Missing out on theology

Adrian Warnock is amazed: Theology Is For Women, Too.

Oh wow, thanks Adrian for so kindly pointing out that the other 50% of people created in God’s image are able to think about God – I would never have guessed without you pointing it out.

Of course what Adrian means is not that women can do theology, but they can do it in a way acceptable to him as a devotee and practitioner of male headship (oh yes, and of course their books are not for him to read but for his wife).

In fact there are many examples of women theologians, here are a few that have influenced me:

  • As bloggers:  Pam and Sally are two favourite Methodist theologians in my blogroll. With Maggie a favourite non-Methodist (Pam and Maggie being ordained ministers and Sally on the way)
  • As authors I have been particularly blessed by Margaret Silf and Sandra Schneiders
  • As a Biblical scholar Dr Ann Nyland continually blesses me with her translation "The Source"
  • As teachers of theology: Rev Judith Maizel-Long, Rev Angela Shier-Jones, Rev Jane Leach
  • As mentors: Rev Sam Funnell
  • As pastors: Rev Pat Creamer, Rev Jane Ashplant, Rev Shiela Purdey
  • As my bosses boss (ie Northamton District Chair): Rev Alison Tomlin
  • As colleagues: Pastor Rosemary Eaton, Pastor Sandra Willet, Rev Shena Bell
  • As partners in training (& friends and colleagues): Rev Barbara Fairburn, Rev Glayne Worgan, Deacon Jan Sutton, Rev Jen Smith, Rev Nutan Suray, Deacon Ruth Shepherd, Rev Mindy Bell

What Adrian means is here is a woman that can do theology that is acceptable to a male complementarian. A woman doing theology who does not question mens role as leaders, as head of the family, as the only people able to be ordained, or be an elder. A woman doing theology who does not touch on justice, because that would open a whole can of worms.

And yet despite the sachrine sweet theology of a woman teaching about submission in many guises there is actually stuff for all people (perhapes especially men) to learn from a narrowly focused blog about attempting to live out the gospel in an environment many of us would consider unjust. We can all learn more about grace and humility etc (yours truely maybe especially) – so you may find Practical Theology for Women interesting, as long as you don’t imagine that this is all the theology women can do. [update] See another post responding to Adrian: Do Female Theology Bloggers Prove Egalitarianism is Right? | :: in.a.mirror.dimly ::.

I will just end with one last comment, if feminism is a dirty word for you then you really do not know what you are missing. Feminist theology is (among other things) a fantasticly helpful way of blending multiple ways of examining scripture & the world. Applying multiple disciplines to a text is so illuminating. My first exposure to feminst theology was so liberating and exciting and challenging and life-giving that I would encourage everyone to get some, even if you do not accept the equality of the writers.

11 thoughts on “Missing out on theology

  1. PamBG

    I confess that I still don’t understand soft-form complementarianism. I don’t understand the whole ‘creation metanarrative’ that goes behind it.
    I always feel that complementarianism – soft-form or hard-form – is trying to squeeze individuals into cookie-cutter gender roles.
    Reading another soft-form complementarian blogger who has been blogging on the subject of ‘Godly manhood’, I also get the impression that he’s giving a lot of good advice on Christian discipleship, but the majority of it doesn’t seem particularly gender-specific.

  2. Anon

    I could go on for hours on the role of women and my frustrations. but as a women in a New Frontiers church who loves the Word of God, I feel totally frustrated by the implication that a women can write/blog on theology only for other women. I want meaty stuff aimed at everyone and women and men who believe that gifting is not limited to a particular gender and that women can only have input in to other women. When will things change??

  3. Dave Warnock

    There are Churches that are evangelical and which have an egalitarian view.
    For example the Methodist Church is egalitarian and while covers a spread of theology includes many evangelicals with some churches being more recognisably evangelical.
    You will also find the combination of evangelical and egalitarian among churches in the CoE, URC or Baptist traditions (or many other local churches).

  4. Anon

    Thanks for your response. Sorry for the brief rant. At the moment I believe that the church we are in is the best place for my family and me. I have to keep on believing that it is God’s church and that he is doing the building. Therefore churches can change there position on issues by getting fresh revelation.

  5. Dave Warnock

    Sure I agree that God can change Churches (otherwise I could not be a minister with any integrity).
    I will continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to bring about change that will mean my own as well as other Churches will become more Christlike.
    God has changed us before (eg on slavery) and has already changed many on gender, may the Church you belong to also be changed.

  6. Sally

    as a self confessed feminist, much of my theology comes from that direction, it is a form of liberation theology, and itself has many strands.
    I get really mad when people consider that my thinking and preaching is suitable for women only.
    Like Pam the whole meta narrative behind “soft” complementarianism elludes me…
    I refuse to allow the kind of thinking Adrian propogates to getme down. I will keep thinking and preaching and blogging!!!!

  7. Dave Warnock

    I am sorry but it seems such a terrible waste for a Church to have as a committed member someone with a degree in theology and not be willing to consider them for a role as an elder.
    Why would God have given your wife those gifts and abilities if they could not be used to assist in guiding the Church she belongs to?
    Yes on the other blogger. I agree, I left comments on the first few posts to the effect that there was nothing specific to the male gender in any of the points he made (and as you say that has continued through the whole series).
    I got nowhere.

  8. ed cyzewski

    Thanks for the link.
    I’ve been amused that Mark Driscoll endorsed Practical Theology for Women, which means he had to have read it. I hope he didn’t learn anything, lest a woman instruct him… :)

  9. Blue, with a hint of amber

    Why would God have given your wife those gifts and abilities if they could not be used to assist in guiding the Church she belongs to?
    Are you suggesting only an “elder” can assist in guiding a Church? I don’t buy that whatsoever.
    There are several people with theology degrees (men and women) in the Church, including retired pastors from other denominations. Lots of people help to shape and guide the Church.

  10. Dave Warnock

    “Are you suggesting only an “elder” can assist in guiding a Church? I don’t buy that whatsoever.”
    Yes of course I am, everybody else is completely worthless.
    Oop’s maybe I got a bit confused there.


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