In Defense of Men in Ministry – Guest Post by Rev. April Fiet

april-fiet-sbRev. April Fiet is my Twitter friend, a pastor and a blogger.  I appreciate her wit, her sharp insights into all things church and culture related, and her vulnerable writing style. I am honoured to have her write the first guest post for The Millennial Pastor.  As a man, I have written quite a bit about women in  ministry, so I thought a role reversal would be interesting and I suggested she write “something about men in ministry.” She came back to me with the fantastic post below. I am surprised she didn’t keep something so good for her own blog, but that is the kind of person that April is, gracious and giving.

Check out April’s blog here, there is a lot worth reading – one of my favourites is “12 Easy Steps to Shrink your Church.” I am a sucker for churchy snark. April can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook. Without further ado, April Fiet on In Defense of Men in Ministry:

Maybe it seems weird to give a defense for men in ministry, but I think it’s time to give one. Men may not always face the same challenges in ministry that women do. They may not ever be asked to give a defense for their calling when they announce they are headed to seminary. Men may never be told they cannot minister because they are men. Scripture passages might not be yanked out of context and used against men who are pursuing church ministry.

But, I still think a defense of men in ministry is needed – especially for men in ministry who support women in ministry.

Women in church leadership often face obvious obstacles.  When applying for ministry positions, many churches will toss out every application sent in by women. Women have had people get up and walk out of the services they were leading. Denominations have refused to ordain women who were obviously called and gifted. They have their reasons for doing so  (reasons I do not agree with), but even in the midst of these flagrant displays against women in church leadership, there are more subtle attacks going on – attacks that need to be spoken out against.

Women aren’t in ministry because men are doing a bad job. Throughout my theological studies, and now in my ministry, I have often encountered statements like this one: “I don’t think God prefers for women to be pastors, but when men fail so often to respond to God’s calling, God sends women instead.” The basic idea behind these kinds of statements is that men were unfaithful, so God sent someone else. Not only is it completely unflattering as a female pastor to be thought of as God’s second choice, it is also demeaning to my brothers, my faithful male colleagues who have answered God’s call to serve. Every month when I attend my pastors network meetings, I am surrounded by gifted and called men who heard the call of God and responded by giving up good jobs, homes, security and status to follow God’s lead. I don’t believe I am in ministry because men are doing a bad job. I’m in ministry because God intends for us to work together, and that means both including women, and not disparaging men in the process.

Men in ministry who advocate for women in ministry are not afraid to stand up for the truth of God’s Word. I have heard the claim made (more than once) that when a male pastor advocates for the full inclusion of women in church leadership it is because he is afraid to stand up against the culture and be labelled a sexist. The truth is, the men in ministry I know have spent countless hours studying Scripture. They have gone back to the original languages the texts were written in. They have asked the Holy Spirit for guidance. They care deeply enough about the Word of God that if they believed the Bible called for the exclusion of women from office, they would advocate for that. These men, who deeply love Scripture and hold it to be the authority over their lives, have read God’s Word and come to the conclusion that God’s calls women to leadership just as God calls men. Men in ministry who advocate for women in ministry are not weak. They are strong enough to stand up in a group of their peers and call for the circle of leadership to be opened to women, and sometimes it costs them friendships, the support of family members, and even standing in their denominations.

Men in ministry who support women in ministry aren’t “man-fails.” Male pastors who champion women in ministry aren’t doing so because they’ve “gone soft.” They may not go around bragging about their smokin’ hot wives, or flaunting their large broods of children. That’s not because they aren’t attracted to their wives (if they have one), or because they’re ashamed of the size of their families (no matter how big or small). They are secure in themselves, and don’t see the need to prove their manliness to their peers. Men in ministry who support women in ministry know that living life is all about discerning giftedness, calling, and life situations. My husband encourages me to continue serving in ministry, not because he is somehow shirking his responsibility to support me, but because he believes I am called to serve in ministry alongside him at this point in our lives together.

When I went to seminary, I was reluctant. I was afraid. I knew I was called, but as a people-pleasing introvert, I was so afraid to make waves. I found an incredible amount of support from fellow female seminary students and from female faculty, but it was the support and encouragement of male pastors and male faculty that gave me the confidence to pursue the calling God had placed on my life. Men went to bat for me in situations where doing so could cost them personally and professionally. Men encouraged me to step up to the pulpit and preach, even when I was doubting myself. The grace many male pastors exuded as they sought to welcome me and help me use my gifts for the kingdom of God buoyed me up when opposition was trying to pull me under. I am deeply grateful for the faithful men in ministry who have helped make a way for me.

It’s only right for me to defend them in return. The increasing support for women in ministry is not a response to vacancies left in ministry by men who were unwilling to follow God’s call. Men who take seriously God’s Word have studied and prayed, and come to the conclusion that God calls both men and women to lead. These men supported the full inclusion of women in church leadership before it was popular, or even acceptable for them to do so.

Not long ago, I had a conversation with someone who is an elder in his church. He told me that he had long believed that the Bible did not forbid women stepping into positions of church leadership, but that he had been afraid for cultural and anecdotal reasons. He had seen his wife struggle when criticized, and he thought it wouldn’t be fair to ask a woman to deal with that struggle when conflicts came up in the church. Years later, his church elected its first female deacon. He said that her presence on the leadership council made him realize that the church needed both women and men to serve in leadership. Something had been missing when her leadership gifts were not present at the table. And I agree with him. We need each other. Men in ministry, I’ve got your back.

So what do you think? Do men in ministry need to be defended? What challenges do men in ministry face? Share in the comments below

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On Facebook at The Millennial Pastor’s page or April Fiet’s page

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On Twitter @ParkerErik or @AprilFiet

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Church Generation Wars – Millennials pushing for Boomer territory

It has been a busy few weeks, thus things are slow on the blog. I don’t like blogging about blogging, so suffice it to say when the work of being an “In Real Life” pastor takes up more time (as in a couple of conferences and 4 funerals), the time I have to devote to being “The Millennial Pastor” is cut back.

Now, speaking of boomers and millennials, the two conferences I was attending were a clergy study conference and a youth weekend retreat.

The youth retreat was pretty much what you might expect: loud, busy, exciting, fun.

The clergy conference, made up of mostly boomer pastors, was adultish, lots of chats over coffee and beer, and an interesting speaker. Also fun.

However, I noticed that both events were distinctly generational.

The pastors all sat in a big room, the speaker “presented” to us and then offered Q&A at the end (which usually means ” try to frame tangential personal stories as questions” time). The speaker imparted knowledge to us, with minimal interaction –  a normative boomer educational experience.  A few of us young-uns were tweeting, but not without the pre-requisite stares for being on our phones. Nothing makes you feel like you’re teenager again than a glare from someone who thinks you are texting your girlfriend, instead of opening the conversation to those outside the room. The experience was a distinctly boomer one. While of course not all boomers prefer the knowledge imparting expert, the format is so familiar to boomers, it might as well be a part of their DNA.

The youth retreat, on the other hand, was interactive, open source, and tweeting during sessions was encouraged. Now, the fact that I was co-presenting at the youth retreat might have had something to do with that. But my co-presenter and I purposely planned the sessions to be about interaction, about the group’s knowledge over our expert knowledge. The experience of this event was distinctly millennial. As one of the oldest millennials, I was presenting to the youngest of our generation, those born just before the year 2000. We all knew how to function in the open source format. The interactivity and group work ethos is, of course, not the preference of all millennials, but familiar to us right from early grade school. It is how we have learned to be in the world, and social media only amplifies this way of being.

The experience of these back-to-back events pointed me to an important reality facing the world and the church. Millennial culture is beginning to demand cultural space. Boomer culture has been the dominant one since they moved into early adulthood. But as the children of boomers start to come into adulthood, we will demand more and more of society’s cultural and popular attention.

The reality of this impending change struck me in a couple of signpost moments at the clergy conference. One morning, this Kid President pep talk was used in worship.

Now, I don’t know if my boomer colleagues know Kid President or not, but he is one of the many icons of millennial social media-viral-internet culture. In the video, he made distinct references to our cultural era: the Michael Jordan baseball stint allowing to make the movie Space Jam, and Journey’s resurgence because of the TV show Glee.

What was interesting is that the YouTube clip was shown without explanation or apology – it was assumed that showing a video like this was completely normal. This would have been unthinkable even a few years ago. Hip and cool videos have been shown before, but either by millennials ourselves, or as an example of hip and cool youth culture.

schultz_smallNow, boomer pop references didn’t disappear as the presenter put up an image of WW2 German soldier, supposedly named Sergeant Schultz? I am not sure who it was, none of us young-uns got the reference. But our Boomer colleagues all did and thought it was hilarious.

As I reflect on this small moment of a Kid President video being shown at conference of mostly boomer pastors without explanation, apology or consternation, it is the first time in my memory in 31 years of being a church person and 5 years as a pastor that a pop culture reference in an intergenerational gathering church has not been a cultural commute for me, or prefaced with an apology for being a culture commute for boomers.

Before that moment, I have always been the one (or the generation) expected pick up on the cultural references of my elder boomer colleagues, or explain why I am operating outside of the dominant culture. This is no small thing.

It is the toe-hold beginning of something bigger coming down the pipe.

It is something that is happening all around us everyday out in the world, but something that many churches have been resisting. Millennial pop culture is demanding to be inculturated. The once entrenched cultural realm of the boomers is being threatened by their children. It happens in every generation, but our media saturated world makes the tension front and centre. Does anyone really think all those article berating lazy millennials are really about lazy millennial? No, they are the denigration of the coming of age of the next big generation. Boomers have enjoyed their cultural privilege, and won’t give it up easily.

So the question becomes, is our distinctly boomer church ready to share their cultural territory? Are we ready for live tweeting worship? Announcements being made primarily on Facebook? Millennial pop-culture references coming up in sermons without explanation? Or even, are boomers ready to explain their pop-culture references to us as it can no longer be expected that everyone knows them?

My hope is that we millennials don’t slip into the same position of privilege that our boomer parents have. I hope we don’t forget the experience of the cultural commute, of having to learn the culture of the majority group, while your own is mostly ignored or apologized for.

We will be soon the dominant social group – the music, film, TV, and art of our generation will become the media that everyone will have to know in order to follow the cultural conversation. We will be the ones who will be marketed to, and thus the ones moving into political, economic and organizational power.

We will remember being the minority once we become the majority?

Millennial pop-culture is going to simply become pop-culture. The Church is going to have to recognize this generational shift, or risk being left in the 1960s, with Hogan’s Heroes.

What remains is what kind of church we will be. Will the church stick with Sergeant Schultz, “I see nothing!” or will be a little more like Kid President, “I’m on your team, be on my team.”

______________________

Where do you stand in the generational culture wars? Where is the church headed when it comes to clashing generations?

Share in the comments

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or on Twitter: @ParkerErik

“What is the Good News?”: It is not buying God off.

So I am sitting at a table in a church in rural Manitoba, Canada. For Canadian readers, imagine the winter paradise that most of you think rural Manitoba is. For American readers, imagine the winter wasteland you might think Canada would be all about. This is where I am.

I am also betweens sessions as the co-presenter at a youth retreat. Our theme for the weekend is “What is the Good News?”

Two sessions in and 3 to go, it strikes me how difficult a question this can be. There are  seemingly obvious definitions, like Jesus died for our sins, or God loves us, or God is King of all creation. But when you are trying to explain this youth, you need to be more concrete. At the same time, when you speak to youth and allow for their response, you will be surprised by their depth and their insight. Already the youth have been pointing out nuances that I didn’t consider when planning my parts of the speaking sessions.

As Lutherans, we have a very specific dogma when it comes to the “Good News”. We boldly declare that grace, that God’s love, that God’s mercy and forgiveness is entirely an action on God’s part. There is no earning God’s love. There is no choosing to follow Jesus. There is no repenting first, so that we may then be forgiven. The direction of God’s grace is always towards us.

We showed this video to the youth, of Nadia Bolz-Weber speaking to 40,000 ELCA youth in New Orleans about Lutheran theology:

Good News with this 1-sided approach (as in, it is all God’s work, and none of ours) becomes hard to nail down. We so desperately want to know our part. We want to have something to contribute. In in the middle ages it was good works which earned merit. The merit could be earned with works, and purchased with indulgences. The church sold Good News like a commodity. Merit became like ladder rungs to purchase for our climb to heaven.

Today, we are mostly over the good works thing. But the church is still selling Good News, in the form of faith or repentance or choice. We don’t say that we need to do good works to go to heaven, but instead that we need to actively accept God’s love. We need to choose Jesus in a conscious, life changing way. We need to truly repent of our sins to be truly forgiven. We need to DO something in our relationship with God.

This is still selling Good News. And we still buy it because it affords us a sense of control. If we can make the active choice, have the repentance moment, if we can accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, than we are in control of our eternal fate.

But this is not what Jesus says about Grace. This is not what Martin Luther realized by reading Romans. This is not Good News

It is all still buying Good News, still buying God’s love. We once bought God with work and indulgences, now God is bought with sincerity of faith or our choice.

God doesn’t act this way. The Good News is not that we can somehow earn or buy off God.

The Good News has always been, and still is, that God is the one coming to us. God’s love, mercy and grace is freely given. Given whether we have earned it or not. Given whether we repent, choose, or accept it or not. God is constantly giving Grace, and there is nothing we can do about it. Nothing at all.

So what is the Good News?

That God is doing all the work when it comes to us. That is God is doing the saving, forgiving, resurrecting work.

And it just happens to us.

God just happens to us… just happens to love us, before we even knew what love was, before we had any say in the matter.

That is Good News!

So what is the Good News? What is our role? Can we have a role? Share in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter: @ParkerErik

Anchorman Christianity: 9 steps to giving people what they want

I have been blogging about evangelicals and their drama a fair bit lately, and about how they could use a little more mainline Christianity in their lives. But mainliners have problems too.  As the mainline struggles with declining numbers, finances, clergy numbers, etc… I have seen many churches trying anything to get people to stay, to come back, to be seen. These efforts have resulted in a trend that I have been trying to name, and I have finally come up with something:

Anchorman Christianity.

Now, the movie Anchorman is not for everyone, it is crass humour paired with the absurd, but it speaks to this trend. Anchorman 2 recently came out, and if you watch this trailer, you will get what I am talking about at 0:50. (Warning: the trailer contains offensive themes).

The main character, Ron Bergundy played by Will Ferrell says,

“Why do we have to tell the people what they need to hear? Why can’t the news be fun? Why can’t we give them what they want to hear?”

Anchorman is not just crass humour, it is also (at times) brilliant satire.

We all grow weary of the 24 hour news cycle, and the fight for ratings and views, which earn advertising dollars. But we kid ourselves to think that this “Give the people what they want, instead of what they need” attitude hasn’t crept into Christianity in North America.

And let’s face it, it works. It gets people to tune in, click the link or sit in the pew. It makes people happy, and there is nothing that feels better to church leaders than a room full of happy people. As a pastor, it is really hard to insist on giving people what they need, it can be way easier to give them what they want.

Giving people what they want can be done in these 9 easy steps:

1. Easy answers. People don’t need good teaching and preaching, they want easy answers. Just offer people a list of concrete easy-to-follow advice, they will not only love it, they will it repeated so they can write it down.  Look at all the internet lists out there, “10 easy ways to…” etc… We all click on them. Heck, that is why this post has that a title like that. Concrete advice is so much easier than in-depth explorations of our faith, theology, history and ethics. Don’t waste time helping people grow or learn, or to live with tension and complexity. The most recent young earth creation debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye had a “give them what they want” ethos written all over it.

2. Give them outrage. People don’t need to me telling them about complex problems, people want to be mad at something. We are biologically inclined to respond more viscerally to negative emotions like anger. The media knows this well. It is way easier to preach outrage about taxes, government regulations, other religions, political agendas, or the evils of being rich than it is encourage people to grow in empathy and compassion. Seeing the ‘other’ as human or seeing issues as problems we are called to do something about takes work, and a good measure of God’s help. Who has the energy to be calm, collected and compassionate? Outrage is easy.

3. The Bible they know. People don’t need me to tell them what the Bible really says, they want to hear what they think it says. God helps those who help themselves. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. To thine own self be true. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Money is the root of all evil. This too shall pass. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Most people think they know what is in the Bible, why tell them otherwise? Besides it is a lot easier for preaching when you don’t have to explain what the Bible is actually saying, no one wants to hear that anyways. It is more convenient to preach from the bible of old wives tales and clichés, than the 66 books we used to know.

4. Someone to blame. Terrorists, gangs, the poor, those in power, gays, immigrants, ethnic minorities, liberals, conservatives, children, the sick, the elderly, women. People don’t need to know that their problems likely have complex sources (with themselves at the centre), they want to hear who they can blame for their problems. So let’s stop trying to help people see the pervasive effects of sin in the world, or the suffering and brokenness of others around us. Instead, let’s blame people for their own problems and and let’s blame those ‘others’ for our problems too.

5. Approval but no oversight. It can be really tiring to say ‘no’ as a pastor. People don’t need to hear it, especially when they want to hear ‘yes!’ Can we read from “The Secret” instead of scripture in worship? YES! Can the youth sing Justin Bieber songs during the offering? OF COURSE! Is it okay to have a bible study on Chicken Soup for the Soul Vol. 3? NO PROBLEM! Can’t we just not mention God in church anymore? GOOD IDEA! It can be a lot of work to help people understand why Christians do the things we do. It is way easier to just let people do the crazy things they want.

6. The promise of getting rich. People do not need to hear that God doesn’t like people getting rich, they want to hear that God makes us rich. The biggest churches in North America make the promise that God will bless us with wealth if we only have enough faith (and give lots of money to the pastor). It would be way easier to tell people that God wants to give us lots of money if we want it enough, and at our basest level we want to hear that. It can be real bummer to talk about how Jesus was kind of a poor dude, and that God is not cool with extreme wealth or extreme poverty.

7. Car chases, puppy dogs and celebrity gossip. People don’t need to hear about all the depressing reality of the world, you know like real political, economic, social issues and what God has to do with that stuff. They don’t want to hear about suffering or sadness. So slap some kittens on the powerpoint, use the latest episode of ‘the Bachelor’ as a sermon illustration, use bible study time to watch the latest pop culture movies. It doesn’t really matter if people can’t tell the difference between Jesus and Jay-z, or Matthew and Matthew McConaughey, or Mary Magdalene and Miley Cyrus.

8. Avoid conflict at all costs. People don’t need to know how to have healthy relationships, they come to church to get what they want. Never ever challenge church people. Always do what they want. Always give in. Never fight. Maintaining principles, challenging bullies, standing up for justice just causes conflict. Conflict causes anxiety. And anxiety is really stressful. Pastors burn out on that stuff. It is way easier to just avoid conflict altogether. Churches that avoid conflict can last for decades before all the unresolved issues blow up in their face. Who wants to deal with issues all the time, when you can just deal with all of them at once every few years?

9. Nostalgia. People don’t need to practice living in reality, they want to live in the world that they fondly remember. Give them sappy, emotionally manipulative drivel. People want to be reminded of the world they once had and loved. They want to relive the same Christmas Eve service every year, it doesn’t matter the same kid has been a sheep for 7 years, or baby Jesus can shave now. People come to church because of how great it once was, they don’t want to waste time imagining what it could be in the future. Looking forward means change, looking back means everything stays the same. Change is hard, why change?

So, now that you know these 9 steps, please don’t follow them.

Long before Anchorman 2 came out, I had been adopting a motto for ministry. “I am not here to give you what you want, I am here to give you what you need.” It is a bold stance to take as pastor these days. You don’t have to spend much time reading the Christian internet, watching TV preachers, or even seeing some local churches in action. It is way easier as a pastor, as church leadership, as church people to give people what they appear to want. Giving people what they want gets results,  higher ratings and more butts in pews. But it is disingenuous faith. It results in “worshiptainment”, it creates “church consumers” instead of church members”, it allows people to stay stagnant in faith, instead of growing in relationship with that Jesus.

And speaking of Jesus, he wasn’t all that interested in giving people what they want was he?

Nope, he was all about what we really need.

So should churches care about what people want? How does your church cater to getting more ratings? Share in the comments, or on Facebook or on Twitter: @ParkerErik

Let’s Not Forget the Macroaggressions Against Women

The term ‘microaggression’ has been floating around the internet these days. A recent post on The Junia Project, about women in the church, defined microaggressions as “brief and often subtle everyday events that denigrate individuals because they’re members of particular groups.”

st_junia2.jpg_w540In the church, microaggressions towards women abound. They are the gender-exclusive language we use so much, like referring to a pastor of unknown gender as “he” by default, or referring to human beings as man or mankind. They are the habits we carry, like always telling little girls (or even women) how beautiful or pretty they are, but telling little boys (or even men) how strong, or smart or capable they are. They are the subtle gender stereotypes we have, like that weakness or sensitivity is girly, or strength or power is manly.

Each microaggression is small and subtle. Most go unnoticed, even by their victims. Over time, the microaggressions add up to create larger bias and prejudice within us.

Working to eliminate and catch ourselves (and others) on their microaggressions is vital and important work both in the church and in the world.

But let’s not forget all the MACROaggressions towards women that are happening in the church every day.  These macroaggressions can just as often go unchallenged, and they are harder to replace with egalitarian attitudes and behaviour.

If microaggressions are the small events that denigrate, macroaggressions are obvious and blatant. Gender macroaggressions are just as ubiquitous as the microaggressions in Christianity. Macroaggressions are found in progressive churches and they are found in conservative churches.

These macroaggressions need to be named so that we can begin to change them, and strive for gender equality. So let’s name some:

  • The macroaggression of excluding women from the clergy. Some denominations permit the ordination of women, but many still don’t. Many actively claim that scripture prevents women from having teaching authority over or preaching to men. They claim that women are unsuited for leadership in the church and should be submissive in the home and in marriage. They claim this aggression without admitting the ambiguities found in Paul’s writings, the questions of authorship, the ambiguity of the Greek to English translation, the effect of 1st century cultural baggage on the text. The macroaggression is maintained when Christian leaders ignore other biblical texts that point us to women who were leaders in the early church, and by ignoring Paul’s – Jesus’ really – theology of equality in the body of Christ.
  • The macroaggressions towards women who are clergy. For those fighting for the right to ordain women in their denomination, don’t think the fight ends when woman are allowed to be ordained. Even in “progressive” denominations, congregations will try to pay women who are clergy less (because they have husbands who work). Women who are clergy are often overlooked for positions in cities or as senior pastors. Some congregations won’t even consider female candidates for pastoral vacancies. Women who are clergy are often given less respect and challenged more often by congregation members. People will do and say things to women in ministry that they would never do or say to a male counterpart. And when it comes to creating policies that foster gender equality, denominations are behind. Church leadership has been working for years to implement sabbatical policies for pastors, but it is rare to see meaningful maternity leave policies implemented.
  • The macroaggressions towards women in congregational leadership positions. When electing council or board positions, women are often considered for secretary positions not chairperson positions. Women are expected to serve on altar guilds or Sunday School committees, but are rarely asked for property or stewardship committees. Women are expected to decorate and serve meals by default but are rarely consulted on property matters. Women are asked to plan Christmas pageants or lead bible studies for other women, but are rarely asked to preach or lead congregational wide studies. Staff are often hired by traditional gender roles. Men are preferred as pastors, but so are women preferred as office administrators (so much so that I have heard complaints about a “secretary” whose “phone voice” was too low so it sounded like a man’s).
  • The macroaggression of gender exclusive theology and scripture. Some bible translations intentionally use gendered language like brothers, when brothers and sisters should be used. Some say men, when human kind should be used. Many Christians intentionally choose to use He, Him, His as pronouns for God (so much so you might even think He is the proper noun for God). God is described with traditionally masculine attributes, both physically (old white man with white beard in the sky) and in character traits (powerful, strong, wrathful etc…).
  • The macroaggressions of bullying, sexism, and chauvinistic behaviour towards women. This might be the most significant of macroaggressions in the church. The problem is that all of the macroaggressions above not only happen, but are often condoned, even encouraged by many in the church. Like my post on bullying suggests, often times we just sit back and allow the sexist comments or jokes, we encourage women to be kind and sweet instead of standing up to those who put them down. Women are told that men can’t be expected to change, that bad behaviour is just a reality that must be accepted.

Challenging microaggressions makes a difference, they break down prejudice and bias. Yet, it is the macroaggressions that need to be ended.

There are ways to counteract these MACROaggressions. We need to eliminate the macroaggressions from our language, and insist on the pronouns for God being God, God’s, God-self, even when it causes awkward sentences in sermons. We need to describe God with male AND female characteristics  found in scripture in a balanced manner. We need to practice not assuming the gender of a pastor, a congregational chairperson (instead of chairman), or secretary, even though it is habit to assume gender.

Men need to volunteer, and suggest other men, for secretary positions on boards and committees (I have several times). Women should be considered for congregational chairpersons. I have suggested women consider and be nominated for this leadership role, not just because someone is a woman, but because a particular person is the best candidate and a woman. We need to encourage women to serve on property committees and encourage men for altar guilds and decorating committees.

We need to intentionally promote pastors who are women in congregations who have little or no experience with ordained women. Men need to suggest that congregations should consider a woman for their next pastor, when the time comes.

Eliminating the microaggressions from our speech and habits takes intentionality and effort. Eliminating and challenging macroaggressions takes purpose and conviction. It means speaking out against the obvious aggressions against women in the church and in the world. It means being open to changing theology. It means being willing to risk feelings, traditions, cultures, systems, conflict… people being mad at us. It means challenging the established systems of privilege for new systems of equality.

And it will take all of us to do it. It will take all of us – who are tired of watching the women we love being subjected to bullying, sexism, chauvinism – to not forget the macroaggressions against women.

Have you experienced MACROaggressions in the church? Have ideas to fight it? Share in the comments, or on Facebook or on Twitter: @ParkerErik.

More posts on women in ministry:

12 Reasons Why Being a Male Pastor is Better

The Heresy of Male Domination

A Young Male Pastor’s Thoughts on Women in Ministry: What’s the problem?