12/22/2004

A Woman's Position is...

...in Church Leadership.

Lots going on right now in the emerging church "conversation".

The NJ emergent cohort meeting kicked off a whole conversation on Adam's blog about the (relative) lack of female involvement, then Bill Arnold (who attended that meeting, along with his wife) asks the question "What do you want emergent to be?", particularly who's in and who's out and who gets to decide? Just for reference, you can always see the OFFICIAL VERSION of the emergent vision on the emergent village website...

But it seems like nobody can be bothered to pay that any attention. As for me, I think it's a great working definition. Why not let the conversation take place around that? I would ask:
What's missing, if anything?
What's no longer true or relevant, if anything?
What should be emphasized?
How far have we come in living into this ideal?
What "entities" do we need to further the cause?

Then up pops Jenell's review of A Generous Orthodoxy, looking at it from the point of view of female involvement. To be fair, a substantial part of the book is a compendium of influences on Brian, so history is what it is. It's perhaps not remarkable that the female influences on his spiritual journey are much fewer and farther between than those of men. It's been a while since I read it, but I know I would be somewhat blind to what's missing too.

Prompted by the review to look back at my own spiritual formation, I see that in my own experience women have been incredibly influential in my spiritual development. Without my wife I would never have even got started. Women have been far more influential than men actually, but then I've never been one of the backslapping, poker playing, beer and cigars kind of guy. Well, maybe the beer part ;)

Jenell writes:
You can only be formed by that which you're exposed to, and you can only cite or write about who you read and hear. Which books are in our libraries, who is on our blogroll (so many men's blogs link almost exclusively to other men!), who preaches, innovates, and makes decisions in our churches? Who feels entitled to express their opinions publically, or to speak in public?
That's an interesting note about blogrolls. I just did a quick scan of mine and it's remarkably even. Of the ones I read religiously though, a large preponderance are female (Maggi, Jen, Karen H, Karen W, Dylan). No, I'm not looking for a medal. If anything it's simply a testament to the fact that there are very articulate women out there with something to say, and they should be listened to.

Actually, that reminds me, I need to get Rachelle's blog on there too. Her article on why it's tough to be a Woman in Ministryshould be required reading and study for, well, everybody with pretensions to emergent leadership.


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