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  • Wayne Chasney

May Every Voice Be Heard

Let a woman learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. (1 Timothy 1:11-12)


              Do you still want to take the Bible literally?

              This passage, and a similar one in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35, has been used for centuries to maintain that leadership in the church is the sole domain of men. Women are not to be priests, pastors, deacons, or teachers (okay, maybe they can teach the children but that’s it!), but rather silent observers, quiet and faithful. Inasmuch as this has been kept within the church, the church has lost out on the gifts and contributions of half of humanity.

              Many have noted how this passage is contradicted by the work of women in the gospels and the early church. Women travelled with Jesus and his disciples and supported their work. These same women were the last to stand by Jesus at the foot of the cross, saw where the body was laid, and the first to proclaim the good news that he is risen. And the book of Acts introduces us to strong leaders like Priscilla, Lydia, Tabitha, and others.

              We would think that after 2,000 years we would have put aside this silliness that somehow women are less than men, or that their rightful place is in the home as wife and mother, but we have not. Women still run into glass ceilings, earn less than men in the same jobs, and endure male football players telling them where they will find their life’s joy.

              In order to thrive, the church today needs to embrace the gifts each person brings to our table. Excluding and silencing certain groups will not bring us any closer to the beloved community Jesus proclaimed. May every child of God be welcome at the table. May every gift they bring be honored. And may every voice be heard.

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