January 31, 2020
Scripture: 2nd Timothy 1:5
I’m reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I’m sure that this faith is also inside you.
Thought for the Day: This Sunday, I will begin reflecting on the history of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), specifically looking at women in leadership and ministry. Now I have only been a participant in this movement for the last 53 years (about a quarter of our denomination’s full life), but in my experience, women have played a significant role. In fact, our denomination was the first to call a woman to the position of Executive Minister (we call it the General Minister and President which would be our Pope, but with a lot less power). Her name is Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, and she served in that position for 12 years. Her time was followed by the first woman of color to head a mainline denomination, Rev. Teresa Hord Owens, who is currently serving. Our denomination is far from perfect, for even though more women than men are going into ministry these days, a very small percentage of our larger congregations have a female Sr. Minister…though that is slowly improving. I raise this with cautious pride, recognizing how I was shaped by strong women of faith, including my mother, Lois (today is her birthday). I do not remember a moment in my life when I felt a discomfort around the thought of a woman as a leader or minister in the life of the church. I recognize that others are stepping away from denominations where women have been excluded from teaching men or preaching, and so for some of these people, the thought of women clergy is very new. Though as I referenced two days ago in my devotional, the Book of Joel speaks of the Spirit being poured upon both men and women slaves. There is no asterisk next to the word “women” that suggests the Spirit is poured out in a limited way, limiting them to serving quietly behind the scenes. The authentic faith of both Lois and Eunice was the source of the gift that spilled into Timothy. I don’t imagine these women to be quiet or subservient or docile. I imagine them to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-empowered – shaking up the world with the Gospel, with no asterisk suggesting a minor or subordinate role. Thank God!
Prayer: For all those who are Spirit-filled and living the authentic faith, O God, I give thanks. You do not limit your Spirit’s power based upon a person’s gender, only a person’s capacity to receive. Continue to help us make room for whoever you are calling, even when the person you are calling might not fit some historic expectation. Amen.
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Rev. Bruce Frogge