Friday, June 08, 2012

REPOST - Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained

This post is the final one I'll be doing to tie in with "A Week of Mutuality," hosted by Rachel Held Evans this week (the week of June 4-10) at her blog, You can head to this link to learn more about the project. I had to think long and hard about this one, since I've already posted this list twice previously on the blog, and was reluctant to post it for a third time, as I don't think just posting and reposting the same material is a good way to keep a blog fresh and interesting. However, this week has already proven to be an exception, and I ultimately came to the conclusion that I needed to post the whole thing one more time, taking the opportunity to put the list in some context while providing a fitting closure to the week.

Without a doubt, the original post remains one of the most frequently visited items on the blog, which I've been writing since 2005. In April of 2006, it was even adapted for The Christian Century, somewhat abbreviated and under the heading "Ten reasons for NOT ordaining men." Whoever submitted it was nice enough to give me credit by saying the list was "adapted from," which prompted me to post a clarification, recognizing that readers of The Christian Century might not realize that I did not actually write it. In fact, I originally received this list back in 2002 from the late Dr. David M. Scholer during the "Women, the Bible, and the Church" class I mentioned in my Tuesday repost. Dr. Scholer informed us at the time that the list did not originate with him, either, and that he did not know the original source, but that he got it via an internet communication from others back in 1997. He made a few modifications to the list he received, and I made a few modifications of my own (most notably changing the reference to "basketball tournaments" from "cricket matches").

I remain glad that the list has proven so popular, although I am also aware that even a few feminists have taken exception to it (often apparently assuming that the list advocates "reverse discrimination," which is certainly not the intent, although I am somewhat sympathetic to the concern). It is, and has always been, my hope that this list may prove a humorous, tongue-in-cheek, attempt to shine some light on how silly some of the traditional arguments, i.e., those used by people against the full participation of women (and men) in all forms of ministry, truly are.

All that said, here it is:

Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained (think David Letterman)

10. A man's place is in the army.
9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be "unnatural" for them to do other forms of work.
7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.
5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.
4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father's Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.
1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

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