I've watched with interest the discussions about female bishops in the Church of England this week. I've also been reading some people's comments on it. Most of my friends are supportive, celebratory or silent.
But then... there are those voices that are none of these. Those that think women should be silent in church. Those that think women in ministry is a great big fat sin. Those that point to Eve as the temptress and say 'this is why'. I get that other people have different views. I understand where they have coming from. What I don't understand is where when I disagree with them they think I haven't thought it through. I haven't commented this time. The arguments make me tired. They question who I am and who I am called to be without talking to me about my story. They assume I am a flaky sort of Christian who doesn't believe in much really.
The thing is, as I read the Bible. As I wrestle with the really hard stuff in the light of Christ I see God as one who values women, gifts women, puts them in places where society wouldn't put them. I see women leading churches, women who are top in business, female deacons, female apostles, female world changers.
I know your argument but I don't get your refusal to listen. You say you are open to change but you won't engage in conversation. You just keep shouting.
The thing is, my gender does not define what role I can take, but God does. God has made me who I am. He has given me the gifts he has given me. He has made me very capable.
I like baking, I hate cleaning, I can't sew. I'll happily shift furniture and build flat packs. I love driving and I have good spatial awareness (apart from when it comes to door handles). I'm not at home making drinks, washing up, arranging flowers and teaching small children. I'm a leader, a preacher and as stubborn as stubborn can be. I am single. I'm likely not to get married. I'm OK with that. I am not missing anything but a bit of self discipline when it comes to savoury snacks.
What I do know in all of this is that God made me who I am. I love his word, I wrestle with it regularly. I thirst for knowing more. I want to be true to it. I want to serve God the best I possibly can. I believe I am called to lead a church.
So please think before you speak. Your words hurt. Your words question who I am in Christ. Disagree by all means, but disagree with grace and take me seriously.
(For discussions that might be helpful, Rachel Held Evans comes from an American evangelical background. She writes a lot about gender and the Bible. Her blog can be found here http://rachelheldevans.com).