Today, I’m going to focus on gender, and it’s going to be dualistic. My personal belief is that gender is fluid, that we cannot just say brothers and sisters, that we need to add sibling. I know that many of God’s Beloved identify as gender queer, I have the utmost respect and do my best to pull myself out of the binary gender world I have grown up in. However, I hate saying this, binary gender is what this post is about. I truly believe that in my title gender representation means ALL genders beyond binary. I am willing and wanting to learn more, but as an ally, I will keep educating myself because it’s my responsibility to.
One thing that I love about my home United Methodist jurisdiction, the Western Jurisdiction, it that we do a pretty good job of regulating who is at the table. By regulating, really, self-regulating, we actively look for voices, opinions, gender, and ethnic background to make sure we have all of God’s Beloved at the table. We had a moment of gender equality for our boards and agency appointments/assignments, but then realized that we had work to do on race. It was a moment of church because no matter what the goal is, or the type of theology, God’s creation needs to be represented.
A few days ago, I awoke to a message from a good friend asking me to proof something and as it jolted me up, the lack of gender parity kicked me solidly in the gut. I knew I needed to break it down. First, if you haven’t read this excellent piece by the prophetic Rev. Jeremy Smith from a few days ago, please do. Before my first cup of coffee I was on the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) webpage reading this:
Scripture teaches that men and women are of equal value in the eyes of God. Accordingly, the church should treat women and men equally. We believe that both women and men are called to and gifted for ordained and licensed ministry, and both genders are able to hold any role of leadership within the WCA.
Of the 55 co-conveners that started the WCA, 6 were women. For you math nerds like me… that’s a whooping 10.9%. Let’s give the WCA the benefit of the doubt and say 11%.
11%. Yet, they list Gender Equality as vital. That both genders shall hold any role of leadership within the organization, yet this is not who is at the literal table.
Now, I’m going to say something and, damn I mean this, I hope the WCA proves me wrong. That when they meet on Oct. 7th, gender parity happens, that they do really mean what they say about equality. That they are almost to 50/50 in leadership because without women’s voices, women’s leadership, the blood, sweet, tears, deep faith of women, patriarchy wins and my sisters (who I disagree with) are hurt. Regardless of our differences in beliefs, I am committed to fighting for them.
11% is not even close to their priority of Gender Equality, so Wesleyan Covenant Association conveners, many will be watching you on issues of inclusivity, but this feminist will be watching how you treat women. I want you to prove me wrong. Like the other IRD, this IRD is watching too.