This post is a part of feminisms fest. Today’s topic, what I learned, is being hosted by Preston Yancey.
My first exposure to church was at Friends’ meetings in the Quaker church. There was a time when we didn’t have a regular pastor, so people from the congregation would give sermons. My mom was one of those people. She’d stand in front of the church and preach the gospel to men and women. Finally we got a regular pastor. Her name was Lorraine.
Complex extenuating circumstances led us to move to a PCUSA church. We had female preachers there, too.
My teenage rebellion was toward conservative, evangelical, complementarianism.
What I learned from feminisms fest is that many people had to overcome their cultural upbringing in order to arrive at feminism. My cultural upbringing was nothing to overcome; I had to overcome myself.
It’s easy to blame society for its patriarchal tendencies for silencing the voices of women. But in my experience, I did more to silence my own voice than anything. The curse of Eve is not just a curse on relationships between men and women; it is a curse on my heart. Despite being taught otherwise, I spent several years exploring and believing the idea that my voice isn’t worth as much.
While studying Greek and Hebrew and Theology, I believed I shouldn’t be a pastor. After getting awarded for my top grades in both languages, when my professors encouraged me to go to seminary, I wanted to go because I wanted to learn. Somewhere between the beliefs I had adopted in my late teens and between my identity, desires and gifts, I had to reform my understanding of both.
I had to fight against myself to be me. That meant accepting I could become a pastor and realizing I didn’t want to; even if I have certain gifts necessary, I don’t have a calling for it.
The fight of feminism doesn’t only exist in the external world; it exists within each of us.