Donnerstag, 24. Juli 2014

"Feminism - Oh My God!"

I've felt the need to explain how I understand the term "feminism", and why I decided to use it in the name of my blog. The #FaithFeminisms synchronblog week gave me a reason to do that now.

Dieser Blogpost ist ausnahmsweise auf Englisch, weil ich ihn im Rahmen der "Faith Feminisms" (Glaube und Feminismus)-Blogwoche poste. Der Text ist inhaltlich eine grobe Übersetzung meines ersten Posts "Wo mein Herz schlägt".

I work as a journalist for a christian radio station. A few months ago, I covered a young leaders' conference. Looking through the programme of the weekend, it stroke me that none of the workshops and speeches - roughly a dozen - was held by a woman. During the interview with one of the promoters of the conference, I asked him about this. "Oh, I didn't even notice", he answered, and added defensively: "But anyway, we don't choose speakers because of their gender, but their competence and enthusiasm." 

How can a church hold a conference to inspire young leaders and ignore the women amongst those? Young women need role models; authentic, bright women they can identify with, in order to grow in their faith and develop leadership skills. 

This is not a minor issue. It's about making it clear to young women that they are gifted equally as men, that God calls them equally as men, and that the church needs them equally as men. If people "don't even notice" the lack of women opinion leaders (and, I'm sure, often this isn't even because they follow the complementarian concept of women and men in church, but just because they don't care), it's a shame.

This is not the only example I could tell. In my work, I find it difficult to find female interview partners in the evangelical sector. Much more than within the protestant church in Switzerland. Many christian women stop pursueing a career when they start a family - even today, and that's probably the main reason why they're often missing in boards of christian institutions and churches. They limit themselves to voluntary work instead of looking for senior and professional positions within the church. 

Sadly, I've also talked to several women who felt that it was their calling to study and teach, but who had trouble finding a job as a pastor. One lady even left her (evangelical) church because it wasn't accepted that she wanted to become a pastor, and joined the anglican church. I meet too many people who believe that Paul forbidding women in Ephesus to speak in church is still binding. And I am absolutely frustrated that the growing, modern church in my town still only employs male pastors based their association's interpretation of the famous 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

This is why I am a faith feminist.  

Feminism means to raise awareness for the lack of women on evangelical podiums. 

To encourage women to study theology, to preach, to become a pastor if they feel God calls them to. 

To eradicate the absurd fact that in some evangelical churches women are allowed to lead worship, teach children, teach adults in small groups, be a missionary, write books - but not to preach.

Feminism means urging churches to actively encourage women. And I'm not talking about the "You-Are-Beautiful-And-You-Are-Loved"-Seminars. I'm talking about hard core theology and intellectual discussions, about pastoral positions and church councils.

Feminism is about encouraging women to raise their voice and NOT remain silent in the churches. 

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