I don't intend bald belligerence here because these are surely sisters in Christ, some of whom I have met personally, and with whom we have the rare gift of altar fellowship. Heaven knows there is already more than enough animosity around our altars. But I will say that stumbling upon this a few months ago was just another one of those things that drove home to me how thoroughly our tradition has been infiltrated by worldly thought (especially the throwaway line in this Bible study about those benighted ages when "bearing children was a woman's primary duty"--perish the thought!). So I'm going to respond to a few things I came across on one of their pages, and wish there were some possibility of frank discussion of these matters among the Important Women of our Synod rather than disgusted brush-offs of perspectives which, you know, don't represent the real interests of women.
(Incidentally--two members of their 20 member advisory board appear to be of childbearing age, not counting the dudes. This makes perfect sense, since we in Babyville don't have much time for such things, particularly where leaving home is required. Then again, I don't see any indication of a viewpoint such as that espoused at this here humble blog getting much WLI air time. I feel like one of earth-birth feminists shouting that artificial wombs aren't feminist at all. Anyway, let's get after it.)
The “Parable of the Talents” told by Jesus in Matt. 25: 14-30 offers incentive, support, and encouragement for people who lead and labor in His service. His words of encouragement for using one’s talents for His kingdom have special meaning for women.
Indeed they do. I speak only for myself when I say that, having already had to do so to some extent, I would not relish offering the following: "Master, I went and hid your womb in the ground for most of its good years. Here you have what is yours."
Women are the majority of members in LCMS congregations, but they are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions among the laity on the congregational, district, and synodical levels. (Greenphasis added. Wait for it.)
Back on the debate team we would ask, "What is the harm?" If this contention is true, is it really a problem? Could it possibly be an indication of something good, such as an understanding and practice of human vocation which is entirely different from the patronizing cosmetic tokenism of the androgyny-loving world? While we're thinking debate-wise, how about a definition of "leadership"? And an argument as to why women need to have it?
Women’s voices are no longer silenced in our church choirs
Just for the record, and with no desire to lead the reader to wild extrapolation so keep your shirts on (unless the baby's hungry)--there is some precedence for the practice. You in the middle, with the frantically waving hand? Yes, we all remember Miriam too.
Women petitioned the LCMS for many years to use their gifts of administration to create a women’s organization within the church for the promotion of missions. Finally, in 1941 the Synod endorsed the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League.
The LWML (and the LLL) is known in LCMS technical terminology as an auxiliary ([Middle English, from Latin auxiliārius, from auxilium, help; see aug- in Indo-European roots.]). You know, helping. It's what women do. Like GOD!!!! as everyone loves to point out. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that if a bunch of chicks had started collecting money and mailing it to St. Louis even without official Synodical recognition, the checks would have gotten cashed.
Top-down styles of leadership are gradually being exchanged for models of shared leadership, where more people are empowered to make a difference. Definitions of leadership are less about titles and positions and more about action and influence.
Aha, so this is leadership! Well, women have never been active or influential in human history. All they do is determine the size of every generation of humanity (outside of God's opening of wombs) and attend it obsessively for its most formative years. Color me disenfranchised. And it's only fair to point out that three excerpts up the underrepresentation of women in leadership positions was cited as a problem.
Unfortunately, some women are hesitant and unsure of the proper use of their gifts of leadership among the laity of the church.
There's a statement we can all get behind.
many LCMS congregations report declining numbers of involvement by younger women. In a previous commentary for Reporter (March 2006), Judy Christian, director of child and family ministry for the Synod’s Board for District and Congregational Services, asked, “Where are the children?” Perhaps a follow-up question could be, “Where are their mothers?”
1. They're not mothers yet. They're too busy being grad students (mea maxima culpa).
2. They're at home with their babies, who are thoroughly unwelcome in churches which have bought society's view of young children as anomalous annoyances which must be kept from interrupting the rest of us who are enjoying real life and trying to get something out of this sermon about the cruciality of relationships in bringing people to Christ. They'll be back once the kids have reached a culturally acceptable age and know who Spongebob is so they won't get beat up at Sunday School.
3. They're sleeping in on Sunday morning since they're exhausted from both working and taking care of the baby all week long.
And--sigh--it wouldn't be complete without the liturgical dance team (scroll down). You just can't make these things up.
There's a big conference coming up in a few months. I'd propose a CSPP booth and nurse-in (and maybe a live birth? who's due in April?) so that we can all represent and, even more important, network. But I don't see much potential benefit to demanding our place at the table anyway (I'll make no conjecture as to the likelihood of being granted one), as the official institutional model is more the loyal opposition's bag (it doesn't count unless men say it does is the message I'm getting here).
Even more to the point, I'm afraid I'll be pretty busy in April providing leadership, ie action and influence, to Baby 1 who needs her hair braided, Baby 2 who can't read all the country names on his atlas yet, Baby 3 who could use some help with the buttons on her jumper, Baby 4 who is in the troubling habit of leaving the house unaccompanied, and Baby 5 who I'm guessing would really hate driving to Wisconsin. I will also be acting in relation to and influencing my husband, who struggles to find his socks sometimes, so call that what you will. I will do all this under the titled position of Wife and Mother. Don't worry, I won't be advocating for women's ordination while it goes down.