Someone needs to remind me to not get upset about patriarchy before bed, but that’s the thing about patriarchy, it’s just sneaks in and ruins the situation or moment at hand. I’m so over patriarchy in the here and now.
Last night as I let my house cool (Seattle has been pretty hot for us PNW folk without easing us into it), something amazing happened.
Hillary Clinton won the New Jersey democratic primary giving her enough votes to secure the democratic nomination. Yes, she is the presumptive nominee, but all roads point to #HillzYes. I have been a Hillary fan in the sea of Bernie supports in Seattle. In the midst of caucusing for Hillary and speaking about why she had my vote, I always remained hopeful (feel like I should name that as a spiritual gift) and knew others were showing up for her around the country, outside of the PNW Bernie bubble.
The first woman EVER in the history (his-story, so important) is making herstory! One of the largest platforms for any person could, and should, go to Hillary Clinton. In fact, the inactive Tumblr, Texts from Hillary is back with a victory text.
I should be riding this high, this shattering of one more glass ceiling and being mentally prepared for another glass ceiling shattering as well. I’m so excited I am close to the happy tears I get when pumped about the movement of society, then it happened.
As I was looking through Facebook posts getting pumped about the first woman president, I saw an article about my church, about General Conference, aptly titled The story behind the story of a “A Way Forward” the ultimate Methodork click bait. It contains what some thought was the mythical list of the small working group, secret Methodist council that led to “A Way Forward” or how I think of it, we froze The United Methodist Church in carbonite Han Solo style.
I had heard through solid sources during General Conference who was on this secret Hail Mary group, she wasn’t 100% sure, but the actual names she was able to rattle off were all men. I’m so over patriarchy in the here and now.
Here is the list:
Bishop Warner Brown
Patricia Hixon of JustPeace
Greg Bergquist, trusted lieutenant to Bishop Brown and scribe for the proceedings
I know we should be stepping away from gender binaries, but work with me for just a little bit. (Please note this is just a social analysis of gender, this group doesn’t have diversity of age, race, sexuality as far as my limited research shows.) The Bishop and his scribe are men. 2 men, 0 women.
From the, for lack of better terminology, right we have: Rob Renfroe of the Good News (man), Maxie Dunnam former Asbury Theological Seminary President (man), Tom Lambrecht of the Good News (man), and Patricia Miller of the Confessing Movement (women). 3 men, 1 woman.
The Centrists of the group are Methodist mega-church leaders, Mike Slaughter & Adam Hamilton (men), Tom Berlin of Floris UMC in Virgina (man), and Don Underwood of Christ United Methodist Church in Texas (man). 4 men, 0 women.
Last, but not least, we have the progressive church leaders: Scott Campbell retired clergy from the NE who serves as council during church trials (man), Randall Miller the Director of Global Religions at the Arcus Foundation in NYC (former professor of theology at PSR, and a man), and Matt Berryman of the Reconciling Ministries Network (man). 3 men, 0 women.
Patricia Hixon of JustPeace (woman) is on the list for conflict resolution. 1 woman.
We have 12 men, 2 women at the end of this exercise. This is clearly not a Justin Trudeau table. The left and centrists have no female voices, while only the right has a women’s voice. This mythical secret group was male dominated, and therefore not representative of the body of Christ, and the actual makeup of The United Methodist Church.
There are women in leadership throughout the spectrum of theological viewpoints/beliefs. Sure, they may not be as prominently placed, but maybe we need new people at this table. The voices we haven’t been listening to, the ones that bring a different angle, and can maybe break through to each of the theological groups. Also, I just need to say this: I’d love a woman Bishop to be the presider of this hypothetical group, Bishop Sally Dyck and her hot tips has my vote.
This list of men (and the two awesome women included) is what’s wrong with the church. Women aren’t being heard in the church, I just blogged about this yesterday! If we aren’t included at the table, why stay when we are essentially silenced time and time again.
I’m so over patriarchy in the here and now. I want women of all theological and political beliefs to have a voice. I rather have a discussion with disagreement about reproductive health, choice, and justice issues (any issues primary affecting women) with another woman, rather than a man.
Back to a happy space. As The United Methodist Church still follows the patriarchal models of the past millennia, one United Methodist woman is fighting, Hillary Clinton. I hope that she inspires the woman staying in the church to speak out, stand up, and refuse to have their voices be muted. Let’s do it, ladies!
My plea to the future President Hillary Clinton, a strong United Methodist woman, becomes this, please dismantle the patriarchy in our country and then come smash it in The United Methodist Church. Once more for posterity: I’m so over patriarchy in the here and now.