Talking over ideas about bloggers and church history with a friend in a coffeeshop, I had no idea what trouble that conversation would get me in. I essentially said, "You know, if people care about orthodoxy, they should actually seek to empower women institutionally." (But it was an hour long conversation, so I suppose there was more to say than that.) My friend, who is an excellent editor, said "Hey, you should write on that for us," at which point, if either of us had any sense at all, we should have run screaming from the building in terror. But we didn't. I wrote the piece. We worried it may get some push back from complementarian men, who might think I was trying to trick them into ordaining women through the back door. And it did. A little. The piece provoked an expectedly large response. It resonated with many people. Most of the pushback came from female bloggers and some progressives, which honestly caught me a bit off guard. Anyway, I think I got more negative (and at times, vitriolic) responses to this (original) piece than most anything I've written, but it did indeed start a long, needed, broad, and ongoing conversation about women, church authority, ecclesiology, celebrity, "personal branding," and evangelicalism, and, for that, I am very thankful (And, as I said, it also got a lot of very positive responses, and in some cases, motivated institutional change and debate, for which I am also very grateful) .
As a word of caution, my argument in the original piece was unfortunately misrepresented and twisted by some (even if unintentionally), so please don't take someone else's word about what I've argued here. I will post the original piece and two follow up pieces together. I do not plan on writing on this again (if I can help it), but if you want further information on this argument, I'd point you to the interview section of this site, where there are several podcasts where I address the topic.
My desire in all of this is that the church is served and strengthened and that she have female leaders that are every bit as institutionally and ecclesially vetted, credentialed, trained, equipped, celebrated, sent, accountable, and empowered as men.
The original piece in CT Women: Who's In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?
The follow-up (a few days later) on my site: A Response
And finally, months later, this on the In All Things site (Thank you to In All Things for devoting a series to this topic and to Katelyn Beaty for helping me edit and shape this piece): A Response to the Responses: On Women, Celebrity, Institutions, and Authority