For background, see Part 1.
As a woman, when I read the Bible, I tend to see it describe the church as a family, where we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, where we are to treat one another as family members. I also see the church as the Body of Christ, and I am in awe of the deep mystery of that. As a woman, I am especially moved by the idea of the church being the Bride of Christ.
Too many men, however, want to structure the church as a business and this has been, in my opinion, one of the most serious problems with the masculinization of the church in American today. (See my first post on this topic.)
Another way in which the church has been dangerously masculinized, at least in my opinion, is the way in which politics have invaded the church. Too many decisions are not made prayerfully. Even worse, too many men see offices in the church as being something akin to political offices, to be pursued much in the same way that one pursues political gain out in the world.
This first became obvious to me back when I was early in my pregnancy with Child #3 and our church was considering calling a man to be our new pastor. My husband and I had some concerns about this man. We feared that he was rather liberal in his interpretation of Scripture. But worse --- especially to me as an admittedly emotional pregnant woman --- was that he was still proud of the fact that he had worked hard to help make abortion legal in the state of New York years ago.
It was hard for me not to take it quite personally when he told me to my face that he could not be sure that life had really begun for the child I was carrying in my womb.
A number of people in the church knew that my husband (who was a deacon/elder at the time) and I would obviously not be in favor of this man pastoring our church. So the campaigning, mostly via numerous phone calls to our home, began. Finally it all escalated until, only an hour or so before the congregational vote was supposed to take place, one of the church staff members drew me aside and told me, quite sternly, that I was not to vote "no" for this man. If I couldn't vote "yes" --- which was my duty to preserve the unity of the church --- then I would have to abstain from voting. But he forbid me to vote "no". I looked him in the eye, completely unmoved by his intimidation tactics, and said quietly but firmly, "Do not tell me how to vote. I hope you are not doing this to other people. Stop."
In the churchy equivalent of ballot box stuffing, those who supported this new candidate for pastor had been busily calling everyone who was still on the active membership rolls but hadn't been to the church in months, if not about a year, to show up and vote "yes". The church was packed. Rousing political speeches were made. The new pastor was voted in, over my husband's publicly voiced concerns. Many of the speeches said that what our church really needed was an "administrator". His theology and his pro-abortion stance weren't so important; after all, he was "teachable". (I didn't see why it was our responsibility to "teach" a pastor in his 50's --- weren't we calling him to teach us?)
Since then, in other churches, I've seen men wage political campaigns for the offices of elder and deacon. I've heard pastors defend putting men on leadership boards out of political expediency, even though these men were unqualified to hold church office. I've seen grasping for power.
Politics have invaded the church. Actually, it has not been an invasion. It has been yet another example of men wanting to recreate the church into something that is more in their image. It is yet another example of the masculinization of the church.
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