August 15, 2009

Is Gender a Sin?

Let me start with a basic explanation of the word sin. Sin can be understood as a basic violation of a social or moral code as described by a religious community as instructed by God. For some sin has to do with intent and/or motivation rather than an act being carried out. When the word sin is used it implies immorality of thought and deed.

The repercussions of sinful behavior is to become disconnected from the religious community or from relationship with God. Now this is just a basic explanation, that has some variances based on the individual's community of belief or denomination, etc. But for the most part this gives you some insight into the concept in very general terms. I must also add that the Biblical Hebrew of this term would describe falling short of your ideal behavior or outcome as commanded by God, as in missing the mark.

So the way that I want to talk about the concept of Sin is related to the Biblical Hebrew cultural understanding of the word. I dont claim to be an expert on the subject but would consider myself knowledgeable enough to discuss the topic. You are wondering where I am going with this? I just happen to be a woman, one who knows that she is called to do ministry by God. But I belong to a denomination that does NOT support the ordination of women. I love my church, but it bring about some internal tension for me to consider disconnecting from the church family that I love, that is a part of my family heritage, and what I want to be a part of the legacy that I leave with my kin.

According to the understanding of my denomination, there is no biblical support for the ordination of women. So with a Master of Divinity degree, and two weeks from completing the one year residency in Clinical Pastoral Education, I stand at a crossroad of decision. As I prayerfully reflect on my purpose and intent, I have to ask myself the question of what part does gender really play in the determination that church leadership is strictly for men? How is being a woman missing the mark? And, if being a woman is missing the mark, then why are there so many woman who strongly believe that they are called to leadership forms of ministry? Has our culture completely missed the mark in the way we view gender roles? What is the difference in prohibiting a woman from being ordained and some of the cultural prohibitions going on with other cultures around the world? Who were the first persons to tell the good news of Jesus resurrection?

OK, so my list of question could go on and on, but I dont want to get lost in the question so much as to discuss the matters of the heart that bring me to discuss this topic. Is gender a sin? As a woman, who is called to the ministry, I find it hard to accept that there is something inherently wrong with a person being able to perform the task of church leadership based on gender.

when I look at Genesis where God was creating, when male and female were created, there is no indication that God thought one was good and the other bad. As best I can understand the biblical text, both God and Adam were pleased with God's formation of WOMAN.

I want to be clear, that I will be the first to tell you that I recognize there are some specific differences that go along with each gender. But within those differences there in nothing wrong with God's creation. Women bring some wonderful gifts to leadership in the church and that should not be limited because of mental limitations of man. How arrogant are we to decide for God whom God is able to call to the ministry. Last I checked God could speak. Still God speaks from Eternity. And I have no doubt that God is speaking to God's daughters and I have no doubt that God's daughters are hearing from God.

(to be continued)