why sometimes i get sad

inequalitylast month a mainline pastor from a small town outside of denver got in touch with me to see if i would be willing to come speak to their high school’s baccalaureate service in may.  they were looking for a female pastor, someone who would inspire the kids & open up some doors that hadn’t been opened previously by some of the standard baccalaureate sermons/messages.

i really appreciated his enthusiasm & desire to press the envelope a little (and the date worked for jose & i to go together & have a fun night away afterward) so i said yes.

yesterday i got an email from him letting me know that unfortunately when the other pastors and leaders found out that a female pastor was speaking, they banded together to reject the idea.  they said they couldn’t listen to someone they didn’t agree with and strong-armed a very conservative evangelical into the spot instead.

his email was so kind, and he was so sad that his hope got hijacked.  he tried to fight the good fight and just couldn’t make it happen.  i ended up talking to him on the phone just to make sure i was clear what he was really saying and didn’t misunderstand.  i asked, “so, is it really just the woman pastor thing or is it about my beliefs or ?”  he said that the woman thing was definitely the main issue, the deal breaker, and anything that remotely is connected to the word “emerging” was just icing on the cake.

we had a nice conversation & i really felt bad for him, really.  it’s a drag when you can see a different way & have hope for what could be and tradition & power sucks everyone back under.

for me, it’s now just one less thing to do in a busy month.  but, it hurts.  it just does.  it’s hard to not have it hurt.  one of the reason is it’s not one isolated incident.  it comes upon a long string of these over the years that get really tiring and discouraging.

the system is broken, my friends.  it truly is.  it’s so easy for people to think that we’ve come a long way but everyone needs to know how far we still have to go.

the insidious-ness of gender inequality is ugly.  and deep.  in the big scheme, it has nothing to do with baccalaureate speakers.  it has everything to do with power & oppression & stripping women of their dignity & silencing voices that were created by God to speak, to create, to dream, to inspire, to partner, to nurture, to build, to love freely.

so, that’s why i’m a little sad this week.  a little beat-up, a little burned out.  a little sick to my stomach.

and very grateful that i never, ever feel this in my community or in my marriage or with those on the fringes.   i am so thankful. they help me hold on to hope.  men & women alongside each other as equals is a beautiful thing.

107 Comments

  • I am sad that they will be missing a faithful, creative, gracious, loving servant of God who practices the kenosis of Christ. Praying that a new Day will break into day. Amen.

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      • Kathy, I finally got on here. I am ashamed of myself. Anyway, well, now I need a drink and a blood pressure pill and I don’t even have high blood pressure. You know that this gets my blood boiling. Why have males, especially white males always dominated. It runs deep; very deep. Of course, there is the Fall, but then an often overlooked tidbit in Genesis 6 that sounds like something from a Sci Fi flick. I have read and watched some documentaries on the Nephilim and the “giants in the land”. Historians and scientists have some amazing archaeological evidence. The Raphaim or giants were blond -haired, blue-eyed males and very very misogynisitc. The other humans inhabiting the Earth at that time were most likely darker skinned. And so we add another dimension; white against brown. I have left out alot of details, but I found this so intiguing. It runs deep, very deep. Redemption is a slow process and evolution of mankind even slower.

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  • So now women are not allowed to speak at high school baccalaureate services? *sigh*

    Pretty soon the nursery will be off limits.

    Sorry Kathy. This makes me sad too. I share in your sadness and will lift a drink tonight in solidarity with you.

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    • My sister is a female chaplain and an ordained minister. She runs into this all the time, and it makes her crazy.

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    • Kathy, this sounds a frustrating and painful experience. In the UK we have a similarly mixed picture vis a vis gender inequality in leadership. I have a double edged concern though, not only about continuing discrimination against women but regarding ordination itself. I’ve blogged a lot about this. So much so that people think I have an ‘anticlerical thing’. This is a fairly typical example: http://radref.blogspot.com/2008/12/give-up-your-vicar-for-lent.html

      You are so right that the system is broken. I believe though, that now Christendom is fading we have the best opportunity possible to do leadership differently, where women and men can collaborate as equals wihout feeling they need to join a special ordained, priestly caste to do so. I very much hope that the doors open up for you and take you to joyful and surprisng places. Shalom, phil

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      • You are so right that the system is broken. I believe though, that now Christendom is fading we have the best opportunity possible to do leadership differently, where women and men can collaborate as equals wihout feeling they need to join a special ordained, priestly caste to do so

        I love that you said this, Phil. My thoughts as well….

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      • phil – thanks for sharing & i really do agree with you that so many of our hierarchical systems naturally promote inequality. it’s why for me personally i am not a fan of processes that separate lay and clergy and rob people of being empowered fully and freely. i haven’t had a chance to really write this in a post but i have this wild idea of what the christian world would look like if we shut down paid seminaries for at least a generation, what would emerge. i know that wouldn’t be too popular but i have this funny feeling a whole new kind of equality and freedom would eventually emerge.

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        • Kathy, that’s a wild and wonderful thought. Shutting down our seminaries would terrify academic as well as ecclesiastical hierarchies. It might however prove to be a Post-Christendom jubilee. It’s an insight that many of us involved with emerging churches or fresh expressions of church have been wrestling with for a while – but for a church to be truly culturally relevant we’ve as much to unlearn as to learn. One of our key areas of ‘unlearning’ is tied up with shaking the vestiges of Christendom from the way we do leadership. No ‘restoration’ solves the issue relating to power, status and loss of mutuality in the church forever, but it’s a healthy practice to break up the ground from time to time.

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    • jeromy – thanks my friend, kind of wacky, eh? pretty sure the nursery won’t be off limits because most of those guys definitely wouldn’t want to do that work. thanks for the drink in solidarity with me, too, it was really cute because i haven’t had one in 17 years & sometimes these are the moments i could really use one! glad you enjoyed one for me 🙂

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  • So sorry, Kathy. I remember a visiting family walking out of our church when they found our pastor was away and his wife was speaking. I was shocked, had never seen that before. AND it’s still happening years later. So sad. Supporting you in prayer. Don’t lose your dreams.

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    • thanks, sue. i have heard of that same thing happening. one of the interesting things was they said “i can’t listen to someone i can’t agree with” – how sad that is…i listen to all kinds of people i don’t necessarily agree with but believe that despite our differences there’s always something to learn. thanks for your support.

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  • I honestly believe that this issue and the treatment of homosexuals will be the final nails in the evangelical coffin. I just don’t understand their obsession with maintaining the what has become a prudish boy’s club. I have to assume it’s about challenging their power and protecting their hegemony.

    Their position on these issues is ludicrous on every conceivable level. I am certain that their inability to accept women as equals is cultural and not found in Scriptural. I’m inclined to think the same with regards to homosexuals. They’re rapidly trying to create a boogeyman to rally the troops and missing the fact that they’re simply tilting at windmills.

    This is my first time to your blog and even I’m sad for you. However, perhaps there is some solace to be found in the fact that animals often strike out vociferously just before succumbing to death. Let’s hope that this mindset goes quickly and that we’ve seen the worst of their crying.

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    • thanks, sean, for taking time to share & care. it sure will be interesting what the next 20 years will bring. i think the last gasp for breath is going to be ugly….

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  • Happy to be on the fringes with you, pastor. This should brighten your day: Someone labeled me a liberal today (theologically). I don’t know if I should be insulted or proud, since I have no idea what he means by the word. But it’s the first time I’ve ever been called that, so I thought it was somewhat historic.

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    • the L word, eh? i’m pretty sure it was an insult to be proud of…most every one of my L-friends seem to be living out their faith in really simple, wild, and beautiful ways that feel so…Jesus-y…that’s you, my friend, that’s you. aloha.

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    • thanks, jenn. makes me wonder but yeah, i can’t imagine God going “yeah, we won one for the team! we held the line & took a stand against equality, good work everyone!”

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  • Kathy, I am sad and angry for you. Honestly. Even though we have yet to meet, I never miss you posts and have told friends that you are my pastor. Love you, my friend. Hug from across the mountains.

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  • Kathy, this situation leaves me sad and angry. I regret that I was once involved with people who are as closed minded as these so called” leaders” in this community. The system is sooooo broken. This really keeps me frustrated… and realizing that I need to continue to speak out when given the opportunity
    .
    I’m just sorry that once again you are faced with this injustice, you don’t deserve to be treated this way. (kind of makes you want to drink that extra glass of wine : ) )

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    • thanks, john, and yes, your voice is very strong because you do know what it was like on the other side & what you are learning through change. that’s why i respect karl & many others so much, too, friends who make the shift & say “what were we thinking?” i say that, too, “what was i thinking, buying into that system for a good chunk of years?” thankful for change & healing & good friends-who-stick-up-for-us. love to you, my friend.

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  • I’m so sorry, Kathy. Uggh. Thanks for continuing to be courageous against what can be a strong current in the other direction.
    BTW, great new look for the blog! I’ve read your last few by email, so I guess I missed the switch. Hugs!

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    • thanks, christen, for your love & support & faithful carnival-going. it is so wild how beautiful friendships can be born from this place

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  • Someone ought to make sure the kids know what happened. I’d guess the chances are high that they might protest. “A little child shall lead them…”

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    • rebecca – it’s interesting, i have a feeling the kids weren’t too involved in this decision and probably have absolutely no idea.

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  • So so sad to read this; how heart-breaking! God gave you amazing gifts and smarts and a voice. The fact that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are blind to God’s gifts is a tragedy. Women are just as important a part of the Kingdom of God as men, and should be able to have the same voice and rights. I’m very sorry to hear this. Thank you for continuing to share God’s love and not to lash back at these people. The fact that you can feel sorry for them instead of hating them shows that your heart is full of God’s love.

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  • Wow. What year is this?

    I can’t believe that this is happening in this day and age, that these individuals are even willing to admit this bias towards a female pastor. I am so sorry for you.

    I would wish that these individuals could know that strength and grace and love having nothing to do with what sex organs you are born with.

    Love you!

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    • thanks, karla, for being here & “getting” what those who have been around the church for a long, long time sometimes often don’t. you are a beautiful gift to our community & i’m so glad you are here.

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  • Hi Kathy, I came to your site from Rachel Held Evan’s tweet just now. You’re right that the system is broken, and it is sad and I’m sorry you had to be at the brunt of it this week. It’s funny (or coincidental anyway) that the blog post I read just before yours had me really buoyed about the direction of gender equality among Christians. Maybe it can give you hope anyway, that pockets of progress are being made. This is the post, from a Christian leader in the UK called David Westlake: http://wp.me/pMlVu-5M

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    • thanks for sharing this alisha. really good & so true. one time years ago we were talking about when the guys have the kids, it’s not “babysitting” but sometimes we refer to it that way, because somehow it seems like a “gift” instead of just the way 2 teammates work together alongside each other, sharing the responsibilities equally. good post.

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  • Kath i’m with you on this, you know that.

    This doesn’t make me sad, it pisses me off and is just another episode in this long running soap opera that will never end. It’s never going to change, the boys club is large and in charge. Anything you get is just crumbs off their table. They run the churches, the publishing companies, the happening large project events, etc, etc. I’ll hold my opinion about “staying in” the church and trying to change it because I’ve promised you that I’d be nice…but that’s a bunch baloney. If you were rejected because of your race, there would be a crowd around those churches with signs and cameras tommorow. We care about you, we are shocked, we stand with you; just not enough to stop going to those churches, listening to those pastors, or buying those books. I don’t feel sorry for you, you’ll be ok. I feel sorry for your pastor friend for being so naive and failing to recognize the moral condition of his colleagues. I’m curious to see if he’ll call this what it is, bigotry, or will he just go away quietly and agree that it’s a theological difference. I don’t know this cat but tell him to preach this sermon from the front, otherwise in my opinion he’s just on their side.

    “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.”
    — Elie Wiesel

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    • yes, john, i believe you are 100% right when it comes to “it’s not ever going to change unless those with the power start doing something different” this particular person that got in contact with me is not in that exact category because the truth is, this isn’t his church or his system but rather a committee that he was on. the question, though, is still the same, what will happen over time. do we allow the oppressors to keep oppressing or do we stand against it not just with words but with strong sacrificial actions, too. one of the reasons i respect you so much is that you refused to support “the abuser” even though everyone around you tells you how amazing they are. until we stop going, stop putting up with it, stop ignoring it because we like the buzz & the cool buildings & the excitement & the flow-that-feels-good, nothing will ultimately change. elie rocks.

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  • Kathy – I’m a fellow female pastor and have run into these kinds of situations as well. I was, however, able to preach the baccalaureate at our local high school a few years ago and this makes me appreciate the openness of the school and board to having me there. If they received any angst about it, they did not share it with me.

    But I have had friends and non-friends who have passionately denounced my calling. That question my understanding of the Spirit’s work in my life. And it does hurt and saddened me.

    It hurts worse when I see young girls being told that God would never call them to pastor. It angers me when I hear church leaders squelch what women are sensing from the Spirit.

    I’m sorry that this local school missed out on the blessing of hearing you share the Word.
    I’m sorry that this pastor got caught in the middle of this evil.

    May God build you back up and may God continue to bless your ministry.

    Reply
    • melissa, thank you for sharing. i would agree that in general the thing that makes me the saddest is when young girls get taught that they “can’t”… bless you in your ministry, too, as you keep living it out despite the obstacles. it does always bring me hope.

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  • Interesting that it is a High School and not a church. The small town detail is interesting. There is a very strong “bidness as usual the way we like it” code wherever you go, and you can’t help but see it when you get close to the inside of systems of power. Big cities have the same thing going on too of course, but not many of us get close enough to that to even have a chance to see what goes on, or be personally affected by it.
    Very sorry for the way this went down. I thought that this kind of discrimination in a public setting had gone out with nickel parking meters.

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    • I’m astounded that this still happens.

      But take heart, a change is gonna come. Oh yes it will.

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    • thanks, sage. the reality is that typically baccalaureates aren’t hosted by the school but by people who want to put it together. i’m not sure how this one was structured but that’s been my experience & so it actually does open the doors for discrimination..

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  • It’d be great if those leaders could actually talk
    and get to know you.

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    • I was ordained in 1974, so I certainly understand this issue and have felt the same sadness. Getting angry and speaking up just made me get classed as a “rampant feminist.” For me, it is about God’s and the church’s call, not feminism.
      But I did learn that most people reject the “female pastor” and not the person. One church where I served as an interim pastor begged me to stay and be the permanent pastor. I refused. I sat in astonishment when they started their pastoral search and put down, “No woman pastor.”
      So, now I simply go first to those that I know probably disapprove of my ordination and make friends. At the least, I am cutting down on their stereotypes of what women in pastoral leadership are like.
      By the way, it still hurts when I face that prejudice. I went to the four churches nearest our church building when we first arrived. Three of the pastors told me they would not be able to pray with me in a fellowship group because their church didn’t approve of female ministers. Would I have contaminated them?
      Just keep going, good sister. Your very love for God and the church will change the minds of a lot of people with prejudice.

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      • m. abe – thanks for sharing your story, it is always so good to hear from women who have been doing this for a long time because it’s who they are & no one can take that away. that’s wild, your “we can’t even pray with you in a group”, yikes, but i do know that is telling–“because we don’t agree with you, we can’t be with you.” how messed up is that? i don’t expect everyone to wholeheartedly agree, but to limit being open to listen, that’s icky. peace and continued strength to you along the way….

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    • thanks, trig. that’s how it always is. when we don’t know people, we make all kinds of assumptions about them, don’t we? peace to you, my friend, thanks for reading & hope we can connect soon.

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  • I feel so sorry 4 those high school kids & their families, who will miss out on hearing ur pearls of wisdom & hope for future change, because a few men w big egos and small gonades r running the show in that small town. I think Jesus just threw up in His throat.

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  • Love to you my friend from the Pacific Northwest. At Convergence this year one of the stations had pieces of stained glass and a small hammer for us to use. We could reflect on whatever that meant to us and then put the chards in a plastic bag before hammering away (to keep slivers from flying). I looked at my piece for awhile, thinking what it meant, that stained-glass ceiling that has been hanging over our heads our entire life. Then I sharpied the word Identity on it and smashed it. For that’s what this injustice of gender inequity in the world of church does, it devalues a woman’s identity as Woman.

    After we smashed our pieces, we carried them to a window suspended on stand and we glued our broken pieces all over it. That brokeness came together into a gorgeous mosaic of faith, hope, and beauty. Light Still Shined Through.

    I dedicate my broken stained-glass pieces to you and every other woman who has ever felt the pain of being devalued simply for being Woman.

    (hug)

    (let’s talk soon!)

    Reply
    • pam, thank you for the picture on facebook & for continuing to be a strong reminder for me of why it’s so important to use our voices and not be silent. it is an honor and a privilege for to be your friend. xo

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  • Oh Kathy….that just so sucks. It had to bring back a lot of painful history for you. It sounded like that pastor was so hopeful that he could break some barriers, and you are so perfect to do that; I’m sorry others don’t recognize it. Don’t lose hope, keep doing what you’re doing. Peace and love to you, beautiful friend.

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    • erin – thanks my friend, yeah, it is weird that when i read that line “it had to bring back a lot of painful history for you” how it made me well up. that’s what is always the hardest–the long string….thanks for understanding & for your loving presence and support from afar.

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  • We happen to think you’re very special!

    Go into attack mode on the issues of abortion, the role of women and LGBTs. It is guaranteed to divert attention away from the fact that these churches are not doing what Jesus told them to do, and instead are all wrapped up in a twisted religion that is all about power, control, money and property. How about they sell their property and give the proceeds to providing vaccinations and clean water for the peoples of this world? That looks like Jesus.

    I heard an interview with the real Patch Adams on Drew Marshall today. Patch said he is not a Christian. He thinks that for 95% of Christians, “it is just a label”. Per Patch, they don’t live or act like Jesus. Now I wonder where he would ever come up with such an idea? Surely not from a bunch of guys like this.

    If people like this are so far off on the issue of women, I wouldn’t trust anything else they say. It’s probably just as screwy. Do the women who support these guys and attend their churches have their brains turned off?

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    • I don’t even know how to respond to this. It doesn’t even make sense. For some the world is very small. So sorry Kathy.

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      • rose – thanks, it doesn’t, does it? it is helpful to know that the pastor who invited me wrote about this on his blog & shared openly with his community who was very upset about the injustice. thanks for giving me hope…

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    • sam – thank you. yes, lots of brains turned off. i know mine was. it’s so weird, how contagious it can be in “systems” and when there’s homogeneous groups of all-thinking-the-same. i came from a very open and liberal background & remember listening to girls crying in Bible class at pepperdine about not being able to serve communion, saying “what’s your guys problem? just leave your church for goodness sake and find one that values you” and then how ironic that over the next several years i found myself in the exact same place because that’s who we were around. it’s really interesting, the power of groups/messages/etc. Jesus was railing against religion for a reason! i’m so thankful i found my way out…

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  • Does it bother you that a Christian service, before it excluded you, would also exclude kids of other religions and no religion? Do you think that’s appropriate?

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    • anonymous – well, baccalaureates are optional gatherings & the ones i have been involved with before have been sensitive to being inclusive across faiths, even though they might be hosted by christians.

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  • I imagine this same group of idiot pastors find their, um, loins girded whenever Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann speak. I wonder if Ms Palin or Bachmann realize that if their version of Jesus is ever realized, they’ll never be permitted to speak in public again. Win/Lose/Win situation, really.

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  • My small denomination in Honduras has monthly pastor meetings. I am not included. I found out by accident. My work is mainly with women and children, so that should make me safe. The point is that the three pastors have tiny congregations. I have more “parishioners” with my ragtag group of ladies and kids than all 3 combined. I am just going to go on and do the work of the ministry without them, I suppose. By the way, I am also on the “black list” of a US congregation in my denomination b/c other churches in my denomination “get it” and support me with very generous offerings. By the way, none of the Honduran pastors have bothered to see what I am doing in Honduras, but I have visited all of their ministries and personally made gifts to their work. There! I said it!

    Reply
    • laurie – oh my dear & brave friend from afar, as i was reading, i just totally felt the feeling. i was working on editing “down we go” last night & i was on the “diffusing power” chapter and what it felt like when i discovered a bunch of pastors in our area banded together but no one invited us. i got a backhanded invitation a chunk of months later with the “oh, i didn’t think you’d want to go”….keep doing what you’re doing, it’s beautiful and encourages me more than you know.

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  • This makes me sad and angry. This is one of the reasons I struggled with the church and eventually deconverted – raised to be silent and eventually finding my voice. Please don’t allow them to silence you. Thank you for being a positive force in the universe!

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    • Jill would you be willing to be interviewed? I write extensively on this topic and would love to hear your story. Not necessarily to write about you by name (though possible if you’re game) but to hear the process of how misogyny in the world of church agitated you to the point of deconverting.

      My email is pamhogeweide@gmail.com.

      Reply
    • jill – thanks for sharing. i know a lot of other women like you who lost their faith as they knew it but found their voice. i am so glad you found it. i personally think it supersedes structures & reflects God’s image in more ways than we can put words to. i also am passionate about doing whatever i can to draw out women’s voices, regardless of the cost. unless we stop being silent, nothing will ever change. i appreciate the encouragement!

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  • I am so sorry. My church just taught on “The image of God as fully male and fully female”. I want to encourage you that there are some communities in the world that are fighting for equality as Christ sees it. His image in incomplete in places where men strong arm women to be silent. I am sorry for this. It is an injustice that needs to be focused on more.

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    • thanks, darrell. i am always so glad to hear of other communities speaking it freely & fully, very beautiful. it is such a gift to me to be part of the refuge where equality is so naturally practiced. knowing others has for sure restored my faith & in a lot of ways helped me stay in because i can see that it’s not a pipe dream, another way is possible.

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  • Kathy,
    This is so incredibly narrow minded and basically, just plain cruel. You are the most beautiful person I know inside and out, with amazing spritualilty and so giving.

    Those kids are the ones that have lost out on an amazing opportunity to hear from someone that could have touched their heart and changed their life forever.
    How truly sad this even occured.

    Please know that you are an inspiration (to me) and help and touch so many people. Carry that in your heart always.
    With so much love and appreciation for all that you do.
    Lynelle

    Reply
  • Ouch. It hurts all women really, doesn’t it? Especially when our loving, beautiful God empowered us to step forward and work alongside Him in the world. Keep moving forward and doing what God has asked you to do, Kathy!

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    • april – thanks and yes, i do think it doesn’t just hurt me or any one individual when we are confronted with this. it hurts us all. a long time ago when i started this blog i wrote a piece called “when one of hurts, we all hurt” it’s true.

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  • Hugs to you Kathy. As soon as I read this I thought of what I’ve been studying this week in Isaiah 58….

    6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
    to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
    to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
    7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
    when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
    8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
    then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
    and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
    9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

    As far as I know Kathy you are walking this walk that God says is an outpouring of a heart of genuine love that He has planted in you. You’re not faking this life and journey. You’re not going through the motions… you are walking and pouring out your life the best ways you can to care about these things God lists that HE cares about. This battle you fight will be His to repay someday and make right, fully! I know you will continue to battle and fight hard – but I also know there’s so much more to come! We will have tastes of the kingdom now yes…. but there’s so much more! All you hope for will come true someday – how exciting is that?! I know you will be richly rewarded for your heart for God & for others. Keep on going! I know this suffering is producing perserverance, character – hope! Walk on, sister! Keep paving. I’m not trying to take away the sadness of the situation with my encouragement…. I agree with you…. it’s worthy of tears and even a kickboxing session to get out some frustration… I just didn’t want to lose the opportunity to encourage you. Love, Randi

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    • randi – thanks dear friend from afar. this is a beautiful scripture & i am so glad you shared it with me….it was good for my soul. i had this sweet moment you’ll appreciate on saturday when i was thinking about this and talking about it to God in my spirit. i heard “just follow me, my dear, just follow me…” it wasn’t some loud bang or a knock me over the head moment, just God reminding me of what i needed to remember. sometimes tunnel vision can be a good thing.

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  • Oh of course I resonate with everyone about being so &^%#$ mad and so so sad about this siituation, in all kinds of ways. Knowing that your presence, your voice, your words are so powerful, makes me feel truly heartbroken for any who miss out on hearing you speak. To deprive anyone from that just feels so crappy. Since I get to see how your life, not only your speaking engagements, touches others in such a deep &l lasting way, it makes it that much harder to swallow.

    You have influenced my life more than any other, and I didn’t truly know what the word pastor meant until I met you. I am so honored to be a part of a team that doesn’t oppress, but models real freedom and life. I am also so sad that the &^% has been kicked out of you, and stand alongside all those who would defend your honor at the drop of a hat. Google away. 😉 Love you so much.

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  • Incredible Kathy!! Can’t believe it! I’m so sorry for the stupidity that you had to come across.

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  • Kathy – This is incredibly sad. And infuriating. And it’s just more confirmation that we have SO far to go concerning the treatment of women in the Church. Thank you for all you contribute to the conversation and for your leadership. As a young woman in my first year of seminary, I am so thankful for empowered women like you who are helping to pave the way.

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    • trishasuzanne – thank you for taking time to write & share & yes, “we have SO far to go” anything those of us before you can do on your behalf is work worth doing. peace and hope and courage to you on the journey. know you’re not alone.

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  • Just heard about this and I am disgusted. I’m sharing your story with my readers as yet another example of how far we still have to go to reach gender equality.

    Thank you for your brute honesty in this post.

    It does hurt. It hurts us all.

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  • Kathy, Mi Hermana; I hurt with you terribly and I grieve as the Father grieves for such cruelty and oppression.

    You can come and speak anytime to our group of re-jects that meet every so often in one of our decks…

    Love you sister.

    Carlos

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    • oh my dear brother carlos, thank you for the love from afar & for being such a great cheerleader…i’m grateful. can’t wait for the day when we get to hang out and catch up and eat some good food.

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  • Kathy- looking for a silver lining in this. Hopefully the pastor will end up influencing others around him within his church circles by sharing how much this hurt. Your gracious and persevering spirit will shine through and maybe media will get a hold of it and interview you so that light and freshness can happen and put a doorstop in this failing system.

    In Galatians Paul talks about how the Gospel is different entirely from the Miosaic law and goes on to share how all the dividing walls are taken away by Jesus. I pray your experience and sharin gas well as those of all the women pastors will cause a reawakening that ends this oppression of women from carrying out their God-ordained gifts and service!!! Carry on my sweet friend!!!

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    • thanks robert, my hope is yours, that the dividing walls continue to crumble. sorry i’m so behind on interview editing but i swear, it’s coming one of these days soon!

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  • Kathy,
    I hurt with you too. And I also agree with you. When half (or more) of the population is silenced, evil is present. I like your word, insidious. This belief system is like a snake, silently approaching, unseen, unacknowledged. And then, it strikes. Evil making its presence known in the form of oppression. I’m ready to call this what it is: oppression.

    And Christianity in America (or anywhere else for that matter) will continue to lose space in society as long as women’s voices are silenced.

    I do believe that in the Kingdom, present here now and in the future, is full of the voices of women and men and then the Lord will be glorified and we will know the true image of God.

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    • nikki – thanks for taking time to comment, and i think you are so right, let’s call it what it is, oppression. insidious is, indeed, the word that seems to come around. like john said earlier, when we gloss it over, pretend it’s not that big of a deal, keep participating in systems that perpetuate, we keep the cycle going…thanks for sharing!

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  • This sucks big time!!!
    I’m so thankful for your voice, and to think of it getting silenced like this really makes me angry. I’m sorry this happened… hugs from afar.

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  • So sorry to hear about this – and that it made you sad. It made me sad to read it too. Even the beliefs about women pastors aside, the thought that people refuse to stand in line with people they disagree with sends a profoundly disturbing message.

    “men & women alongside each other as equals is a beautiful thing.” Yes, yes, yes!

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    • martin – thanks my friend. i think that’s a part that is really big for me, too. we don’t have to agree with everyone we listen to…. hope our paths somehow cross in 2011.

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  • How about you send a copy of this post and the comments to these guys? Of course that would probably get you labeled as a “troublemaker”. Oh, I would give these guys so much trouble if I were part of their churches. Then again, that’s one of the major reasons we’re not part of groups like those.

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    • sam – ha ha. the person that contacted me did write about it & link to this & is really great, really trying to be an advocate for change despite the resistance. i’m guessing none of the others will be reading it, though.

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      • Kathy it has been a while but I was just getting ready to write an article for Immerse Journal on… Women in ministry! I wanted to reference your blog again so I was just checking my links and saw this comment.
        I did catch a lot of flack from this set of churches and in fact most of them no longer have any communication with me. In a sense I have been “black listed” by the evangelical community. They went so far as to instruct there families NOT to come to VBS at our church (typically the largest & most attended VBS in town). I guess I am wearing my wound as a badge of honor. (good or bad I am still unclear) I do however feel that in my tough times I am learning even more what it is like to be marginalized, a lesson I think we can all learn from. Thanks again for your support and I may be in contact again soon as I am looking at putting on an “open source” conference soon up here in Estes. God’s blessing to you.

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        • hey chris, sorry i am just now responding. that really stinks, in all kinds of ways. this is a horrible example of how broken the body is…and how when we stand for what we believe in, we will suffer consequences. it makes me think of a post i recently wrote on the last beatitude–blessed are those who are persecuted…http://kathyescobar.com/2011/05/27/blessed-are-the-those-who-are-persecuted/ . often persecution comes in some really odd forms. it will be fun to eventually meet & yeah, i know some others who would be interested in an unco. peace and courage to you, kathy

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