the cross and says, “Now there is neither male nor female”. When he talks about circumcision of our hearts he is referring to the cutting away of our sinful natures, which includes separation between one another and the sexes.
What is required of us, what is most needed, is spiritual healing that reaches back to the very beginning of sin when we started seeing one another apart from God, the Male/Female Creator. If you still have a problem with this, read the first few chapters of Genesis over again.
Spiritual healing always begins with submission to the Spirit. Submission requires us to let go of our old way of being and thinking and allow the Spirit to make changes within us. Letting go allows us to open our hearts and minds. We have to be open in order to see things in a new way. When we stay closed, we are kept prisoner by our traditions, our past, and our prejudices. This is not only true of an individual it is also true of an organization.
A new heart and a new mindset are continually needed in our lives and in our church. We will die as an organization if we do not collectively make some new choices.
In closing, I would like to remind us all that the church is feminine. We are the Bride in Revelation, adorned to meet her Redeemer. If we are entering the kingdom as God’s Bride, maybe we should start giving some thought as to what we’re going to wear!
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4311