Carol Howard Merritt, a Presbyterian pastor from over at Tribal Church blogged this week about her complaints about church. They are couched in a bit on what she would look for if she was church shopping and I think they are worth repeating.

She writes:

What would I be looking for? I love church, so I could go on and on about that. But, maybe I’ll start with the things that annoy me in church:

•Boomers trying to play rock music to “get the kids in.” You know, when a church starts a “contemporary” worship service, even though the word “contemporary” evokes bad 80s hair, and everyone in the praise band remembers the 60s. They’re really sure that’ll bring in the young families, but they never actually asked anyone under the age of 40 what they wanted in church.

She is noting what I’ve started to hear, that the Emergent Church folks are much more complicated (and theologically deeper) than that.

She also complains about sexism. Because she is a woman, I cannot relate. My wife would scratch my eyes out if I said that I could. And with an upcoming trial sermon, I am keenly aware that I do not face the same challenges she would if she was in my position. Because I am a tall, white, heterosexual, male, once married, with 2.5 children I know that I should expect a much higher percentage of yes votes that she should. Even if she can run homiletical circles around me the vote would reflect her gender. I’ve seen it happen.

Back when I was doing some consulting with congregations in transition I would tell them that if they excluded the woman pastors in their stack of profiles they were probably excluding some of the very best pastors in the bunch. Why? Because of the sexism in our church it is much harder for women to not only receive calls to ministry, but once there they are subject to resistances that I do not face.

In the ministerium I am going to (if I am elected) there are at least 3 woman pastors who I happen to know are excellent. I am looking forward to working with them. I trust that on this second matter, sexism, they will keep the ‘good ‘ole boys’ network a little off balance.

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