Friday, July 24, 2009

Satire: The Case Against Male Pastors*

*Note: The following post was inspired by an email I received from a blogger friend and is most certainly satire. I say this because, unfortunately, I'm not confident in the ability of some to recognize it as such. In this post, I satirize not only the evangelical arguments against women in ministry [by turning them on the matter of men in ministry], but also the cartoonish views of masculinity, femininity, and family perpetuated in evangelical circles. I hope you can smile just a little bit, even if the satire makes you uncomfortable. Also, know that you have permission not to like it. Not everyone enjoys satire and I don't expect everyone to enjoy this one either.

The question of who can and should serve as pastors within Christ's church has been a subject of controversy and struggle for hundreds of years. While most of God's people have resolved this issue and conduct their churches in a manner pleasing to God, many have wandered into iniquity and promoted the idea that men--yes, men--can serve as pastors. I have been alarmed at the number of my fellow evangelicals who continue to insist upon this perspective, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. As a result, I provide the following post for my readers: The Case Against Male Pastors.

In the beginning, the first couple faced their first real test by the Serpent of Old. When Eve was offered the forbidden fruit and she succumbed to temptation, the Bible attests that Adam was alongside her: "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." In this, the first chance for a man to shepherd another in the direction of righteousness, Adam fails miserably and caused the downfall of the whole human race. Clearly, therefore, God is permanently displeased with male shepherds and they are an abomination in his sight.

Despite the fact that our sinful, perverted culture has promoted the dangerous idea that men should be nurturing, kind, emotionally mature, and sensitive, we must resist the cultural shift and insist that men remain the role given to them by God. The nurturing, caring responsibilities of a pastor violate the God-given order, to which men must conform, no matter what "enlightened" minds say about it. Men should stick to the tasks that best suit them: shooting things, beating people up, and hunting. With such responsibilities to fulfill, pastoring is not an option.

The Old Testament is clear that men belong in the workplace so that they can bring home the bacon. Over and over in the Hebrew history, we see the men going to the fields to work the land or raise animals, while the women stay home, nurture the children, and keep the household in order. Men have no business managing the household of God when it is clear that women are the ones who have been developing, over thousands of years, the gifts and skill-set needed to do so expertly.

Furthermore, the testimony of the New Testament is that the closest disciples of Jesus were all men. Sadly, not only did a man betray Jesus for a sack of money, but all of them abandoned Jesus upon his arrest. It was the women who steadfastly followed Jesus to the cross and then came to prepare his body after his death. And, it was a woman who first saw and spoke to Jesus after his resurrection, and the first one to be sent to inform others (the male disciples) of the Good News. Clearly, women make up the most loyal and faithful disciples of Jesus and they were originally entrusted with the full Gospel message. Therefore, women should be the ones entrusted with the shepherding of other disciples.

Also, men's bodies are an obvious stumbling block for female parishioners. Just as Potiphar's wife was lured by Joseph's good looks, and Delilah by Samson's rippling muscles, so also Christian women are constantly tempted by the good looks of male pastors. Although there is nothing in scripture that denotes the male form to be a problem for their ministry, common sense says that they simply cannot perform the duties of pastor without causing a major problem in the thought lives of impressionable women. In this sense, when men voluntarily submit to the leadership of women in church, they find the best way to protect the minds and hearts of their sisters in Christ.

Moreover, the Bible is clear that men are to be the spiritual leaders of their homes. The hierarchy of the home is clear: God first, husband second, wife third, and children last. Each answers to their superior for matters of spirituality and none have more responsibility than the husband, who must answer to God for the spiritual state of his wife and kids. If a husband is being obedient to the Word and takes this sacred trust seriously, then he will not have the time or energy necessary to shepherd others. With the eternal souls of his family on the line, a godly man would not want to distract himself with the spiritual concerns of others. Therefore, since the wife is not responsible for her own spirituality, she is the one best suited for caring for the lives of fellow Christians as their pastor.

Finally, the advances of psychology and neurology have shown that men and women are very different in their minds and emotions. While women are adept at multi-tasking, managing relationships, and seeing the connectedness of all things, men tend to compartmentalize, blunder through relationships, and disregard the symbiosis of all things. Also, men are generally out of touch with their feelings, struggle to empathize, and do not naturally show mercy. This means that, through no fault of their own, men are ill-equipped to be pastors, for their mind and emotions are not set up that way. Rather than bemoan this limitation, however, we should rejoice in the profound differences between men and women and thank God for the clarity we have received through the sciences in recent years.

All of these arguments do not mean, however, that men are not equal to women. Of course not! Men and women are equal in essence, but different in function. Men and women are equal in their place before God, but different in their place in the church. It is not because of any defect or malformation in men that makes them unsuitable for the pastorate. It is just the way God intends it to be.

Men are still capable of having a vibrant and meaningful place in the ministry of God's church. Among other things, men can mow the church grounds, count the money, pick up heavy furniture, and eat at the potlucks. Men can be recognized on Father's Day, saluted on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, and acknowledged by the church on their birthday. With so many blessed ways to serve God's people, why would men desire to usurp God's order and pursue anything else?

Being a man is a high calling and it deserves our utmost respect. Let us women support men in their endeavor to pursue God's best, honoring their service to the church, even if they cannot serve as the church's pastor.

10 comments:

Thy Peace said...

I vote for androgynous pastors. Or eunuchs, in the worst case as pastors. Of course, if you did not realize this, it is satire.

In truth, it does not matter to me if a pastor is male or female. And this is not satire.

Thy Peace said...

NPR > Baptist Leaders Face Challenge On Women's Roles.
But Wade Burleson, pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Enid, Okla., says the leaders got it wrong.

"You are badly misinterpreting the word of God, and the consequences of your misinterpretation are enormous," Burleson says.

Burleson says Jesus treated women as equals, and if Southern Baptists ignore his example, the denomination will shrivel. Burleson believes there's a quiet underground movement within the convention to rethink women's roles
.

UnderMidnight said...

i don't actually think male pastors are stumbling blocks these days, for women at least, since they only seem to be interested in gay hookers and children.

Lory said...

This is too funny. And, a fairly accurate portrayal (in satire) of what I heard growing up....

All things aside, I am continually humbled that God would allow, no, wait..CHOOSE us as humans to be a part of his plan and mission.

Keith Schooley said...

This is hysterical! Wonderful, wonderful post. I only wish you'd had the nerve to leave off the explanatory bit at the beginning. Anyone too humor-challenged to get this (regardless of where they actually stand on the issue) is deliberately choosing to be offended.

Charlie Mac said...

This is great satire. Satire by definition must contain a strong element of truth. This piece does just that.

I liked it a lot.

(Now go back to your household Mommie chores!) ;-)

Jeff Flowers said...

Can you get this published in Christianity today?

Emily Hunter McGowin said...

Jeff, I don't think so. :)

Strider said...

As a former pastor I can wear all of this. Except the bit about being a 'stumbling block'. Neither me nor many pastors I know are much of a temptation to women. Love this piece Emily!

Steve said...

I love, LOVE this!!

(Dodging thunderbolts even as I type!)