This morning I wake to find myself remembering again that face of a woman being “Commissioned” to serve while at the same time, in the same room, on the same platform, men were being “Ordained to serve.” I am not sure if I understand the difference; however, I do recognize the implicit suggestion of racism and the explicit example of sexism in the act of commissioning women while, at the same time, in the same room, on the same platform ordaining men. Maybe I am recalling this scene because it feels like domestic abuse.
If domestic abuse says that the abused suffer “willful intimidation . . . [and] other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control [which] includes . . . psychological . . . [and] emotional abuse,” then I got a question.
Is it emotionally abusive to tell women they cannot be fully brought into the family of ministry because of their gender? Help me, I am having a blues moment; I am thinking about the Black American who was enslaved because of a biological gift from God. Women are being ostracized also because of a biological gift from God. This folk ain’t right!
Hear me: let’s meditate upon the abuse that causes people to argue and hold pointless meetings on the subject of a woman’s right to be fully honored in her own house of service. This feels downright diabolic; imagine this: God has called your church sister out to do His work. She cannot receive the full benefits of her calling because those operating with a hegemonic consciousness are saying, “NO!” How many women are being nailed to a gender inspired lynching tree of mental abuse? Every time a sister stands up to deliver the word of God in a Seventh-day Adventist Church, she must think: My brothers and sisters say this about me: 1381 representatives of the church say it is unacceptable for me to serve as an ordained pastor. And yet, when I stand before God as his servant, I know He has ordained me.
Where is the objective analysis of women’s ordination? What would happen if supporters of the called woman of God staged an economic boycott similar to the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955? How must called women be honored and, more importantly, respected while sundry religious hegemonic oppressors seek to strangle the voice of the called woman?
Gosh—either women are called by God or they are not. Do we need to talk about this another minute, hour, day, month, year? Let’s not be naive. Conversations around social and religious equality and justice can not be pushed under a hegemonic rug.
As the filmmaker Spike Lee says, the Seventh-day Adventist Church needs to “DO THE RIGHT THING!” A mother of the church told me once that there are just “two forces out there honey: God and the Devil.” Are those trying to strangle the voices of called females confused or are they down -right, deep down, devils?
Question: Who’s calling the women? Is it God? If so, I suspect God yearns that the church’s sundry hegemonic Christians walked back into the Holy Spirit, do “the right thing” and vote to ORDAIN the WOMEN of GOD who are CALLED by GOD. Don’t play games with the lives of women. Just ain’t right, nor is it a heavenly example of how to treat the sisters of the heavenly cloth.
Hey Hegemonic oppressors, Do The Right Thing. It is downright evil, and many lives are being lost as you church oppressors continue to lynch the spirits of called, dedicated women of God. Take the noose from around these called women. Stop the lynching of the female spirit. Don’t do the women like you did the Black body in America; that is domestic abuse.
Did God call women? Then “shake loose.” Don’t be like the old lynch-master—putting spiritual and psychological nooses and chains around the necks of called Women of God. That just isn’t right!
Ramona L. Hyman, PhD