Wednesday, June 24, 2009

(More swimming) Diggin deeper

I am happy when I hear statements such as "We must value the special gifts women bring to pastoral leadership." Generally what follows, though, is a litany of stereotypical "women's qualities." Of course, there is some truth to those observations, but such responses miss the point entirely. Women are important to pastoral leadership because they are women and not men. It's really that simple. If a field of yellow flowers ask, "What could purple flowers bring to the meadow?" there could be a long list of qualities that many purple flowers might bring, but the truth is that the chief reason they are needed is because they are purple, not yellow. Yellow flowers have never been purple so they don't really "get" purpleness except in a very external way. Purple looks different. Beneath that difference is a whole different internal wiring and experiential history that really isn't accessible to yellow flowers and perhaps not entirely accessible to a purple flower's awareness either. The whole meadow would benefit if purple flowers were allowed to shape the meadow and make decisions about the meadow based on their natural inclinations rather than based on some qualities that yellow flowers assign to them. If the two colors want to collaborate in such leadership, then the structures and policies that go into meadow making and even the concept of meadowness needs to be the product of collaboration as well. And, if the meadow is not one that can support both colors in leadership, the whole idea of how the meadow is to be organized and run needs to framed by a process that includes the input of both colors.

Analogies always break down but this one just came to mind as I was seeking to put words to what's bothering me about the way we "include" women in leadership roles in our churches. Perhaps some of you have insights that will help us move forward in this discussion.

1 comment:

Gil George said...

I just love the idea of the level playing field. It never is. The reasons why are that the game, field, rules and objects are designed by men for men, and the reality is that we don't need the playing field leveled, but to stop playing the game.