Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained
By Ivan Emke from “Fly on the newsprint” in The Mennonite Reporter
1. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as picking turnips or de-horning cattle. It would indeed be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work. How can we argue with the intended order that is instituted and enforced by nature?
2. For men who have children, their duties as ministers might detract from their responsibilities as parents. Instead of teaching their children important life skills like how to make a wiener-roasting stick, they would be off at some committee meeting or preparing a sermon. Thus these unfortunate children of ordained men would almost certainly receive less attention from their male parent. Some couples might even go so far as to put their children into secular daycare centres to permit the man to fulfill his duties as a minister.
3. According to the Genesis account, men were created before women, presumably as a prototype. It is thus obvious that men represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
4. Men are overly prone to violence. They are responsible for the vast majority of crime in our country, especially violent crime. Thus they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
5. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinate position that all men should take. The story also illustrates the natural tendency of all men to be either unwilling or unable to take a stand. From the Garden of Gethsemane to football locker rooms, men still have this habit of buckling under the weight of the lowest common denominator. It is expected that even ordained men would still embarrass themselves with their natural tendecy toward a pack mentality.
6. Jesus didn’t ordain men. He didn’t ordain any women either, but two wrongs don’t make a right.
7. If men got ordained, then they wouldn’t be satisfied with that; they’d want more and more power. Next thing most of the Conference leaders would be men and then where would we be? No. The line must be drawn clearly now before it’s too late.
8. Many, if not most, men who seek to be ordained have been influenced by the radical “men’s movement” (or “masculist movement”). How can they be good leaders if their loyalties are divided between leading a church and championing the masculist drive for men’s rights? The tract writers haven’t pronounced on it yet, but the masculist movement is probably profoundly un-Christian.
9. To be an ordained pastor is to nurture and strengthen a whole congregation. But these are not traditional male roles. Rather, throughout the history of Christianity, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. Women, the myth goes, are fulfilled and completed only by their service to others. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination. But if men try to fit into this nurturing role, our young people might grow up with Role Confusion Syndrome, which could lead to such terrible traumas as the Questioning Tradition Syndrome.
10. Men can still be involved in Church activities, without having to be ordained. They can still take up the offering, shovel the sidewalk, and maybe even lead the singing on Fathers’ Day. In other words, by confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church. Why should they feel left out?
(c) Ivan Emke (with acknowledgement for inspiration to Rosemary Radford Ruether.)