Living in Two Denominations

I spent a huge chunk of time on Thursday sitting at my Presbyterian church desk and typing away e-mails to two female Christian Reformed women about being a Christian Reformed minister and being female. Both were stuggling with questions they shouldn’t have to struggle with–both feel called to ministry, but are sorting through questions they likely wouldn’t have to ask if they weren’t feeling a pull toward ordination in a denomination that is ever so slowly clawing its way toward ordaining women.

The whole experience has left me sad, for several reasons.

  1. For now, I’m a minister in both denominations, but I’ve set my course to settle permanently in the PC(USA). I’m sad to leave behind the CRC for many reasons, but one is that it feels a little like defeat. I want to be a minister, but I also wanted to help change things for women in the CRC.
  2. There is a looming minister shortage in the CRC. 50% of the people in the denomination who could consider ordination have to consider so many additional factors because of their gender. Think of the gifted women we are not using as God has gifted them!
  3. How on earth did I become a role model? I am not yet 30. I have less than 5 years experience as a minister. But because I am one of so few ordained women in the CRC, I’ve been sought in that role. When I compare the advice, comfort, and wisdom that I can deliver to that of the Presbyterian women pastors I’ve met who have been doing this twice, three times, four times, as long as I have, I wish so much that young Chrisitian Reformed women had access to that within their own denomination.
  4. The very existence of denominations makes me sad. Church should be Church with a big “C”, with one leader, one mission, one set of priorities (Jesus being the correct answer to those last three), and here we are splintered and splintering and arguing over whatever we can get our hands on.