Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Memory

Lutheran Lucciola, posted a comment about when she first joined the LCMS about how she was approached by four women wanting her support for women's ordination and it reminded me of a similar incident. About a year before I was to enter the seminary, my grandmother passed away, so we headed up to D.C. for the memorial service. At the service, only a few of our relatives were there including some from the ELCA. Anyhow, I guess my uncle had told them I was going into the seminary because these my aunt's mother came over to talk with me. They asked the standard question of which seminary was I going to be attending and I, of course, told them proudly Concordia, St Louis. Their faces turned a bit dark as they responded "Oh... the LCMS, well we don't really like the LCMS." Being curious, I couldn't help but respond "Why is that?" To which, they said "They don't allow women to be pastors and until they do we won't ever go to one." Me being a smart mouth replied " Guess I won't ever be seeing you in church then."

At first, I thought it rather crass for them to even bring it up at my grandma's memorial service, but then I realized these people are on a mission. Not that being on a mission is an excuse for rudeness, but that having women pastors means so much to them that it overrides their common sense. This got me to thinking, just what is it that is making them seek this abomination so stridently. Now, after some study and thought it occurs to me that it is about power. They want access to the power of the Office of Holy Ministry.

Their lust for women's rights fueled by past and present abuses have led them to believe that the office of pastor is an office of power. They speak in terms of hierarchy, patriarchy, etc; terms which denote power over somebody. Boy they couldn't be more wrong. Pastoring is not wielding power.

Long have people had the misconception that the Pastoral Office is about power. It has existed since the days of the Levitical Priesthood right up to today's Pastor as CEO types. Yes, a pastor is a leader, it is part and parcel of being a shepherd, but above all things a pastor is a servant. We are to serve the people not lord it over them. In my previous post, I spoke about the congregation and the pastoral office being the image of God, well the Pastor is to be Christ to the congregation. Therefore, our model of the office comes from Christ himself. Guess what, he did not come to lord over but to serve. He died on the cross like a common criminal, he washed people's feet, these are not the actions of one seeking power. They are the actions of one seeking to serve the ultimate need of the people. This is our role model for the pastor, to be the lowest of the low to serve the ultimate need of the people. We are not to be lording it over the people. We are to be Christ to the people.

I have said my bit, if you want to read a better post on the topic check out Balaam's Ass, he has an excellent article on the topic of women's ordination.

1 comment:

Lutheran Lucciola said...

Holy cow, you just hit the nail on the head. I can't believe I didn't see this before.

Without going into details, this particular church where this happened in the past, had (at the time) a senior pastor who abused his power. He intimidated people, and only placed the women of the congregation in positions if they were young and attractive, and satisfied that visual need for him.

So, these middle aged women who approached me, were buying into this power thing, thinking that was the solution. If they were in this artificial power role.

Well, needless to say, this was the reason I left that church. As did many other younger women. It was a very unhealthy situation.

Good call, Lutherama! ;-) I do believe that's the reason.