My son just got his first job. He started his apprenticeship as a hairdresser and he loves his work. He’s a great people person, and his boss says he’s a natural.
But one question that nags him: “Why do people make such a big deal out of me being a man in this job?”
We often ponder this question together as we reflect on the direction each of our lives has taken.
Of all places, I think the church should be leading the way on the issue of equality of gender.
This is especially true if we truly understand what Paul is writing to the Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28).
Yet somehow, we still have issue with women in leadership roles in the church.
I must say I don’t spend much of my day thinking about this. I believe that I am where God has called me to be, and I try not to get sidetracked. It really is a waste of time.
For this I can thank the many women who struggled to have theirs and future women’s voices heard; women who boldly challenged the status quo and showed that we have a different and valid way to lead.
I think women offer an approach to leadership that challenges our current understanding of power and authority. Women know what it is like to be treated as unequal within the biblical story, throughout the history of the institutional church and within most of society.
Jesus teaches a style of leadership that calls us to be servants of all, and we are still learning what this means for how we live as Christians in the world.
The risk for women in leadership in the church is forgetting where we have come from and ending up being seduced by power, position and prestige.
I suppose this is a risk we all face but I wouldn’t want to do anything else.
I have had some amazing experiences that my male colleagues will rarely have. I have been invited to stay for the birth of a baby and I have been asked to rub the feet of a woman in her last minutes of life.
The tears cried at both those events are accepted and expected as sharing the fragility of our human journey.
Yvonne McRostie is minister with South East Uniting Community in Brisbane
Photo : Yvonne McRostie