-Rev Melissa Fain-
A year or so ago, a group of friends started up a question in an online group. Who are some famous theologians? I immediately said Dr. Carol Newsom, professor, editor, writer extraordinaire. Her view on biblical interpretation is a solid voice that has added depth to the theological field.
No one knew her. I realized I probably had to go a little more mainstream.
Well, what about Barbara Brown Taylor? She was an Episcopal priest, and had books on the New York Times best seller list. Someone had to know her.
A few. Then the conversation slipped into the male ministers. Spurgeon, Cone, C.S. Lewis, Willimon. The list continued until one of the guys quipped, "There are just more guys in theology than women."
With more than a bit of frustration I wrote: Nadia Boltz-Weber.
They knew her. Then they began to name the ones they also knew. Rachel Held-Evans, Joyce Meyer, and yes, Beth Moore. Do you know what those three names have in common? None of them are ordained.
Face palm. Pulling out my soap box, I stood proudly upon it and began ripping into my theology collection, naming each and every one written by a female biblical scholar or theologian. Then I pulled up the Candler School of theology staff listing and began naming the women who were professors there. Then Columbia. Next Duke. God help me, I might not be able to share my list with the world, but I could share it with this small group of friends and open their eyes.
I was fully and completely frustrated at this point. There were very well educated women who knew their theology. They were worth our time and consideration. They deserved to be known just as much as the balding men were known.
This is where the story takes a turn. My ire didn't go against a system that holds back women when they become obviously educated enough to say something substantial. It turned on the women who were raised up by that system.
Here was my thought process: The Christian world had their token ordained woman. Nadia filled that role. There is no more room for ordained women. Instead, all other women have to be less than the men they are trying to stand beside. It made me sick. These women had book deals, and interviews, while the real power houses were hidden in stuffy libraries and modern desks!
Then Beth Moore published something astounding today. Earth shattering really. (At least for me.) Penning a blog to her "Brother's in Christ," she told the story of how she wanted to be that minister. She wanted that training, and misogyny kept her from it. I was not the intended target, but it hit me to the core. She was not my enemy. I was my own enemy, pitting sisters in Christ against me, when they were never against me to begin with.
I am so sorry Beth Moore, and all women who seek equal spaces at Christ's table and find their seats further away than they should be. We are sisters, and I was petty in my own frustrations. Thank you so much for reminding me that the enemy is an ideology, not a group of people. I applaud your desire to fix the sin to save the people. You are an amazing example of female leadership in the church, and some day I hope to grow up and be just like you.