Ordain Women Now?

Wanted:  Servant.  Must be able to attend to needs at all hours of the day or night.  Requirements:  The right candidate must be very knowledgeable about Me and My Household.  Diligent study is required.  Patience is required as well as many in the Household will question, quiz, harass, and even abuse the candidate about the knowledge possessed.  Candidate must persevere to correct them in truth and love no matter the attack as I, the Master, would do for the members of My Household.  The right candidate must live according to how I say.  There is no room for interpretation.  The proper candidate will be the role model for My Household and should not be a liar, swindler, cheat, thief, or con artist.   Candidate will be under higher scrutiny from members of My Household and will also be expected to be chaste or faithful to the spouse I give them.  They shall not lust after nor have immoral relations with any other members of My Household.  The right candidate will be proficient in the care-taking of all ages within My Household, whether they are infant or a century old and will dutifully carry out the tasks I assign to take care of them including member’s of candidate’s own household.  Salary: Varies, however, assurances are given that candidate will receive all that is needed to support this body and life.

Tough “help wanted” ad to answer, don’t you think?  I’ll tell you straight up, I don’t think I could do it.  It’s hard enough to be judged on the subjective, I couldn’t stand being a teacher for the same reason.  It’s even tougher when you go in knowing that you can get tossed around, and you probably will, and you do it anyway.  Oddly enough, however, there are many that don’t want to make this job about servanthood, but about power.  Instead of seeing this job as a lower position that serves others, it is seen as a power position that exerts power over others.  Which job is it?  The “ad” is for the Office of the Holy Ministry.  Most of us just call him “Pastor”.  Too many people see the office of Pastor as the “boss” of the congregation, exerting his will to see what is going to happen in the congregation and telling people about how things are going to be.  Women even argue that they are just as good at doing many of these tasks as men are, and therefore just as qualified to lead others as a Pastor as a man would be.  Better, in fact, because they are able to multitask better and are more relational than men.  If this was just about qualifications, they might have a point to their demands.  But the issue of women’s ordination goes far deeper than qualifications.

If women came at it from a purely “qualifications” perspective, I might not worry so much about the movement itself.  However, many women see the Scriptures speaking of women as the cartoon on the side.  They believe that the Scriptures have actually been used to abuse them, mistreat them, and scorn them.  Putting them down so that men can be built up and held up to the highest office, the one closest to God, the Pastor, the role of the servant.  I cannot help but see the irony in the argument that the women who have complained so deeply that they are treated as servants and slaves in the home, second-rate to their husbands, brothers, or fathers simply because they are female, are fighting so hard to get into a vocation of servanthood.  That irony aside, one must ask themselves honestly about the theology taught by someone who would believe that the Bible has been used, or misused, to demean, demoralize, and even abuse women.  I find it hard to see this image that has been portrayed all because the ordination of women has been denied.  In none of the references in the picture to the right does it state, “I do not permit a woman to teach, and if she does, beat her until she stops.”  The very idea is ludicrous even to those who state that the church bodies who do not allow women’s ordination are abusing women.  So, then the question is, is the act of saying no abusive?  If a child wants cookies for dinner and her parents say no and give her hearty baked chicken, steamed veggies, and homemade bread abusing her for giving her the very things that are good for her?  I should say not!

So why not ordain?  After all, the women who want to be ordained are not saying that they should have cookies, they just want the right to serve the dinner, right?  Here’s the catch.  Think back to the “ad”.  It is just as possible that in serving the dinner, the servant will be beaten because it wasn’t cookies.  Or perhaps the servant will have the food thrown at them and get burned.  Maybe the servant will be screamed at, profanities and everything.  Perhaps the servant will have to endure mental abuse, hearing that the food will not be consumed and the servant will be responsible for starving those at the table to death if the servant doesn’t give them what they want.  Again, thinking back to the ad, this is a tough job.  Someone’s got to do it.  Who’s going to do it?

It’s not that the women can’t.  The women could handle this the same as the men.  But God isn’t going to allow it.  Not because women can’t, but because He has chosen to protect them from it.  Why don’t all of us die as martyrs?  Why don’t all of us become missionaries?  Why don’t all of us become doctors and cure malaria abroad?  It’s not given to all of us to do that.  Only some of us are chosen to do those things.  Only some of us are chosen to become Pastors.  Those chosen are men by God’s own design, not because He wants to bring us down to a lower estate, but to honor us.  We are like Peter, not wanting Him to wash our feet, thinking that we should be the servants.  Christ reminds us that He came to be the Ultimate Servant, to die on the Cross.  To remind us of this, He has left many things.  Some of them He directly comes to us- through the washing of Holy Baptism He makes us His own.  His own Body and Blood are present in the bread and wine at the Holy Supper.  But there are other pictures.  Marriage is God’s picture of His union with His Bride, the Church.  The pastor stands in Christ own stead, male as Christ is male, breathing the Words of forgiveness as if Christ Himself had said them.  The pastor also takes the beating from the world, as Christ did.  The same attacks, the same heresies, the same distresses plague the pastor as they did Christ because there truly is nothing new under the sun.  And God loves me, a princess in His kingdom, enough to keep me away from all of it.  Oh, I indirectly get into enough being “the pastor’s wife” and “the pastor’s daughter”, but God protects me from the full onslaught as a honor given to me that I do not deserve.  Instead of fighting Him on it, maybe it’s time to be gracious and just accept it.

For the Children?

So, the Chicago Teacher’s Union is on strike and the kids have a free pass at the beginning of the year to not be in school.   There are many lessons to be learned here, but I don’t think it is the lessons that the union would like me to learn.  It used to be that we should fear the unions.  Treat the workers right, or the workers will refuse to work, the job won’t get done, the company won’t see profits, and everything falls apart.  It’s good to keep the union happy so that everyone goes to work, everyone gets paid, and all the work gets done.  It sounds like a great set-up.  But, with great power comes great responsibility and the ability to effect great change.  It also comes with a temptation.  The temptation to abuse the power.  Unfortunately, that seems to be what unions are more about these days.

I got to see much of this in my “battle ground” state of Wisconsin.  In the heat of all of the bitter recall efforts of my governor, I was able to hear many gripes and complaints which were supposed to relate these teachers back to the “everyday” person, but instead, highlighted the fact that, through my taxes, these teachers were getting a much better deal than I was through my job.  To be sure, I could also go back through my paperwork and get my teaching certificate up to date, join a union, and get the same benefits.  However, it wasn’t my jealousy that was the topic of conversation.  It was the fact that the teachers didn’t have a fair contract reflecting the same benefits that the rest of the middle class enjoyed.  The fact of the matter is that they get paid higher, have better retirement and medical benefits, and many more holidays and vacation days than I will ever see.  I do recognize that they are in charge of teaching our youth, however, there are many jobs that are difficult, including my own.

In my line of work, though, raises don’t come unless clear progress is made.  In fact, cost of living raises are even going the way of the dinosaur as the economy sputters.  One must really stand out in the crowd to show that they have what it takes to bring more profit to the company and is worth paying the extra money.  So, as the teachers come to their bosses, the taxpayers, for a raise, one must not only ask themselves why the teachers are deserving of a “fair contract” but what the teachers will be bringing to the table to warrant such a raise.  Since the teachers decided to come to the table as a whole, and not individually, they must be looked at as a whole and not individually.  Statistics on the entire school system must be taken into account.  Where does the school system rank nationally?  What are the drop out rates?  How do they rank in standardized testing?  Is there an accomplishment that the school system can brag about or that helps them stand out above the rest?

Next, the raise must be looked at against the needs of the business, or in this case, the needs of the government.  Can the government afford the raise being requested?  Is it possible to accommodate the request?  If the answer is yes with the help of raised taxes, one must ask themselves what the teachers’ motivations really are.  If they are really for the proper education of the children, they won’t put an added burden on their parents by raising taxes, thus adding to the stress of the home.  If the answer is yes, the government is big already and can afford it, one must ask if the educators are really in touch with the reality of our society today.  Our debt in this country is out of control and isn’t getting better.  Money is not made in a magic reservoir that can be automatically tapped.  It comes from somewhere.

Most importantly, the teachers must look to the example that they are giving our children.  We teach our children that it is not right to refuse to do what is asked of them by authorities.  We teach them that sometimes life isn’t fair but it is about what you make of it.  We teach them that if they don’t like what is going on, this is America, and they can go somewhere else or start something new to change it.  We teach them to work hard and be proud of what they have accomplished and do what is right,  even if no one notices, because one should always be proud of a job well done when doing the right thing.  We teach them not to be selfish.  We teach them to care about others and to take care of those who are smaller and who cannot take care of themselves and not abandon them when they need us the most.  We teach them to be truthful even if it might get us in trouble.  Telling the truth about a situation is better than perpetuating a lie and sometimes will get us into less trouble.

So, Chicago Teachers, tell us, is this really for the children, or for yourselves?

Being Responsible

At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I got into credit card trouble.  Between my family, learning to live within our means, and a lot of tears and heartache, we learned a hard lesson.  Credit cards are not magical little cards that can give you what your heart desires without consequence.  There is something to be learned from living within your means.  It took us many years to learn that lesson.  I think it is safe to say now that we have.  However, after going through something like that, you have to “rebuild” your credit.  It almost feels like a scam.  In order to be considered for things like a car loan, mortgage, even renting an apartment, and the best way to do that is to have a credit card again.  *Gack!*  I was so proud that we could get rid of them.  I started to research.  What about a green dot?  This way it is prepaid, you only spend money you have, and you can’t let the debt get out of control if it is based on the money you put in.  I found that they were full of hidden fees, wouldn’t actually help my credit score, and really won’t do the good I wanted.  Then I found something called a secured credit card through my bank.  The credit limit is the amount of money put in, but then the card works like a regular credit card.  We just got approved and I am proud.  This is a great way to rebuild the credit and keep us living within our means, as we are supposed to be doing.  So, it took us young kids about half a decade to get back on our feet and learn this lesson, but we are well on our way to making sure that we don’t make the same mistakes again and we have learned how to live within our means, save for the things that we need, and we are rather proud of what we have accomplished.  We may not live in a mansion, but what we have has been earned with blood, sweat, and tears.  So, if we can figure it out in a relative small amount of time, why can’t our government?

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.  It’s not about the credit you might have, it’s about the money you do have.  If your credit card bill goes over the amount that you have in your checking to cover it, there is an issue with spending.  This is true if you are a little family unit or a large government.  So, if your debt is outweighing what you are bringing in there are two options.  You can get a job that brings in more money or you can learn how to live within your means.  In terms of the government, they will turn to two things, cutting spending or taxing us more.  Here’s the catch, the tap of the tax will only last so long.  At some point the people will pay so much in taxes that everyone will need government aid.  At that point spending will go up because more people on aid means more money spent.  It’s a vicious cycle.  It’s a cycle our government has been on for a long time.  It hasn’t worked.  In fact, our debt is going up, not down.  Our taxes are going up, not down.  And the problem?  Still a big issue, look at the election speeches this year.  So what does work?  It doesn’t take rocket science, I don’t think.  I takes the same thing that it took for my husband and I.  Cut spending first.  What do you really need?  I think the government would find that if it backed off of certain programs there would be others to take its place.  It’s not that there aren’t privatized programs out there, it’s that the government likes the monopoly it gets out of being the only game in town.  It makes the politicians look good.  Obviously there are certain things that just can’t be replaced.  When my husband and I looked at what we could chop, the electric bill wasn’t on the list. Neither was food.  There are essentials.  That’s a topic for another post.  However, this election season, when the economy is not just “important” but on life support needing a decision on collapse because what we have now is unsupportable, and becoming responsible because that is what this economy needs to not just give our children the USA we started with, but to continue to allow us to live in the USA we were born into, think long and hard about the candidate you vote for.  Romney and Ryan have my vote.  Fiscal responsibility is Ryan’s legacy in my current home state.  I am proud to call him my Representative.  He calls for the tough choices I have already had to face on a smaller scale.  This is the way of the world.  It’s not easy, there’s no magic cure all that will give us everything we want.  It’s not about that anyway.  It’s about being responsible.