Why Not You? -- By: Jennifer Morrow

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 29:3 (Summer 2015)
Article: Why Not You?
Author: Jennifer Morrow


Why Not You?

Jennifer Morrow

Jennifer Morrow has been serving as the pastor of the Rowayton United Methodist Church, in Rowayton, Connecticut, since 2009. Jenn holds a BA from Milligan College, an MA from Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and an MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in New York City. She lives in Rowayton with her husband Gabe and their two daughters.

A Sermon by Jennifer Morrow

Why not women? This is the question we are asking this weekend.1 I would like to suggest a follow-up question: Why are we still asking this question?

Early in my college experience, when I was trying on churches like jeans or shoes, I attended a college-age class at an area church. There I was asked another series of questions, the same ones you hear in college-age Sunday school classes every fall: “What’s your name, where are you from, and what do you want to be?” I said, “Jenny Patterson, Jacksonville, Florida, youth minister.” The teacher, the associate minister at that church, said to me, “You want to be a youth minister, in this denomination?” And laughed. That was years ago, and if we are still asking this question, then it is still a laughing matter. Which, in my opinion, is no laughing matter.

Think of the litany of reasons you have been told that women should not be ministers: personal reasons, social reasons, family reasons, so-called biblical reasons, ad nauseum. It is tempting, when on the receiving end of this arsenal of reasons, to respond in a similarly systematic way: to line up all the difficult and affirming biblical texts with which we have wrestled, and then using our careful study and intellect, construct them into an impressive, water- tight answer to the question, “Why not women?” How satisfying it would be to answer back, tit for tat, why Joe Opponent-of-women-in- ministry is wrong. After all, we have scholarship, historical criticism, and contextual factors on our side.

Invigorating as the inevitable argument might be, I am convinced this is not always the way to respond. And I am convinced of this for two reasons. One was impressed upon me in a conference elective I attended several years ago entitled, “Biblical Answers for Every Question.” The cynic in me relishes the chance to debate such claims, so I went to the workshop to raise a little Cain. While there, our very question was asked, “Why not women?” Already working as a minister at this point, and aware that my profession was unknown to those around me, I settled in for the show. About ten minutes in, not long after a fellow participant cited something he called ...

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