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Reclaiming feminism

I HAVE a lot of respect for the feminists and feminist theologians, both men and women, who have worked hard for the privileges we enjoy today.

Yes, I used the ‘f’ word – feminism.

The word gets a bad wrap these days.

Feminism is about defining, establishing and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and opportunities for

Feminism in the church is not, as one Australian church website said, “urging women to sin against God’s plan by usurping authority over men in the religious sphere”.

Rather, it is, in part, the living out of Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If you look around our world today there are women in some of the most powerful leadership positions, not just because they met board quotas, but because they earned their position.

By the end of this year the Uniting Church in Queensland will be in a new and interesting position.

The majority of people in leadership across the life of the Synod will be women.

By the end of 2011, the Moderator, General Secretary, CEO of UnitingCare, and Superintendent Minister of Wesley Mission Brisbane will all be women.

There are numerous women in ministry, as presbytery ministers, and Synod office staff (including in the Journey office).

The editors of all but one Synod and Assembly magazines are women.

And have things changed drastically over the years?

As the Uniting Church is a series of interrelated councils I suspect the influence of women has always shone through.

Many of the people I spoke to for this edition agreed that the Church has been at the forefront of the women’s rights movement over the years, but that there has been a general lack of passion for continuing to push those boundaries.

The use of inclusive language in worship is possibly the most obvious place to start, yet so often we forget that it is still

I recently heard a child say, “God is not a boy’s name”.

Let’s not make it one.