my earth is somebody's ceiling

I had a friend ask me the other night what the ratio of men to women would be in my ordination class.  I thought that it would probably be about 70% men.  We then went around the table and talked about the various ratios of men to women in each field represented at the table.  Architecture, Marketing, Accounting, Computer Sciences, Ministry.
Some talked about the absence of women in their fields when they began schooling.  It was eye opening for me, the youngster at the table, to think of a time when women didn’t even number among graduates in some fields.
You see, I look at this 70-30% within my total ordination class and I still think, that’s pretty good.  I know if I only thought through brand new ordinands, that would be a much more equal number but we are also talking about those transferring their credentials from another denomination.  Generations before us when women being ordained was much less common.
I’m thankful for the denomination I serve in because of their affirmation of women in leadership – all levels of leadership – in the church.  But there are still churches in our midst that wouldn’t dream of hiring a female pastor, or have a female Chairperson, or even allow a female to read the Gospel in service.  Even when I struggle to find my voice in a still male dominated denomination, as I struggle to see myself reflected in our own leadership and at our own events, I think of other traditions that are far more conservative.
I met a woman recently who was called to ministry.  I could see it in her presence, but she is part of a tradition that has been determined in their decision on women in ministry.  She spoke of the pain of being told she couldn’t serve both verbally and through the actions of the church.  That the gifts that she felt the Spirit had given her would go unused in a lot of ways.  But she was faithful to her tradition.  She had grown up in this tradition and wasn’t willing to give up on it because of this one discrepancy.  One that I would see as a deal break but that she is willing to suffer for her faithfulness.
Her story blows my mind.  I lament at the heartbreak she feels but I also applaud her courage to not run but to stand firm.  Not causing a riot but slowly and patiently allowing God to work through her in this church.
With all the gender equality work that has been done in our country and with so much left to do, I applaud women who have worked hard to have rights in the workplace.  I applaud women who haven’t been afraid to be the “token” or the minority.  And I applaud women who are still fighting.  As much as I think there is still a glass ceiling, even in my own world, I realize that the earth I stand on is someone else’s glass ceiling too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *