A new hope


(May 22, 2008 – Source: Paul Kane/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Today, I checked my phone compulsively for tweets from Connor Park and Dianna Anderson, who were updating the Twitter world on the status of the Church of England’s synod on whether or not to ordain women bishops. Today, I thought that there was no way women could lose this battle. No way.

But I was wrong.

Today, I sat in the student union, and a couple of men (who I can only describe as “dudebros”) sat down near me. As I received the disappointing news via Twitter that the Church of England had decided not to ordain women bishops, and had to fight back tears of anger and discouragement, these “dudebros” started a conversation about–what do you know?–women.

Or should I say “hot bitches who give them boners,” since that’s how they described the women they were discussing.

I’m not a part of the Church of England. In fact, I’m not really a part of any church. And I wasn’t one of the “hot bitches” that the dudebros next to me were looking at on one of their iPhones.

But those events, especially  how they happened to coincide, were reminders…

Today, I cried in public because I wondered if my voice mattered at all. I cried because I even though I often feel men’s eyes on me, I doubt they really see me. 

They hear, but they don’t listen.

They gaze, but they don’t see.

It would be so easy to give up, and I know that’s what they hope for. They hope for a day when the oppressed follow their rules and stop preaching and prophesying. They hope for a day when the oppressed give up trying to be human, and settle into their “roles” as sex objects.

They hope…

But we hope for something different.

“Let justice roll down like waters…”

This isn’t an area where we can agree to disagree. This isn’t a place where both sides are valid.

This is a case of justice vs. injustice.

For our hope to be realized, we must live in antithesis to their hope.

We must speak.

We must preach.

We must minister.

We must affirm our humanity.

We must demand respect. 

We must call our oppressors out of the way that leads to death–the death of half the church, the death of the humanity of both men and women–and invite them to a new hope. 

Don’t give up, women.

“The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice.” 


9 thoughts on “A new hope

  1. Sarah. Very good piece, beautifully written. Not part of the C of E myself either but there was a palpable sense of disappointment as these sad, foolish, scared old men voted against letting women into their club. I can only say that in the UK there’s been a great decline in attendance at many of these Anglican churches who have held fast to the Pharisee like rules and regulations that make up this institution. As part of a School of Ministries project I’ve been studying Sarah Grimke, She was a fabulous South Carolina woman who took the Quakers to task, from the inside for not supporting women preachers and abolitionists with claiming the believe in equality of all. I discussed this issue with Roger Ellis, a fabulous pastor/preacher from the south coast of England and he said this “The entire purpose of the Bible, Jesus and Christianity is to return the world to the standing it had in terms of an intimate relationship with God, God gave Adam AND Eve dominion. That’s what we’re aiming to get back to. All I can say to that is Amen.

    Keep writing, keep fighting and rely on God’s strength to get you through. You’re a God pleaser, not a people pleaser and that’s a good thing.

  2. This is beautifully written, Sarah, and I join you in a sense of disappointment and sadness. But I also hold out hope that a re-written version of this statement may someday make it through the winding ways of bureaucracy and open the door a little bit wider to the rush of God’s Spirit, making room for women at all levels of leadership in the CofE. The Wind will not be held at bay forever.

  3. Pingback: Stuff I’ve Been Reading

  4. But I keep getting told (by people on both sides of equality issues) that we live in an age of enlightenment!

    There’s plenty of light. Some people simply refuse to take off their dark glasses. Some even seem to be gettiong their corneas tinted.

    I hope you are able to forgive the people wh need it. I hope I am. That doesn’t mean we have to trust them. And I still hope they get awakened, whatever that takes, and fast… before they screw anyone else up.

  5. I mentioned your blog in this one and thought you’d enjoy reading.


    Thanks for your blog and would be happy to have your thoughts and comments on mine.

  6. Pingback: No Women Bishops, Lack of Gender and Race Equality somehow = Hymns, Hope, and Praise « Wild Wisteria

  7. They shot themselves in the foot because if they are to survive they will need people like you.

  8. Thank you for your blog. I am an ordained ELCA pastor, we have been ordaining women longer than I have been alive. We have had and continue to have women serving as bishops. But I have often been asked, in my collar, can women be pastors?

  9. Someday what seems inevitable and evident to us will be made real.

    Someday, the whole of the People of God will serve and lead on equal footing,

    Someday, we will all be in communion together, male and female, people of all colors, immigrant and native, gay and straight and neither, able or disabled

    Though that day is not today, I thank you for your voice and for your hope in the Someday that we all work toward.

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