Recent comments by some SBC leaders have acknowledged that “competent” and “godly” women would be acceptable for leadership in some areas. The particular quotes mentioned LifeWay and the SBC presidency.
One might consider that it has always been maintained that most church attendees are women and that most church workers are women. I’m speculating that at our oldest and most important entity, the International Mission Board, most personnel are women (most workers are couples and most single personnel are female, thus, most overall are women). It seems odd that we need to be signalled that women are acceptable in leadership positions.
Look at it this way. Would some hamhanded SBC leader, and we always seems to have a few, declare that he is perfectly comfortable if a “godly,” “competent” African-American is chosen as an entity head? One hopes not because it would be an insult, a rather desultory and grudging approval for African-Americans so long as they are godly and competent. It’s sort of like calling a particular African-American “articulate” as if that is a rare chacteristic.
So, why do we always hear “godly woman” and “competent woman” when talking about women and various SBC positions?
It is subtle profiling? Is it an indication that all women are presumed to be ungodly until some leader or committee pronounces them to be “godly” and thus atypical? Is it simply a reflexive way of referring to females that conveys a biblical ideal of godliness that pertains to marriage and home but not so much work?
Isn’t competency a requirement for any SBC job at any level?
Shouldn’t godliness be characteristic of male SBC leaders?
And, let’s be candid, haven’t we had both ungodly and incompetent leadership from men with depressing frequency in our Grand Old Convention?
Is talk of godly and competent women merely the typical language of men, that gender which has held all, and that means every last one of them, top SBC positions for 174 years during which time we have, regularly though infrequently, found that we have been stolen blind, watched as old white males ran SBC entities into the ground, lamented various sinful behaviors. By male leaders, and endured appallingly poor leadership? All too often, godliness and competency have not been the currency for male entity leaders.
Perhaps it’s past time to look for competency and godliness wherever we find it.
An 0ld, white, male semi-retired SBC pastor approaches the subject of women in the SBC with some trepidation. So, tell me how awry I am to ask these questions.
And, today is the 230th anniversary of the most famous mutiny in history.