Feminist theology has achieved various things in the academic sphere, but the voice of women in the church has not actually been accepted – or rather, feminist theology has neglected the everyday voice of women in the church.That very well sums up many of my objections to feminist theology. What is meant to be a representative voice in the academic halls can actually be a misrepresenting voice. I set out to type up a single post reviewing the points where I think feminist theology often misrepresents the everyday voice of women in the church. It soon became clear that I was looking at a series. Here is the first installment.
Priesthood of all believers
The egalitarian camp has spent a certain amount of time and energy making a case that women belong in the higher echelons of church leadership. For just a moment, let's set aside the question of whether this is good or Biblical. Instead, let's suppose that the egalitarian efforts towards ordination and promotion of women were instantly, completely, uncontestedly successful in their aims, and ask ourselves: how much good would this accomplish for the average woman? To put it another way: To what extent is the average man elevated by the fact that his pastor or priest is male? How does this compare to the extent to which we are lifted up by forgiveness when we are humbled, or the extent to which we are lifted up by being a member of the priesthood -- not the priesthood of the elite, but the priesthood of all believers? Did feminist theology take a wrong turn in aiming for membership in the elite rather than restoring full membership in the body of Christ to all believers?
In some sense this is an unjust criticism in that the pastoral role is a legitimate role within the church. All the same, I'd submit that when women looked around and saw ourselves marginalized, it was too small a thing to notice our own marginalization, and not also notice the marginalization of all the laity together. Neither will breaking into the elites, even with complete success, be enough to change the fact that most of the women -- and men -- are still marginalized within the church.