I’m not an official pastor. I’ve never been ordained or licensed, nor had “Pastor” in any aspect of any title I’ve held. I have worked for a church, and I was the children’s director, a long time ago. There are lots of places that I function in a pastoral role, however. I do it in my work place, a Protestant Evangelical Christian Higher Education institution. I “pastor” my students, and preach in chapel. I’m on the teaching team at Vineyard Glendora and preach 2-3 times a year for our congregation. We (our family) hosts a small group for college-aged and young adult folks in our home every Sunday night. In fact, I find myself “pastoring” in so many capacities, I decided last summer to pray through whether or not I should become ordained. I talked to our Lead Pastor, Abigail, about it over the summer and she and I meet regularly to explore my own pastoral calling. While I might not have the title, I find over and over again, I am doing the work of pastoring in many capacities. So I take it personally when another woman, “pastor” or not, is told to “Go Home.”
As I was reading Kets de Vries, Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership this week, I was struck by his essay on “The Ugly American.” It hurts when men like John MacArthur continually portray not just the ugly American, but the ugly evangelical American. Kets de Vries alludes to this ugliness, “…Where threats from external enemies are ever present, simplistic binary slogans replace reflective debate, lies become alternative facts (or factoids), and where mind and reality control replace evidence and historical truth” While the quote is referencing the American dystopia Trump has created, I could easily apply it to the arguments many, not just MacArthur, have made about keeping women out of the pastorate.
As MacArthur sat on that stage and belittled the work of Beth Moore (and other women by proxy), I couldn’t help but feel the most hurt from the people in the crowd. It’s one thing to say something shameful, it’s another to have a room full of people clap and cheer you on. Kets de Vries argues:
“Deep down inside, many people know that they are being suckered. But in spite of the overwhelming evidence that Trump [could you insert MacArthur here?] is pulling a fast one, they still find it hard to acknowledge that it is happening. Unfortunately, many people become willing victims of this sort of scam. The power of con artists is that they don’t force us to do anything. One the contrary, victims buy into the con game of their own free will. Some may even volunteer and propagate the cause. And after the damage is done, it is not easy to admit having been a victim of a scam.”
“Because when fear is not the motivation…when love is the motivation, bullying is not the response. There is no fear in love.”
I see over and over again the trappings of fear. Fear that leads us to believe that in order to gain, another must loose. Fear that says success is beating everyone else to the top first. Trump uses fear to bring out the worst in people. People laugh at MacArthur’s profane remarks out of fear. Everywhere we turn today, people are stuck in cycles of fear. I wonder if deep down, MacArthur is also afraid. Because it seems like he’s playing a zero-sum game that no other woman has time to play. Sorry JM, we’re too busy pastoring, even if we don’t have the title.
 Manfried F.R. Kets de Vries, Down the Rabbit Hole of Leadership: Leadership Pathology in Everyday Life (Springer Nature, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), Loc 716.
 Ibid., 716.
 Ibid., 736.