Nearly two weeks ago I read Women in Ministry by Rachelle Mee-Chapman from Monkfish Abbey, which features in the latest edition of Next Wave News. Rachelle’s article has got me thinking a lot. I have been asking myself how women are involved in the emerging/missional conversation? And are our voices heard? Now let me make one thing clear, I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in women’s rights, in equality. There are a handful of women I can name who are really involved and respected within bloggoshere/ministry. Yet, I know that there are many women trying to get involved. One more thing I need to make clear is that my intention in this post is not to moan about men. I’m articulating a few thoughts I’ve had, and would love for both men and women to contribute with their thoughts as well.
My thoughts over the past few weeks have been on the differences between male and female approaches to things. I think men are more dominant, more pushy and, to be honest, more respected within the Christian arena. I think women, are generally more gentle, so, as Rachelle points out, people get upset when women become angry, frustrated, and assertive – therfore they are dismissed. I think more men have had theological training, therefore it’s easy for women to feel a little isolated in conversations when too many “big” words are used. It is also, as Rachelle highlights, not easy for women to go off to gatherings and conferences, as we have to think about child care etc. Whereas men can almost come and go as they please.
Another thought I’ve pondered on is whether women are not as prominent as men because of their institutional church (IC) experience? Within IC women are often an after thought, so have we unwittingly taken on this ideology in our conversations/ministry outside of IC? Deep down do we think that our thoughts, our contribution is not validated? Do we feel un-respected? I know from my own experiences I have received many promises from IC’s about how I could become involved etc, but once my husband is within their employment they seem to forget that I exist.
As women, how do you feel about your place within the emergent/missional conversation? Do you feel inadequate, dismissed, or are you happy that you thoughts are taken on board? Do women just need to shout louder? As men, how would you like to see women more involved with the conversation? Do you think women have anything worthwhile to contribute? Do you think women should become more vocal? And how can men help women to feel more included?