The tiny church I grew up in was run almost entirely by women. Women led worship – ran meetings – taught Sunday school – they did almost everything (being the pastor would come later). My mom was a working mother – and this was in the 1960’s and beyond. I didn’t grow up with the idea that there was such a thing as Women’s Work and Men’s Work.
In my ministry, I have been blessed with knowing many amazing men and women who did all of these things, and did them well. On the few occasions that I had to work with all men on projects (mostly much older than me), I was astounded at the difference. You can disagree all you want, but when men who are used to being in charge run things, they are often really difficult to deal with. It becomes their way or the highway.
Diversity makes things better. That’s it. Having young and old, men and women, all races and cultures, different genders and sexual orientations, all working together – it makes the world better. Young people are not the future – they are the present. Older people are not irrelevant – they have experience and knowledge and wisdom. Everyone brings something to the table – and everyone should be heard.
I am really tired of older men – and I will be one of them some day – thinking they can control everything. Thinking they can say whatever they want about women (or men!). Thinking they have rights that others don’t. They aren’t the only ones who do this, but if you follow the news, they seem to be the ones who are getting caught. This is not a blanket statement about all men, so please just settle down – and smile (you are so handsome when you smile). Men – especially white men – have had their way for so long that now, when others speak up, these men feel oppressed. Your aren’t being oppressed – you are just being asked to take turns and share. Why is that so hard?
All of us have our positives and our negatives, and once we admit that, we can work with others who know more than we do in some areas, understanding that we have gifts too. It is long past time to grow up and respect everyone for what they offer. If we don’t, we will be left out. And, maybe, that would be fine. Peace!
Steve Ohnsman has been the pastor of Calvary UCC in Reading, PA since 1999. He has a BA in Religion & Philosophy from Wilmington College (OH), an MDiv from Drew Theological Seminary (NJ), a D.Min in Christian Ethics from United Theological Seminary (OH), and a PhD in Leadership from Alvernia University (PA).