As an Asian American woman, I grew up thinking that I needed to wait my turn in certain ways. Even though I think I’ve always been a bit outspoken (my parents used the tagalog word “madalal” or talkative) I was always aware that I was supposed to wait my turn before speaking. I tried. Honestly, I did.
I somehow carried that idea into ministry. I told myself I was too new to ministry when I was fresh out of seminary so I waited my turn. I told myself that the older white guys in my organization would see my hard work and give me a turn at the appropriate time. Sometimes they did. My close white male colleagues identified my speaking gifts and created a pathway for me to speak at the large summer camps. This was a position usually reserved for senior male – usually white – leaders. This wasn’t always received well by my more conservative colleagues who didn’t believe women should speak at these large-format, high-profile (at least within the organization) TEENAGE camps. For the life of me why speaking to teens was so offensive, I still won’t fully understand, except that it was again a high profile position reserved for the patriarchy. But I had really great men go to bat for me and take the hits so I could focus on my role as speaker. I am thankful for Kenny and John because allies are important in our journey.
But I didn’t always have Kenny and John and I couldn’t always wait for someone to offer me the mic to speak. Over the years I learned that sometimes I can’t wait to get permission from a white guy to do the very things I was created to do. God may have already told me “go” and someone else’s inability to see or believe God’s call on my life is just not enough to slow me down. I don’t have time to wait for your permission brother. So sometimes I just need to go ahead and be me and the rest of the nay-sayers will just have to catch up with what God is already doing in me and through me.
I try to limit my reading of John Piper because the doctor tells me I need to watch my blood pressure (women of color this is a real thing we need to watch). But, since he posted whether or not women should be seminary professors, I had to at least read his thoughts. To be honest, I found the article confusing in terms of how he structures his argument, but the main gist I believe is that yes women can teach, but we have to be sure not to pastor because that would be unbiblical. Or maybe women can’t teach. Again, it was a bit convoluted so I got lost in his argument for teaching, but he for sure doesn’t like us preaching. I imagine that saints like Deborah, Esther, and Mary mother of Jesus are probably rolling their eyes at that comment, but that’s more than this one blog can handle for the moment.
Consistency seems to be important in this article, so I should at least be consistent in my response; I was made to preach AND teach. I’m not saying I’m stellar at either, it’s a craft I need to keep working on, but as far as my call, yes both. Mary and the other women were the first to tell the guys Jesus had risen. They were the first proclaimers of the Good News. Whether in class, or on the pulpit, or on a stage at high school camp women have also been used by God to share the Good News.
Really the only point I want to say is, “I’m not asking for your permission Piper.” God and I already have had many conversations over the years about my life and considering the things God has done to get me to this point I’m going to keep believing that being a seminary professor just might be a distinct possibility for me in the next few years. It’s okay, you might one day catch up with the idea that God has and does call women to teach and preach, but for the moment, I don’t have time to wait because I have a lot more books to read to prepare for my class.
To seminary professors Dr.’s Amy Jacober, Chanequa Walker Barnes, Jude Tiersma Watson, Young Lee Hertig, Kara Powell, Kelly Brown Douglas, Michelle Alexander, Kenda Creasy Dean, Bo Karen Lee, Love Sechrest, Marianne Meye Thompson, Mary Glenn, Erin Daufult-Hunter, Susan Maros, Roberta King, Kirsteen Kim, and Christena Cleveland THANK YOU for being outstanding seminary professors and not waiting for permission to live out your call.
To my other future and present female seminary professor/pastor friends keep going. They’ll just have to catch up later.