In the comments to my last post TFH pointed out that Donald Sensing has his own blog. From a quick glance it looks as I would expect for a Traditional Conservative, with a focus on his military past, second amendment issues, etc. I was however interested in his background as a preacher since he was so adamant that there is no hesitancy by modern Christians to preach biblical marriage roles to women:
Well, I have preached on that a number of times!
Maybe the author needs to get out more.
According to his Bio, he is a United Methodist pastor:
I retired in August 1995, answering my call to ordained ministry. I began classes at Vanderbilt Divinity School the same month. I was awarded a Master of Divinity in 1999 and have served full time as a United Methodist pastor since 1997. I was ordained an elder in full membership of the Tennessee Conference of the UMC in June 2002.
Knowing this helps us understand exactly what Sensing hasn’t noticed as a United Methodist pastor, leading him to dismiss Spike by saying he needs to get out more if he thinks the church is shying away from teaching biblical roles for women. Just what is going on in the United Methodist Church that Pastor Sensing hasn’t noticed? For just one example, see the UMC’s “What We Believe” section of their website, including Every Barrier Down: Toward Full Embrace of All Women in Church and Society. Here the United Methodist Church explains that Christ was a product of His times, and that only modern feminist women could correct His deficiencies:
As the Church of Jesus Christ enters its third millennium, women continue to heed the call to transform the Church and the world in the name of the One who names us and claims us all for witness, mission and earth-shaking transformation.
As much as he was a product of his era-one admittedly marked by gender, class, religious, and community exclusion — Jesus Christ brought to us a ministry of transformational invitation. The Living Christ invited — and still invites — to a common table of grace, justice, and power, people who had never before been invited to the religious power tables, including women, cultural and religious minorities, social outcasts, and disreputable community sinners.1 And women, in claiming their voice in the new faith movement ignited by the Messiah, became leaders in expanding that movement and in pushing further for inclusion of Gentiles in what was then viewed as Jesus’ renewal of Judaism.
Women, in fact, advocated for and sought to protect the inclusive equality of discipleship called forth by Jesus. In this way, they challenged the Jesus movement to remain true to the new vision of human relationship that Jesus initiated by extending its table fellowship, sharing the message of the coming Reign of God and inviting Gentiles (non-Jews) to share in that Reign.1 Jesus treated women with dignity and respect, challenged the conventional sexism of his day, and forever redefined the role of women in the church and society.
As with many expressions of the Christian faith, it took The United Methodist Church and its forebears a while to capture Christ’s vision…
Since that time, however, God’s call to women as preachers, teachers, administrators, mission workers, treasurers, lay leaders, trustees, peace-with-justice advocates, voting rights’ workers, Christian educators, and evangelists has blown a fresh breath across the globe and throughout the Church on the wings of the Holy Spirit, despite the rise and fall of our denominational enthusiasm for addressing sexism, gender bias, prejudice, and bad theology. God has done great things with us and, sometimes, in spite of us. Among the victories celebrated throughout our denomination’s history:
Read the whole thing to see their list of feminist victories, along with complaints that the church members aren’t progressing fast enough. Most of this could have easily been penned by your local college’s Women’s Studies department, including:
- a number of United Methodist congregations in 2007 still flatly refuse to accept a woman as senior pastor and are especially opposed to receiving a woman in a cross-racial clergy appointment. In 2006, a racial-ethnic clergywoman assigned to an Anglo church was allegedly menaced by members to dissuade her acceptance of the appointment. In another instance, laity threatened to leave the congregation unless the woman pastor wore a dress instead of slacks to prove she was “a real lady”;
- in a 2007 survey of local United Methodist congregations, 18 percent said they do not have women serving as ushers (an increase over 2004), and local church chairpersons of the Church Council, Finance, and Trustees are still overwhelmingly men and not women;
- United Methodist membership in the US is declining among young women (and men) and people of color, particularly among those in low-income communities. According to a Wesley Theological Seminary survey, women under 35 comprise less than 2 percent of elders in our denomination;