by Rev. Leanne Weber
Trinity Christian Center
First of all, regarding Sarah Palin's appointment as the Republican VP candidate: I can't even believe that in 2008, this is an issue for some people. Seriously - as a child of the 80's, the two things that were drilled into my head were:
1. Just say NO (to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco)...LOL!!
2. Women have the brains and the ability to do anything that they desire.
I assumed that others of my generation were taught the same. I grew up in the Assemblies of God, a denomination that has ordained women for ministry since its beginnings, and so becoming a pastor wasn't even a moral/ethical dilemma of "should I or shouldn't I?" [Well, okay, I did go back and forth on it a bit - but not because I'm female!]
I have always taken for granted that women can pursue a career. I have met and continue to meet many women who have successfully raised godly kids AND worked outside the home, whether in ministry or in corporate America.
As Christians, we are sometimes reluctant to use the term "feminist," because it is a word that comes with a lot of baggage attached to it. We hear the word and we automatically think, "pro-choice, lesbian, liberal, tree-worshiping pagan or Wiccan." So for my purposes here, I am going to define the term feminist as "someone who believes that God calls ALL people - male and female - to different roles."
Two of my dearest friends in the world are sisters - both pastors, both moms, and both married to non-credentialed men. One of them worked full time until her baby was born, and then accepted a "part time" position in a church (I put "part time" in quotes, because I don't think a pastor is ever NOT a pastor - you either are one or you aren't one. This friend simply works in a church that does not pay her a full time paycheck, and therefore, she has the freedom to work from home and not put her son in daycare while she goes to the office). The other friend, with both of her kids, went on a "partial maternity leave," in which she still conducted kids' church on Sundays, but stayed at home in the initial 6-8 weeks after her kids were born. Then, she went back to working full time in the office. Her pastor was extremely generous in that he allowed her to bring her kids to work until they became toddlers (at which time she voluntarily chose to keep them with a sitter during the day, so that she could get work done, lol!). Both of them are doing what works best for them - for their ministry - and for their household, and although their kids are small, I see happy, well-behaved, very much loved kids in BOTH families.
I used to stress about what would happen when I had kids, but I have confidence that my co-pastors (who raised two girls while co-pastoring!) and I will come up with a satisfactory arrangement.I believe I am called. Whatever shape that calling takes in the future (as in, if I am a children's pastor for life, or if God calls me to a different type of ministry!), I am called for life. God didn't give me an escape clause, "redeemable upon the birth of my first child." And if I am called, then God is going to give me the strength and resources that I need in order to do my job AND raise godly kids. I refuse to feel guilty because I will not be staying at home baking bread, sewing clothes, homeschooling my kids, and growing my own vegetables (Can I just say - we'd STARVE if I did that? Our tomato plants yielded a grand total of two tomatoes this summer - slightly larger than cherry tomatoes, and although delicious, not nearly enough to make the buckets of fresh salsa that I was envisioning when I planted them at the beginning of the summer, lol!).
I refuse to feel guilty that I am now 32 years old and have not yet had kids. Waiting until now to start trying was a conscious choice that Patrick and I made when we got married - for a lot of different reasons that are, frankly, no one's business but ours! And for those who say it's okay for me to be a pastor, as long as I'm "just a children's pastor," let me give you a little advice: First of all, you NEVER use the term, "JUST a children's pastor" around someone who is called to preach to kids. Second of all, I have a License to Preach from the A/G, which qualifies me to be any kind of pastor! Although to get me to be a senior pastor, it would require God coming down and telling me in an audible voice, and providing at least three references to prove it was really Him :o).
All this to say that I am perfectly happy to have a female VP candidate. But in true feminist fashion, I do not plan to look at the fact that she is female - but where she stands on the issues...beyond just the "hot button" ones like abortion, gay marriage, and the like. And for tonight? My husband is making me steak on the grill, so that's what I'm concentrating on at this present moment - ciao!