Palaver from Persimmon Crossingwith Warren Faulk
Lady PastorsWe have one. She is effective. Our church is growing in every department. I have no doubt we will retain her for as long as the earthly powers that be will allow.
I wonder what she thinks about the debate that is raging on the topic of women leading congregations. I'm not going to ask her. She is far too busy leading us to take time out for a question like that. In fact the question might even be considered insulting, though she would be too polite to say so. More importantly, she wouldn't run the risk of alienating someone who might otherwise come to know God through her service. Besides, I expect any woman who undertakes to go through the difficult process of becoming a pastor examines the question thoroughly early on.
And what of the experiences of the people who are touched by God through these women? Are they to believe that what has happened is somehow invalid because they were guided by a woman?
Over the years our church budget has not allowed us to hire a "fulltime" minister. We have made do very well with a succession of student pastors, all attending college while serving our congregation. Up until now all have been men. This last go 'round we had only one candidate who offered to fill the position -- the lady in question. We have been advised that at least in the Methodist church, more and more women are in the pipeline. I will credit our Administrative Board with being thankful that we had someone to fill the position, not bemoaning the fact that we didn't have a range of choices and especially for not playing the gender card. What a slap in the face this would have been to the group of wonderful young ladies who are developing as servants of God and leaders of men and women right in our own congregation. God has given them along with their talents into our care. To support, advise and encourage. Who are we to say ... this far and no further?
The bible is presented as the word of God. I believe it ... but I don't understand every word of it and I recognize conflicts in it that I have not been able to reconcile. I also don't believe that God fell silent when the last period was placed at the end of the last word in the Book of Revelations. He is still speaking and offering examples for our consideration. I don't think he would mind if we looked up from the printed page and saw the lesson that is being taught today.
Often we are asked to have faith in something we cannot prove. This is pretty basic to many forms of religion and gives great comfort to many. Every now and then something comes along that does not require so much of us. Something tangible. Something we can see and hear. The "women pastors" question falls in this category. One may be able to argue against the appropriateness of women leading congregations using a selection of scripture. Just as surely someone will counter ... also using scripture. But the fact is, women are pastors, they lead congregations and as a certain country comic might say "They gonna bring more with 'em."
-- Warren Faulk
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