CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith and Life for the Years of Winter…
The women’s marches this weekend reminded me of the time I was awarded one of the prize plums of preaching—an appearance on the radio show known as The Protestant Hour [Even though it was only 30 minutes.] Why the connection? Well, first a little history…
The program had started in 1945, and there had been at least one woman speaker on the show previously, but no ordained women.
It started by featuring preachers from the Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Southern Baptist denominations. The Southern Baptists pulled out, but the Episcopalians took their place. The preachers were almost always bishops or the pastors of large, flag-ship churches. The “speakers” were not always ordained, but they were well known men, like C.S. Lewis.
In the early 1980s, the show’s producers decided to open the pulpit to lesser preachers and unknowns like me. We were invited to send tapes of our sermons. My church did not have a taping system for worship services, so Terry Perkins, a church member and speech communication professor at EIU, arranged for me to use the recording equipment in his department.
I was pretty sure my tape would be well-received, because my preaching was different from the usual. I hesitate to say “entertaining,” but it was.
I won. But the opportunity was given to me with one hand and taken back with the other. “Your tape was the best we heard, but we feel that we need to have a woman preacher on the show at this time.” So, thanks, but no thanks.
I was disappointed, yes, but only slightly. Yes, I missed out on preaching for The Protestant Hour. That would have been a nice feather for my cap. But I had two daughters, then in college. I did not want anyone telling them there were any gender restrictions on them. I wanted models for them, women doing what they had previously been denied
I am a feminist. So many people misunderstand what feminism is. I mean simply that I believe women should have every opportunity and right that men have, and there was no doubt in the 1980s that we had a long way to go to get to the point of that equality. I was fully in favor of women preachers on The Protestant Hour. By that time, I had encouraged a dozen or so young women into seminary and the ordained ministry.
It’s okay to step aside so that those who are always pushed to the back can step forward and get into the parade.
I tweet occasionally as yooper1721.
One of those daughters mentioned above is Katie Kennedy, the rising star in YA lit. She is published by Bloomsbury, which also publishes lesser authors, like JK Rowling. Her latest book is, What Goes Up. It’s published in hardback, paperback, audio, and electronic, from B&N, Amazon, etc.