Some will consider the event that occurred yesterday to be astounding or ground-breaking. I guess you could say it was. But, the event I am talking about may not be the one you are thinking about.
Yesterday, our worship was led by a gifted, committed, artist who happens to be female. However, what was remarkable about the event was how completely non-plussed I was by it. At no point in our lengthy time of worship did I think about the gender of anyone participating. At no point did I gaze at the stage in wonder, self-satisfaction, or angst. Why? Because this is what we do. It is what we have been doing. For me, if there was ever a moment of novelty, it has completely worn off.
Several years ago the leadership at our church made the decision to embrace the gifts of all people. Females now regularly pass communion, lead worship, offer prayer, lead us in communion meditation, and whatever else we are doing that particular Sunday. Our worship minster is female. A female does not regularly preach, but only because I do that.
In other words, while I am moved by what happened in Stamford, Connecticut yesterday, http://gal328.org/good-news-naomi-walters-named-minister-in-residence-at-stamford-church-of-christ/ I see it from a different angle. I see it from down the road a little way. And from that perspective I would like to say two things.
First, because Churches of Christ are supposedly autonomous, there are many times that strides are made and yet we are unaware. I thought as our church did this we were moving into uncharted territory, but along the way I have found others who are down the road a bit. It gives me hope that there are many more out there, I just don’t know it yet.
Second, from down the road a ways I can see a truth I did not get at the time. This type of thing does not happen because we study enough. It does not happen because we think critically and have lots of great meetings. Those things matter. But this only happens because of guts. All the studying in the world which makes you sure this is the right thing to do will not get you over the top. At some point, you have to have guts. You just have to leap. I know of churches who have been studying this issue for twenty years, and yet are still wary. That is okay. I am not judging. But what is needed now is guts, not another committee.
I am reminded of a story that Jesus told. A man had two sons. He asked them to do some work for him. One said yes he would, but didn’t follow through. The other said no, but ended up doing the work. It is the second one who actually is obedient.
Too often we are like the first brother, we talk a great game. We make posts on Facebook and on blogs. We decry the status quo. We make arguments that are both scholarly and passionate. But it all leads nowhere. Better to be like the second brother. He is found obedient by what he does, not what he says.