By Adam Quinn |
We live in a church-going culture. It is safe to say that most Samford students were raised with some kind of church background, whether that was mom and dad’s church when you were a kid or the youth group you followed your crush to during high school. At Samford, “Where do you go to church?” is just as common a question as “What’s your major?” or “Where are you from?” Forget barbecue and Alabama football; the true mark of being raised Southern is the ability to fall asleep sitting straight up in a wooden church pew.
However, for all of you incoming freshmen, college is probably the first time you are picking out a church for yourself. Don’t panic; even while trying to choose between different denominations, worship styles and church sizes, I am here to tell you there is one thing that almost all of Birmingham’s churches have in common. The booming preacher at the front of the room? Male. The worship leader strumming guitar and singing? Male. The ushers passing around the offering plate? Males. The more churches you visit, the more you start to notice that almost every church in Birmingham is led exclusively by men. At some point we have to ask ourselves how these churches can teach that men and women were created equal (Genesis 1:27) and yet refuse to ordain their mothers, sisters, daughters and wives as pastors or give them any kind of leadership positions.
The entire ministry of Christ gives us the opposite impression. From the woman at the well to Mary Magdalene, Jesus never gave men a higher position than women. Instead, he resisted his culture and gave men and women absolute equality. The Old Testament is filled with women taking up authority, including Deborah the judge leading men into battle, Huldah the prophetess teaching scripture to King Josiah, and Miriam the sister of Moses leading the entire nation of Israel in worship. If God called women to lead and teach men in the Old Testament, how can we deny women those rights in the church now?
The value of women’s participation in the church is the strongest argument that they should not be limited from ministry. The most damaging part of this issue is that the church is depriving itself of everything women have to offer. The blog christianfeminism.com offers a parody of this view in the article “Ten Reasons Men Shouldn’t Be Ordained.” Examples include men’s physical build, suggesting that they are more suited to chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions than delivering sermons, and men’s lack of the nurturing instinct, proving that women are more suited to taking care of God’s children. The article concludes that, “Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day.”
So the next time you find yourself nodding off in a wooden pew listening to another masculine sermon, ask yourself, “Why not a woman’s voice?”