Monday, June 27, 2005

Worship yesterday was a mixed bag. Mixed because I was anxious about our guest speaker. One of the elders is a member of a para-church group. He is excited about the ministry the para-church group provides and asked if a speaker be with us on Sunday. I feel fine about the group although it isn't one I'd join. Nothing against it but my understanding of evangelism is different.

I arranged for the speaker to address the congregation after my sermon, after our offering but before our final hymn. I thought I could contain the amount of time he spoke if I'd finished my sermon and the majority of the service. I've learned that speakers, unless very experienced, go over their time allotment if not "contained."

We are a one hour worship service church and if we cross that noon hour the Baptists will get all the chicken at the Country Club buffet. The Holy Spirit better get going during that one hour because that's all she will get at the Presbyterian Church. (Note to Seminarians: this vital information is NOT taught uppada Seminary.)

The speaker did fine. He was anxious which wasn't necessary as my congregation is tolerant and gracious. He told stories and waved his arms.

The thing I noticed most about our speaker were his constant references to my gender. Whoa Nelly! I must have upset his nerves. He mentioned the "lady preacher" and "your lady" more times than he mentioned Jesus. I'd be pleased with the ranking but worship isn't about me or my gender. Worship is about praising God. I suppose the speaker was not comfortable with a gal preacher.

He didn't have to compete with me nor me with him. He's not Presbyterian, he's not clergy. He was on my "territory" which in men-terms meant, I guess, that he had to establish his own turf.
All this is so silly and unconscious and I'm sick of it.

I seldom rant about the gender stuff and yesterday wasn't as bad as I've seen, but this morning I'm not feeling very patient with a world where gender is the first task of ministry.

I'm impatient with waiting for people to catch up with me. I'm over it. I've been doing this for years. Clergywomen aren't a rarity anymore even down here in the Backwater. What's the big deal?

Ok. I feel better. Things going ok for you?


reverendmother said...

Yeah, with the fight over ordination of G&L persons going on, I forget sometimes that 'lady preachers' are apparently still a big hairy deal for people.

I too am So Over It, and I've only been in it a few years. I can't imagine how Over It you must be.

We had a choir from a conservative-ish Presbyerian college sing here on Palm Sunday. We have two women pastors, and a woman-heavy staff. I saw one of the guys scratching his head in the hallway and he turned to me bewildered. He said, "I've never seen a church run by women that was actually healthy and vibrant."

Ummmmm.... thank you?

Songbird said...

Or perhaps....up yours?
(I really don't talk that way, but I think that way a lot.)

reverendmother said...


Friday Mom said...

LOL, Songbird! Up yours, indeed.

St. Cass...I'm so sick of it too, especially after a mere three hours at the hospital during which no less than four patients had to share their awareness that I am woman chaplain! You know they wouldn't do that with a man. Yeah, they're psych patients, but even crazy people can be polite!

Quotidian Grace said...

Though I'm not a pastor, this post and your comments remind me of the early days when I was one of the few women trial lawyers in south Texas. This attitude can also make you feel as though you have to be twice as good at your profession to get half the credibility with the pulpit. The church still lags much of the rest of society in this regard. I have no time for it.

Quotidian Grace said...

Whoa! I meant "you have to be twice as good at your profession to have half the credibility with the PUBLIC."
At least I think that's what I meant.....

St. Casserole said...

Grace, we KNEW what you meant. You may not be clergy but I keep you on my clergy gal pal list and that's where you are staying...

PPB said...

oh . my.
Back in the day when I had my stalker (who is nowhere near as much fun as a troll) s/he kept referring to me as a girl preacher, which always raised the image in my mind of a tiny little girl in a great big pulpit. Lady preacher makes me think of l ladies preaching. As in gloves, hose, and heels---and a big old hat!

Aola said...

at least he didn't come up and pee on your pulpit or something territorial like that....

mark said...

There are some of us who appreciate and are not threatened by pastors who are also women.
There is hope!

revmom/cheesehead said...

Here was my yesterday:

1. Woke up to a phone call that a parishioner's sister and two nieces were killed in a single-engine plane crash in Pennsylvania. Brother-in-law is in critical condition with third degree burns, so funeral plans are pending, while we wait to see if he survives.

2. Drove to hsopital in next county to visit 96-year-old church matriarch suffering from a pulmonary embolism, who is afraid to die becasue her 25 year old grandaughter wants her to "live forever".

3. From there drove to hospice to see parishioner dying of lung cancer. Tried to get out to my car without breaking down,'cause pastors aren't supposed to cry, right?

3. Had a phone conversation with a woman (who is not a member of my congregation) whose husband left her the day before their 26th wedding anniversary.

Usually the constant references to my gender (I'm always, always introduced as the 'lady pastor') really get me cranking, but yesterday, I just didn't have time to care about that. Hopefully today will be a little quieter.

Anonymous said...

There are, of course, many people who don't "believe in" women ministers. There are also many people who don't believe (a) we landed on the moon, (b) that the Civil War is over, (c) that you can be a Christian and be tolerant of non-or-other-believers, and (d)that God is in any way unhappy with them if they attend a church service but don't act like they understood that service in the remaining six days and 23 hours of the week.

Most people are used to women in medicine, law, real estate and small business and in 10 years this same comfortableness will be there in government and ministry. Just put up with the current irritation and give it time.

And, in my experience, women are often a woman ministers worst opponents. Why is that?


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

hhmmmmm.....lady preacher. I get the image of a wonderfully strong woman with a soft heart. A woman preacher who can preach about our Lord and understood how Mary felt while carrying Him. A woman preacher is never afraid to touch or to comfort. I know that it sticks in ya'lls craw but I see it as a badge of honor. Those types of people are just jealous of the great job that is being done by a woman.

*plink plink* just my two cents.

Abby said...

On women being bad advocates for women priests/ministers.

As a child I was pretty prejudiced. Part of this is that I was attracted to a lot of high church Anglo-Catholocism which is very male dominated, but most of the women priests I met were just awful, stupid people.

Now real equality means letting women be bad and awful and succeed at the same rates as bad and awful men (and there are far too many nott-bright priests), but I didn't want to hear that when I was 8.

I especially didn't like it when my father introduced me to a woman priest who smiled and said "Oh, I had a dog named Abby." I gave her a really dirty look to which she responded by saying "oh, but it was a very nice dog." Hardly helpful.

Songbird said...

I think seeing a woman in the pulpit is hard for other women for a couple of reasons. First of all, it forces them to reconsider their own lives and, perhaps, regret that they didn't have as many opportunities in their day; it's much easier to project that onto the minister and dislike her than to own up to your own disappointment. Second, it robs them of the opposite sex authority figure they expect a clergyperson to be, the man in black who can carry their projections of father-love or just plain old love-love.
I often wonder what will be projected onto women pastors as we become more the norm. What archetypes will we stir up for the people in the pews?

Sarahlynn said...

"I'm impatient with waiting for people to catch up with me."

Amen. (And hi. I'm Sarahlynn, PCUSA adult PK.)

A couple of weeks ago we had focus-group style meetings to talk about what we want in our next minister, in preparation for forming a search committee. I'm not ready yet; all the comments felt like attacks on our immediate past minister, whom I loved.

Anyway, almost all the comments started out like, "A man who . . ." except for the ones that started out, "A guy who . . ."

The best was the gentleman who suggested we look for a man with a thriving church in a university town because if he could grow a healthy religious community around all the intellectuals, well, he must really be something.

I tell ya, it almost makes me want to go UCC.

Marie said...

Ah, Princess, you have just reclaimed the term. What beautiful poetry you wrote there. (Makes me a little sad about the "understand how Mary felt while carrying him" part, but I loved the rest.

Songbird said...

Sweeties, you're all welcome to come on over to the UCC. Just hold on a minute 'til we vote on whether Jesus is Lord.