WOMAN MINISTERS by Judith L.--Ed. Weidman


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A sensible but drab collection of first-hand reports from eleven ordained women. Part of the problem may be the narrow range: we hear nothing about women rabbis or women (nuns, etc.) who minister in all but the sacramental sense. Beyond that there's the unfortunate fact--dramatically speaking--that none of the narrators met with any serious opposition. Denominations that ordain women, such as the Presbyterians or Methodists, are ipso facto inclined to take a feminist stance on most issues, in principle anyhow. The major exception to this rule, the Episcopalians, are still wrangling over the ""priesting"" of women, but the only Episcopalian in this group, the Rev. Patricia Clark, was never caught in the crossfire. So there's little here to stir the non-clerical reader, only matter-of-fact accounts of preaching, teaching, worshipping, counseling, and organizing in various Protestant churches, from some polite but determined Christian feminists. Apart from a little wrestling with the Old Order (sexist liturgical language, skeptical parishioners, etc.), they aim to feminize their ministry by making it more personal, cooperative, decentralized, less rigid, authoritarian, ""professional."" Clearly, all this could have revolutionary results--it already has revolutionary implications. But in this dryly written book those rich possibilities sit together in dull decorum, instead of getting up and dancing mightily before the Lord.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1981
Publisher: Harper & Row