Wednesday, September 27, 2006


The Association of Vineyard Churches has come out with a statement regarding the trans-local acceptance of women in leadership. The letter does not fully embrace egalitarianism as it stops short of embracing as a movement biblical equality. My first response to this letter was very mixed. To stop short of embracing a full view of biblical equality was disappointing. I have heard from men and women who feel the same way. They are relieved that the Vineyard has made some movement but sorry the leadership stopped short.

I wanted to respond to a comment by Paul earlier on this topic. Along with Paul, I have had a few people ask me if arguing this issue with Scripture is appropriate. My response to this is I understand the question and agree that it makes sense that women are equal with men and that alone is enough to make a case...that those who hold a view that men are "over" women is just wrong...

When I thought about addressing this topic with our congregation I realized that different people view this issue through different frames. Those who needed the question answered or at least addressed from Scripture was important to me. At the end of the day, I think you can almost make the bible say anything so it is a bit disingenuous to argue from point on this has always been...if it is at best debatable why would we not choose to error on the side of freedom?

To choose to error on the side of dominating and oppressing any group of people is plain wrong. I think from a perspective of pastoral care we needed to address the issue from Scripture, reason and experience. When I did my talk at VCC I was not happy with the approach I took...if I were going to teach on this again I would simply tell my story...

While I am pleased with the direction the Vineyard is moving in I hope and pray that the leadership will soon add female voices to the board and leadership. I also hope we will see more visible female leadership at national and regional conferences. Gender is not the only issue in play by the is the topic of today though and I hope that there will be an intentional move in the Vineyard movement to model visible diversity in leadership with called, gifted men and women of color.

Unless people with power make room for those that have not held power nothing much changes.

I am deeply saddened that Steve Morgan chose to disengage from the Vineyard over this issue. For ten years I as an ordained minister was a part of an association that marginalized my gifting and calling. I would speak up on this issue when it was discussed at regional and national conferences. I would walk away from those times feeling bad, like I had said something wrong because there was so much debate and heat around the topic. I was very conflicted because I was shamed for simply being a woman that sensed from an early age that God had put a call on my life that actually unfolded throughout my life. To be perceived as having an agenda to undermine God and the bible and God's purposes by simply living out my life in obedience to God the best I know how is unbelievably cruel.

It is sort of like a person saying to you "who do you think you are" it is very degrading and demeaning.

Here is my question. There are several very large churches in the Seattle area that attract a lot of young college age men and women. These churches are traditionalists or complementarians and are thriving with young men and women. Can someone tell me why? I really don't understand it. I don't understand how people can compromise on this issue.

Another question. Does chauvinism or sexism equal misogyny?


Pat said...

Quick comment (yeah, i'm in class, and i'm sitting next to Ben :)):

as to the question of popularity and growth: I believe many people want certainty, black and white versions of reality - and anybody who's willing to give it to them - a strict set of yes's and no's, meets a need. the churches you speak of see much in black and white, not much in grey.

personally, I find a lot more gray areas than clear black and white in the story of God. The creeds are black and white to me... a lot of biblical interpretation is not.

More thoughts later. Maybe best over beverages :)

Dave Richards said...

is there a link to AVC's document laying out their perspective on women? and/or can you post?