On Being Part of a What I Hope is a Movement

mjYBM48Sometimes it seems like things are never going to change.

What I mean is that when it comes to gender equality in the culture and the church, I’m tempted to feel like we’re either not moving at all, moving backward, or if we’re moving forward, it’s at a glacial pace.

As I’ve said before, when people ask me if I think this situation is getting any better, my answer is always a qualified yes. As in, “we’ve come a long way, and we have a long way to go.”

On the other hand, perhaps that’s just my cynicism talking.

This morning I started reading Jesus Feminist by blogger and writer Sarah Bessey. I’m only one chapter in, but so far, so fantastic. And to read Bessey and her forward writer Rachel Held Evans…

We’re in the middle of a nothing less than a movement toward gender equality.

Here’s Evans:

“These stories are followed by groans, by laughter, by tears, by commiseration, by celebration, and often by sacred silence. They are being told in living rooms, sanctuaries, Sunday school classrooms, coffee shops, campsites, rural villages, city streets, and chat rooms all around the world. In the company of one another, women are finding their voices, telling untold stories, and singing freedom songs. A movement is underfoot, a holy rumbling. And things will never be the same.”

Wow. Now here’s Bessey:

“The Table may be loud and dominant , but love and freedom and spreading like yeast. I see hope creeping in, destabilizing old power structures. I feel it in the ground under my feet. I hear it in the stories of the people of God living right now. We’re whispering to each other, eyes alight, ‘Aslan is on the move.’ Can’t you feel that? The kingdom is breathing among us already.”

All things considered, I like the thought of being part of a movement.

In fact, forget the glacier. Maybe we’re in an earthquake.

Just over a year ago, in this post, I reported that the church of England had tragically voted against ordaining women as bishops. Using that as an example of the gender bias entrenched in the church, I wrote, “In other words, we’re not just talking about a problem in the larger culture. It’s in our house as well. Indeed, in the clerical (church leadership) world in particular, male privilege continues to thrive.”

Now let me use the Anglicans for a different kind of example. As reported in Christianity Today several weeks back,

“The Church of England has voted to draft new legislation that would allow women to be ordained as bishops.

The church will draft its new measure to approve female bishops by November, but any language likely will not receive final approval until November 2015, Reuters reports. Still, Anglicans have been awaiting this vote to re-start the process since the Church narrowly rejected the appointment of women bishops by just six votes in the House of Laity, one of the Synod’s three chambers, last November.

Archbishop Justin Welby says the mood within the church has shifted since then, and the Belfast Telegraph reports that he is ‘extremely optimistic’ about the promise of moving forward.”

It’s important to note that this isn’t the end of the road for the Church of England. There is more process to come. But, one year removed from the no vote, it’s a significant step in the right direction.

Come to think of it, maybe it’s more than a step.

Maybe it’s a movement.

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