NOTE: This article was originally published on May 11, 2011, on the Associated Baptist Press Web site.
written by Laura Rector, a Ph.D. candidate in Christian Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California
I’m in the bookstore at an egalitarian seminary. Unfortunately, not everyone there is an egalitarian. An older gentleman waylays me, finds out what I do, and starts telling me I’m sinning for feeling called and for being one kind of Baptist and not another kind, and that I’m wasting my education by not using it to disciple only other women. All I really want to do is get my cup of coffee and get back to my schedule, but I try to be polite so he feels heard.
Later, I’m at a conference. I’ve just presented my first professional academic paper (totally unrelated to women’s leadership). I’ve been traveling non-stop for two weeks, because a grandparent died just before the conference. I’m relieved the paper is over and, frankly, just ready to rest, yet a casual hello to a fellow conference participant somehow turns into listening to a long monologue in which the man takes the opportunity to make sure I know, among other things, that "There’s absolutely no way a woman can be a church leader if you look at Scripture."
As a woman in ministry, I walk away from such all-too-common experiences wondering, "Is there any such thing as good manners left in this world?" More importantly, where is the Jesus who said to love our neighbor?
Frankly, it takes a special kind of narcissism to engage a total stranger and question her love for her Savior -- to imply or openly assume . . .
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