By Julie Smith
Why do we fear the
ordination of women so much? Fear is the only reason I can begin to
think of that would keep us from recognizing the need for both men
and women in spiritual ministry. I find this fear somewhat odd
considering our past. One of our founding fathers, excuse me,
founding mothers was a spirit-filled visionary. How did we so easily
slip back into the patriarchal traditions of the churches we left?
It’s a question
we already know the answer to. Tradition is strong. Forging a new
path is hard. Unfortunately, we lost the opportunity to show the way
in this regard and now other churches have taken the lead. But it’s
not too late! We still have the chance to make new choices.
The reason most often
given for not ordaining women is that, (of course we would in North
America) the rest of the world is not ready to follow our lead. This
has always been the case, though. It is really not the big problem
we’re making it in to because in countries where women are not
fully valued, the church there will continue to make choices that fit
their existing paradigm. They will not have women in ministry until
basic changes take place in their culture first.
This leaves the obvious
question of why we don’t honor the spiritual leadership through
ordination (a sacred setting apart for ministry) of women. It is the
elephant in the room that leadership carefully dances around and
pretends is not there. The question is not only a problem with our
leadership it is a problem with the layperson. It is not only a
problem with men it is a problem with women. The reason we have
difficulty with this is because the feminine aspect of our planet is
wounded. We are all wounded in this regard and so it is an issue for
The explanation of this
wound, or separation is in the beginning of the Bible in the Genesis
account of creation. It explains God’s original plan, creating
humans in His image—male and female. It doesn’t take
long before we see the consequences of our choice to follow the path
of good and evil, that we are introduced to the evil of separation.
God separates what He had so artfully created, making man and woman,
male and female at odds with one another.
Redemption provided a
path of healing for the sin problem, which at its core involves a
tear between the Divine union of male/female. Paul reminds us of
this great restoration of what was once torn when he speaks of the
cross and says, “Now there is neither male nor female”.
When he talks about circumcision of our hearts he is referring to the
cutting away of our sinful natures, which includes separation between
one another and the sexes.
What is required of us,
what is most needed, is spiritual healing that reaches back to the
very beginning of sin when we started seeing one another apart from
God, the Male/Female Creator. If you still have a problem with this,
read the first few chapters of Genesis over again.
always begins with submission to the Spirit. Submission requires us
to let go of our old way of being and thinking and allow the Spirit
to make changes within us. Letting go allows us to open our hearts
and minds. We have to be open in order to see things in a new way.
When we stay closed, we are kept prisoner by our traditions, our
past, and our prejudices. This is not only true of an individual it
is also true of an organization.
A new heart and a new
mindset are continually needed in our lives and in our church. We
will die as an organization if we do not collectively make some new
In closing, I would
like to remind us all that the church is feminine. We are the Bride
in Revelation, adorned to meet her Redeemer. If we are entering the
kingdom as God’s Bride, maybe we should start giving some
thought as to what we’re going to wear!