This is not a post about Women’s Ordination, but I will use the present debate to illustrate a point, a problem and a perspective that has become too common in our church. I have seen the following statements being made in the past couple of weeks:
*People that don’t believe in women’s ordination are male chauvinist pigs that hate women and want to send all of us back to the Stone Age.
*People that believe that the bible supports women’s ordination are part of a conspiracy from Satan/catholic church/the world (or all of them) to bring down the Adventist church.
Frankly, I’m tired. I have had enough vitriol to last me for three lifetimes. I have diagnosed myself with “I’m fed up with the infighting” disease.
So, whatever your convictions, may I offer three suggestions:
One of my favorite phrases is: in the essentials, unity. In the non-essentials, liberty. In everything love. Even though I have reached the conclusion that there is no biblical command to impede women from serving as fully functioning ordained pastors, I understand that faithful, loving, studious and spiritual people have reached a very different conclusion. We can debate, we can share perspectives, but I am not allowed to name-call or make declarations as to the level of spirituality you possess. In the last week, a person I consider a friend called everyone who believed in WO as people who were deceived, from the devil and Satan’s agents. That grieves me. We can do better.
Frankly, the arguments based on fear gets us nowhere. I see it in many social media conversations. I see fear that next year the General Conference will vote down not only WO but any type of ordination. I see fear that if we ordain women, then the next day we will be appointing gay pastors. I see fear that this is just opening the door for the Jesuits to infiltrate the church. Fear paralyzes. Fear shuts down rational thinking and destroys discourse. Fear is never the solution. Which brings me to my last point.
I believe we give the devil/society/humans too much credit. We act like this is the first time a controversy has stirred the pot in the church. We have selective amnesia and forget that at the end of the day, this church was here before us and will be here after we are gone. Have faith in God, for once! This is not a McDonalds we are trying to operate here. This is a spiritual organization. As such, spiritual solutions are required. Have faith. That doesn’t mean you stop doing, but base your operations from the perspective of faith. Freedom. Not fear.
So, let’s start by praying for our leaders. Followed immediately by specific prayers for people that are “on the other side”. Followed by prayers for yourself, so you are able to remain true to your convictions while keeping an open mind and extended arms.
PS- Keep comments with a tone of Christian love.