Keller and I finally found a church community we love! They’re diverse across generations, they’re friendly and welcoming, they live in intimate community, they believe in welcoming everyone.
Well, almost. They believe in welcoming everyone, but they don’t actually practice it. The church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America, and although this little church plant is wildly progressive within the denomination in that women are allowed to read scripture and pray in public, there are restrictions, and definitely no ordination. The reason it took us a month to figure this out is because the church prides themselves on accessibility, which includes not only being low-key about their denominational affiliation but flat-out hiding it. Also, this is a new church, so there’s no all-male board of elders yet to proudly display how important it is to be born without a vagina.
One man used the analogy that you can’t find a car that has every feature you want and none of the ones you don’t want. True, but this is desiring a car and being given a motorcycle — it’s functional, but it’s only half the full picture, and you can’t take the whole family.
Even as I was asking about the church’s affiliation and the pastor’s views on women in the church, I was aware of how unjust this is. Any of the men in my class don’t need to ask these questions — they might desire to, but it’s not essential for them.
The pastor thinks he’s part of the solution because he lets women read scripture in the service. His wife thinks she’s an advocate for women in ministry. But to tell yourself you hold beliefs while simultaneously furthering a system that opposes those beliefs (and accepting a paycheck from said system) is self-deception and self-soothing. To hide your affiliation from seekers and congregants is manipulation of the truth; they don’t know what their presence in that pew supports.