Sitting in the stands of the Alamodome Wednesday as the discussion of ordination took place, Chris Blake, associate professor of English and communication at Union College, spoke with several women in attendance to get their thoughts on the proceedings. Ten women's responses are below. -Ed
“Knowing in the midst of chaos the God of my heart holds me in embrace, and promises that He who has called me will continue to lead and guide me. That I’m not alone, that the misogynist speeches reflect the speaker, not me—although it’s hurtful to hear.” —Kirsten Øster-Lundqvist, Newbold, England
“I want to go with Jesus. Maranatha.” —Marlene, Marie-Audice, Martinique
“That God has walked with me and this church, and His Spirit will not leave us, if we humble ourselves to His will. He has brought me through many hard times and will continue to be with me.” —Donna Bacon, Montana, USA
“Jesus Christ is the head of the church today, just like every other day. As Adventists, we agree on far more than we disagree about. This is not a fundamental belief; therefore it should not have power to divide us.” —Brenda Dickerson, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
“I grew up in Poland; however I never felt limited by my gender. I grew up in a home where I was taught that I can achieve anything in the church and outside it. I was taught this because my parents believe in a God who is limitless. God can overcome any limitation. That’s why I know that if God wishes, He will use His daughters in ways we can’t even imagine. “Be strong and courageous.” —Anna Radosh, Warszawa, Poland
On the Discussion on the General Conference floor Wednesday:
“The discussion was heated. Both sides made good points, and I’m sticking to my belief that women should be ordained.” —Brittany Zambrano, Houston, Texas, USA
“This is so divisive, it’s good to hear from people. But the GC Executive Committee should be praying and fasting to make the decision on their own. And if they have no clear decision, they should wait on God.” —Dorothy Alai, Calgary, Canada
“If we’re not going to allow women to go through the ordination process, we should not require them to go through graduate studies in the seminary. There is value in women being ordained, because women can get into places—such as dealing with domestic violence—where men cannot go. Women need the support of the church. —Arlene Foster, Conyers, Georgia, USA
“It was a fair discussion. I don’t think anybody said anything offensive. To me, the grounds for wanting to ordain women are not strong enough. —Pinky Omotoye, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
“The discussion was not representative because of the limited amount of time available—principally because of unwarranted points of order. So, I’m frustrated right now. —Buffy Halvorsen, Ohio, USA
So, the first person they quote uses a negative epithet to describe those who viewed the matter in a different light than she did. That’s not very helpful. She expects us to believe that all those who opposed WO in the speeches hate women? Give me a break. For the unenlightened that’s what the word “misogyny” means: hatred of women.
This kind of language dos not foster unity or understanding between those of different viewpoints.
And the comment (near the end, of course) by Pinky Omotoye (“It was a fair discussion. I don’t think anybody said anything offensive. To me, the grounds for wanting to ordain women are not strong enough."); was it also misogynistic?
As you like to say, the truth can have a voice. I concur with what you quoted of course. This is a well known fact. The problem is a deep seeded human legacy-long bias against women. This is culture through and through. The bible was in no way immune to this, but you won’t agree with that. Fear was the majority rule on this day. Barely a majority, but a majority.
The HS has nothing to do with this vote unless you think the HS is ineffectual on > 40% of church leadership.
Those women have a social bias that makes them think they are inferior. At best they misunderstand ordination and should not be voting on its’ application.
You said, “The problem is a deep seeded human legacy-long bias against women. This is culture through and through. The bible was in no way immune to this.” The implication is that the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Bible writers, participated in bias against women. But if that’s not what you meant, OK. It’s just what I got out of it.
I know plenty of women who don’t think they are inferior, yet they are still opposed to WO. So, unless you know all the women who are opposed to WO, and they’ve indicated their feelings of inferiority, your assessment is unfair.
the kind of voting we saw yesterday does not foster unity or understanding between those of different viewpoints…misogyny and gender apartheid are certainly what headship advocates are promoting, whether they want to call it that or not…
Please explain to me how someone who, from a sincere desire to remain true to Scripture, opposes WO, is thereby guilty of hating women? It makes no sense. Certainly the women who believe this way don’t hate the other members of their own gender; yet proponents of WO keep accusing everyone opposed to WO of misogyny–hatred of women. Ludicrous. Have we finally stepped through the looking glass? We can’t even have a reasonable discussion anymore without accusing each other of hatred, bigotry, or whatever? Whatever happened to not judging, a principle so highly prized here at Spectrum? None of those who are impugning the motives of those who are opposed to WO, can know that is in their minds and hearts.
First off, anonymous Birder, it is one person–I--who found the quotes, not “they.”
Second, she didn’t say “all those who oppose WO in the speeches hate women.” Far from it. She said some speeches were misogynistic. Vast difference.
As for the implication that the first quote was “not very helpful”–too bad. Those are her honest impressions.
And as for the implication that the comment “(near the end, of course)” was placed there deliberately–well, no. This is simply the order in which I asked the women. I had no idea what they would say. If I had to choose where to place my most important quote, I’d place it at the end. Thus, your complaint is doubly mystifying.
Everyone got fair play. So, really, what are you complaining about? That someone said something you didn’t like?
pici, i think you and probably most headship advocates mean well…but you are not seeing the full picture of what you are promoting…misogyny, in its colloquial sense, is not necessarily cold, hard-hearted hatred towards women, to the point of shooting every woman in sight…it merely refers to any outlook or practice that systematically discriminates against women because they are women, even when there is no harshness or violence, and these women are complicit…
but let me explain to you a little about the infamous apartheid system in the south africa i was born into - mercifully wiped off the face of the earth today, but only after focused world intervention - because i think it bears an eery resemblance to the male headship you and others are promoting…in fact when i see male headship, i see gender apartheid…i actually think it’s possible i’m so against male headship at least in part because of my firsthand knowledge of apartheid…
south africa’s apartheid was a system ostensibly based on the premise of “separate, but equal” - apartheid is actually afrikaans for “apartness”…it taught that whites and blacks were designed by god for different purposes, and that segregation facilitated that design…it also taught that whites were more representative of god than blacks, and that for this reason, all whites held natural headship and authority over all blacks…as a child in
sub-a (roughly the equivalent of n. america’s grade 1), i can remember being taught the pyramid of divine authority, in which god was on top, angels were next, whites were next, asians and mixed races were next, blacks were next, and apes were on the bottom…in actual practice, all of this meant that the color of one’s skin, together with facial features and hair texture, mattered more than any other consideration…it was quite beside the point if one were obviously gifted, but black, because being black meant that god never intended one to use that gift, or be in any position of authority or privilege over a white person…therefore opportunities reserved for whites were not owed to blacks…blacks weren’t called to ever exercise the benefits of those opportunities…
many whites, after several national confiscations of black tribal lands, hired dispossessed blacks to work their annexed lands, thinking they were doing these blacks a great favor because they housed them, and in most cases clothed them, and at least partially fed them…there was sometimes, although not always, friendship between white landowners and their black workers…not a few tribal blacks were content with this arrangement for a time…none of them could read, or think analytically, and they trusted that their white landowners had their best interests in mind…for christian whites, the prevailing biblical view was that ham was cursed by god, but that it was up to japheth to honor god by looking after ham, his brother (never mind that it was canaan who was cursed by noah, but of what importance is biblical accuracy when a system is working for those who matter)…the fact that another human being, made in the image of god, was being systematically denied the right to develop his talents, and be a landowner or an active participant in shaping the laws of the land, never occurred to any of these whites…their religion had settled the fact that whites were born to rule, and blacks were born to serve…any evidence that a black person had extraordinary ability, but that a white person had mediocre ability, was irrelevant…the point is a white person was ordained by god to rule over all others…a black person was ordained by god to serve…
i’m not sure when this equilibrium of oppression and acceptance shifted into resistance…certainly be the time i was born, when people had access to radio and tv, and began to understand the reality of their abuse, there were constant flare ups…most whites were secluded in opulent isolation, and never really understood, or thought there was any point in understanding, the cause of black unhappiness…i can recall stories of white farmers shooting blacks on sight, and then getting off in a court hearing after explaining they believed they were shooting wild apes…black on black murder was common - the disdain blacks routinely received from whites transferred insidiously to one another…this was interpreted as one more evidence that blacks couldn’t rule themselves, which in turn affirmed the moral correctness of apartheid…there was no chance you could convince a boer - a white, generally dutch, farmer - that his kind treatment of his black servants, which kept them in systematic subjugation, was evil…he was following paul’s counsel to masters to give to his servants “that which is just and equal”, colossians 4:1, and was therefore enjoying the blessing of god…any disruption of his self-perpetuated felicity was obviously the work of satan, and proponents of the strange notion of racial equality were unbiblical heretics under the delusion of evil…
when i see headship women protesting that they are happy, that they have no ambition to be ordained when there is clear evidence of their calling, and that they accept their submissive role to the men in their home and church when they can see they have more natural ability than these men, i see older south african blacks who loved their white masters, and who lived and died peacefully under their care, never understanding that they had talents to develop…when i see headship men insisting that only they can be ordained, that only they can manage a church (never mind egw’s counsel that women are sometimes better managers of churches than men, but of what importance is scriptural accuracy when a system is working for those who matter), i see white afrikaners asserting the god-given order of their rule, completely oblivious to the fact that it is a human being that they are effectively forcing into undeveloped submission…
there is no question in my mind that male headship is a vast delusion that has swept through conscientious segments of our church…the male domination aspect of headship theology accords well with the misogyny that characterizes historic heathen cultures in africa and south america, and so there is natural synchrony between n. american headship theology and third world adventism…because this male domination also characterizes biblical culture, and it is evident that many wo proponents are in step with secular first world culture, well-meaning people lap it up as one more lesson from the sermon on the mount, never giving it a second thought…they are following a literal reading of the bible, whereas wo proponents are employing hermeneutics that effectively unravel every concept of vital doctrine…this cements their case that they are right, and those who disagree with them are wrong and lost…
i’m not sure what it will take to open the eyes of god’s people on this subject…at the moment we have an iron-clad equilibrium between willing headship men and women, an entire third world, clear evidence that many wo proponents are only partial adventists, and various ministries and popular speakers who certainly know how to keep the vigilant, heroic fight against apostasy going…i’ve concluded i can only leave it in god’s hands…like with white afrikaners, domination and control is never going to be taken away from headship advocates through reason because they are blind to the evidence against it…i will say i am encouraged by the gradually increasing yes votes on wo in successive general conferences…but like the actual racism, in the form of regional conferences, in our church, headship theology is a complex, intertwined problem that appears to have an everlasting grip on adventism…i don’t believe anyone has the skill to present it in its true, distorted ethos…my feeling now is that headship, curiously, is a last-day illusion that has real provenance with our pioneer past…therefore those devoted to the vision of that past may never see through it in this life…it’s sad, but it’s the reality we are facing…
I almost never read any comments longer than a dozen lines but I read all of your comment Jeremy and would encourage others to read it as well. Your personal perspective brings the stark reality of male headship into the light and shows it for the denigrating theory that it is and the real harm that it may yet cause.
Thank you for this insightful comparison. Here in America the same arguments were made for the morality of the slave system. I too wish anti WO could grasp how their method of reasoning matches that of Southern Americans and their slaves. I know it has been shared here and other sites, but few on the anti side want to seriously consider it. Another expression of the fear lengths anti WO will go was found in Doug B’s comments on the floor. He said with all the gender confusion today we can’t allow WO. Astonishing conclusion! The pulpit is the one place that preserves gender distinction, the bastion of truth about gender! That is how insane the anti WO conclusions have become. How can one expect to reason with that?
Thanks for the clarification. It was not absolutely clear from the quote. Given the tone here, it was also easy to assume that the one positive response was placed at the end deliberately. I apologize for jumping to conclusions.
That’s like saying someone isn’t racist; only their speeches are racist. Illogical. The implication was clear. If one’s speech is racist or “misogynistic,” it’s pretty certain the the one speaking is speaking out of the “abundance of their heart.” But I don’t agree with these interpretation of the speeches. From the many comments here over the years, it appears that most of the proponents of WO believe that the mere opposition to WO is misogynistic, which is ludicrous, of course, since many women also oppose it. Were their speeches also misogynistic?