Agree To Disagree
My dear friend, Dinoman, and I have been penpals for about a year and a half now and we’re getting to the point in our friendship where I feel comfortable asking for advice in tricky situations and talking about the more difficult topics of conversation. One such conversation cropped up a few days ago. I asked him, because I know that individuals of his specific faith background tend to disagree with me on this, how he felt about female pastors. His response was beautiful, because even though I don’t agree with everything he believes, he let me know that he loved me as a sister in Christ nonetheless and that he wouldn’t judge another person by their faith even if he disagrees.I felt relief, because I may have decided that being a full fledged pastor wasn’t my thing, but that doesn’t change how I feel about women’s ordination rights and I don’t like losing good friends due to that vantage point.
Anyway, I wanted to share what Dinoman said, because he said it better than I could have.
As for a female pastor, well…if it’s what you want to do, that’s cool. People will believe what they do and I am not going to change that. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a woman who has a strong love of God and wants to share it. Women should teach. They should have leadership roles in the church, but I’m not totally sure that “pastor” is the proper forum for that. I guess…I just feel like our gender is an essential part of our identity, in mortal life, of course, but also before and after. The Lord set things in order the way He did for a reason.
I think the idea of a Pastor in general isn’t exactly proper. All clergy is supposed to be lay clergy (Acts 20; John 10) It just allows the general membership opportunities to lead and share talents. It also prevents using a position in the church to get gain. There is no real upward mobility or aspiration to a higher calling. You simply do as the Lord asks and do it to the best of your abilities. Everybody plays a roll in teaching and stuff. We all share together, which is how I think it should be.
And priesthood is a special, sacred thing. You can’t just go out and claim to be saying what God wants without proper authority. That, obviously, doesn’t mean one shouldn’t teach about Christ and set the example to bring others to Him, etc, but yeah…It’s not a thing where you get to have it by virtue of charisma, election, or some such.
It’s just what it says in Hebrews 5:4. Has to happen via calling from God, and we can add in Timothy 4:14 and Acts 8:18 that say that the calling comes through those who have authority to speak for the Lord. It’s those who already have the priesthood from Christ–apostles and prophets, etc. Then there’s an ordination that comes from the laying on of hands, not via any other means like in Acts where Simon wants to pay or whatever (I’m kind of crossing my stories, I think, but I know it’s somewhere in Acts).
That’s how things have worked in my life. The direction comes (whether directly or through those others he’s called and delegated) through the prophet. It’s the same organization that existed in the primitive church. There was a falling away, as 2 Thessalonians said there would be, then the restoration and authority were later restored to the earth.
I’m sure that’s way more long-winded than the answer you actually wanted. I have given it a LOT of thought though. When I was younger, I took a lot of time alone to think about and study out what the truth is. I’ve always believed in Christ and so that wasn’t an issue. But I DID take time to read the Torah and the Quran and some other texts too. I’ve read the Bible in its entirety. And As I picked through it all, I kept coming back to Christ, so I dove into the Bible. I found things that said “hey, My church will be like x, y, and z.” Then I realized the church I’ve been in my whole life fits the criteria.
I read the Book of Mormon and found that it made sense. But it’s not all logical either. It’s about what my heart says and what makes me feel the Spirit of the Lord in my life. This is it. Others may agree or disagree, but I know what I know and I cannot deny it. Nor will I.
I respect the right of others to believe as they do. I’m all for understanding each other and accepting differences. I would fight to the death (well, okay, that might be a little over-dramatic, but I’d definitely stand up and fight at least some) for anybody’s religious freedom, no matter what religion. All have bits of truth and great people. If it inspires and encourages somebody to do good, I support it overall. But…that doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree with or believe in all of the practices of my friends of other faiths.