Thursday, 22 January 2009

Women in ministry

Our utilisation of all people in TSA speaks of our conviction that God intends equality among gender. We have much room for improvement. God is leading us and better evidence of this hope is forthcoming. Hallelujah!

Galatians 3:28 (NIV)
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hear what you're saying, but my experience is far different. The man must be the leader. The man must be ahead of his wife in ministry. I am sorry, but there are many good women leaders being lost or overlooked because their partnership doesn't fit the mould which in my experience DOES exist.

Annette Hill said...

Why are women leaders in the Army referred to by some as 'Mrs Commissioner' and such? The men aren't called Mr Commissioner.... to me there's an aspect of diminishing their role by adding the Mrs. I'm sure to some it doesn't matter at all, but if we're going for equality, let's be truly equal in the way that we refer to leaders.
Just a thought from a staffer.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to some exciting, innovative changes (even the small ones) happening very quickly...

Please, God!

Go for it, Aust Southern Territory leadership! Be the trailblazers like we once were! Don't be bound by social customs - fight for changes. We'll be with you all the way and delighting in how better resourced the movement will be when more women are properly acknowledged and utilized.

Anonymous said...

That's a small thing, Annette, that could be easily remedied... good call.

Why is it that the men are always mentioned first (when referring to a married officer couple)? Surely alphabetical order would be fairer? Notice that the Salvo publications manage this well - how about the rest of the Salvos?

Yeah, small things. Even more amazing then that they are so impossible to change.

Anonymous said...

Why are the men always mentioned first? Hmmmm.... I wonder if you would ask the Lord why He made man first. That wasn't very politically correct of him. ;)

Seriously, people, stop complaining so much. You've got it good compared to previous generations.

Anonymous said...

My wife was commissioned 1 minute before me because her christian name alphabetically precedes mine. The OUTRAGE!! Why is she considered more senior than me? Oh yeah, that's right! Someone had to go first!
Maybe we'd be better debating about the amount of money the Army spends on women's ministry in the world compared to men's ministry. But that would be sexist! ;)

Anonymous said...

Just because women in TSA today have it better than previous generations does not mean that its at its ideal!

Anonymous, of course someone had to go first, but the fact that it always seems to be the male in the partnership seems a little sexist - you must admit. Alphabetical order seems a fair and totally unbiased option.

It amazes me that something this small is so hard for some of you to accept. You poo-poo it off like its the tiniest problem in the world, when it really shows some underlying issues of inequality that still linger in TSA today.

Beverley from Adelaide said...

Just before stepping out the doors of The Training College leaving College I asked one of our leaders what to do about being called as a Woman to lead, but facing conflict because of my gender. She said "do what God has called you to do from day one". The best advise ever, just do it.......ITS ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!!!!! It may sound simple, but it works....

Anonymous said...

so when are we going to see MARRIED women appointed as Divisional Commanders, Personnel Secretaries, (or other cabinet positions), Chief Secretaries, Commissioners, Generals? When I see this happening, then I will believe that TSA has equality!

Anonymous said...

AMEN and AMEN again.

Cameron Horsburgh said...

Anonymous said:Maybe we'd be better debating about the amount of money the Army spends on women's ministry in the world compared to men's ministry. But that would be sexist! ;)

I would suggest that this is, in fact, one of the biggest reasons why women have struggled to find their proper place in the Army. 'Women's Ministries' has sidelined women and created a ghetto for the wives of senior (male) officers.

Married couples in 'higher' positions often seem to be selected because the husband is suited to the role into which he is going, and the wife takes the 'equivalent' WM role regardless of her suitability for the position.

As a result, we often have women in roles they are not suited to. Meanwhile there are other women (or men!) around who are fantastically suited to those WM roles but will never end up in them because their husbands (if they have them) aren't DC (or whatever) material.

I think the proof is in this oft-asked question: if a married woman was put into a DC role would her husband be expected fill the DDWO role? Similarly, how often do you see unmarried women in senior WM roles?

While Women's Ministries exists in the way it does now women will never find genuine equality.

Jim Knaggs said...

A1 - I understand your perspective. The change is still moving slowly.

AH - This system was changed a few years back. At a certain point in history, the proper reference was corrected to be rank first.

A2 - Thanks for your encouragement.

A3 - The order of the given names is better here than where I've been. Carolyn is often listed first where our names are printed.

A4 - Good word.

A5 - Let's consider one issue at a time.

A6 - Right. Far from ideal.

BfromA - Always a good approach.

A7 - There actually are some around the Army. Many of our Divisional Personnel Secretaries are married women. SA has a female Dc with a married female 2IC. Our Territorial Program Secretary is a woman. These only represent a small percentage, but they demonstrate movement like we have not seen much of before. We are far short at the moment.

A8 - Amen

Ah - intersting opinion.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Commissioner, but from memory both DC in SA and TPS are both single! I would like to see married women appointed to some of these positions - and not because of who they are married to, but due to their own God-given talents.

Jj (A7)

Anonymous said...

Here in USASouth we have a married woman DS whose husband works in the music department. Previously she was a DYS and he was a DMD. Many people know them as Her name then His name... it is because she is qualified for the position that she is in it, nothing more and nothing less.

Are we looking to be perfect on every "issue?" That would be pretty scary to me.

Looking back through history, there were many married women who WAY out-ranked their husbands in the early days, and I'm not just talking about the Booth girls either.

Anonymous said...

No, perfection on every issue is not the aim. But fairness would do fine... surely you are not denying that the Army leadership and structure is generally dominated by males? Give us a break...

Amazing that no-one recognizes that the examples stated are so wellknown because they are the EXCEPTIONS - not the norm.

Come one, we've got a huge lot of catching-up to do! May it happen in Aust Southern soon! See the injustice and fight it!

Anonymous said...

When we were Cadets (1978-80)we were Cadet Mrs...., but as soon as we were Commissioned we became Mrs. Lieutenant - said it all, really. In our Wives' Seminar, we were told that we should not make decisions off our own back if a Soldier asked us anything, but should say "I'll have to ask my husband." Even back in those days, we were all up in arms at that. Maybe things are different now - I see that many married couples have seperate Appointments in their own right.
Former, UKT.

Anonymous said...

Could part of the problem be that we are a worldwide Army and not just a western one. I am sure that all of the western countries are on-board for such a move, but what about the developing world which is male dominated... it is their culture.

It is hard to make a sweeping change when the traditions of other cultures dictate a different view.

My wife is a cadet in her own right and will have a rank in her own right for our entire ministry. If she is ever promoted above me, I am more than for it, as she is for me. That is because we support each other.

It seems to be, perhaps moreso that a culture issue, an issue pertinent to the individual couple. What of women who out rank their husbands based on years of service but maintain lower rank so as to not have a higher rank than their husband.... oh and there are male officers who do the same.

If we want to fight injustice, we need to find the real injustices... this isn't one hardly.

Cameron Horsburgh said...

Anonymous #761(!) said:

Could part of the problem be that we are a worldwide Army and not just a western one. I am sure that all of the western countries are on-board for such a move, but what about the developing world which is male dominated... it is their culture.

This is quite true, but we've got to remember that Catherine Booth's insistence that women be admitted to all areas of leadership was quite counter to the culture of Victorian England. And the Army was prepared to do some unusual things in order to give women their rightful place. We even got rid of (sorry, 'reinterpreted') the Sacraments rather than silence the women.

Obviously, the way we deal with the issue will be different in different cultures. Yet the Army should never deny its principle that women and men are were created co-equal in power and glory, and shouldn't be denied certain roles on the basis of their gender or marital status.

To a point you're right that the way this works should be up to each couple. My wife and I have been able to figure out how to deal with combined appointments. She is a far better administrator than I, and if she ever ended up in a DHQ role while I changed sheets at the local rehab I don't think anyone would be surprised!

As for finding the real injustices, this is certainly one of them. Gender and marital status are not good determinants of one's ability to fill most roles, and thus they should not be the primary factors in deciding who to appoint to certain positions. And when the alternative is consignment to 'Women's Ministries,' which is the role the officer gets regardless of ability or passion, and solely on the basis of her husband's ability to do his job, I think we have a big problem.

armybarmy said...

Massive issue, Commissioner. Thanks for having the guts to raise it and field comments.

THe forthcoming issue of Journal of Aggressive Christianity (February - armybarmy.com) features a sequel to Captain Danielle Strickland's notorious Married Women's Ghetto Rant (JAC41) that suggests some positive ways forward. JAC has provided solid biblical apologetic for women in leadership by Colonel Richard Munn (JAC43), and a complete Women in the War issue, edited by Major JoAnn Shade (JAC44).
I hope this helps.
Much grace,
Stephen Court
armybarmy.com

South Aust. Salvo said...

Divisional Secretary in South Australia is a married woman (Anonymous wrong, Commissioner right) - the Commissioner did recently appoint her to this position so I think he would know :)

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't our focus for the 'Women Equality' debate be on the wider world and most of the wider church where women are seemingly still discriminated against?

Can anyone resolve to me 1 Tim 2:12
"I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."
It seems to me that much of the Church hangs their hat on this single verse, while ignoring the liberation of women demonstrated by Jesus. Do the Salvos not believe this verse to be literally and specifically applicable to us today?

Jim Knaggs said...

Let the dialogue continue until we get it right in practise.

I want to draw attention to the many woman leaders we have throughout TSA. There are more field appointments than any other. In these roles, women are prominently placed, valued and needed. In your corps where there is a married couple as officers, isn't the woman a leader? Where we celebrate team ministries, leadership relates more to the gifts of the individual.

We have more female local officers than male. The identity of social programme leaders is not related to gender issues at all.

I post this comment not to defend the realities of this debate, simply to underscore my appreciation for the many female leaders without whom we will fail.

John Duthie said...

One of the reasons that women in the church are lagging behind men in terms of equality is due to fundamentalists failing to understand that not every story in the bible is to be taken literally.

e.g. some for time Paul's writings have limited women in the church, and now we are understanding that his writings in regards to women are not to be taken literally today.

Lets not stop with Paul's writings.