Below is my response to the incredible project undertaken by students at Ripon College Cuddesdon – collecting and collating the experiences of women leaders in church – entitled ‘Eva’s Call’
Here are the voices
Here are the stories
I’m not sure what’s worse
Or not being at all surprised by reading them.
Dripping with the vile bile of misogyny
That witty take down only formed days later, when the moment has passed.
So you don’t accept the patriarchal narrative?
But here it is
In all its repugnant glory
A litany of offense,
A liturgy of immense, overwhelming, crushing weight;
The belief that we are not real
Like some fictitious unicorn, we are make-believe
‘Have you seen the lady priest? The pseudo-priest?
Situated between Father Christmas and the Easter Bunny
Funny, you thought you were called by God?’
And yet, for make believe characters, our physicality is oh so threatening.
Our blood is impurity
Contaminating the elements
Hell bent on ruining your worship.
We are the dismissed
The ‘speak up we can’t hear you’
We are the objects of others’ desires
The subjects of physical critique
The too feisty, too meek.
We are the bad mothers, absent mothers, shouldn’t be, couldn’t be mothers, neglectful, too attentive mothers.
We are the sexualised,
We are the second-rate, second-class
Don’t ask people to sit through our leading of worship
Feel free to leave if our vaginas offend you.
We are the unbiblical
We are the brave
We are the fighters
Who scheme for another way of being
Hoping for the flourishing of all
Carving a way for the future.
We will resist,
Insist on being heard