When we as an elder board and a whole community processed the issue of women in leadership, we came to something different than the complementarian position- we could see that it's not a universal principle in Scripture that women never taught men or exercised authority over them. It just isn't. So we knew we needed to be open to that.
Also, there was no "elder exception clause" that would allow us to be open to women in all positions of leadership except the role of elder or pastor, (I've come to believe (watch your toes) that the only two really consistent positions, scripturally, are the heirarchical and what is often called the "egalitarian" position... but that's a different topic), so we knew we couldn't talk about including women in the full life of the community and leadership and arbitrarily exclude them from certain positions or (toes! TOES!) call certain positions "director" if women happened to fill them and "pastor" should the occupant be male.
But what we didn't come to was what many think of as being the egalitarian position. And let me be clear here- when I talk about the "egalitarian position", I'm talking about perceptions and common understandings that may or may not be representative of the positions of others who claim that label, yeah?
Anyway, what I mean by "what we didn't come to was what many think of as being the egalitarian position" is that we didn't set out to seek some percentage balance or (the dreaded word) quota of women in leadership. It's entirely possible (and was true for the first two years of evergreen) that we would not have women on the elder board. It's also entirely possible that we might have ALL women on the elder board. And so on.
Also, I really want to affirm the "complementary" nature of male/female creation. We really are different. Very different. Sometimes shockingly so :)
And that's WHY we need women in leadership, but again, that's another post...
(As an aside, a certain large, emergent-esque church here in town has recently finished processing this same issue, but with slightly different results- they maintain their complementarian leadership structure but they have, *ahem*... The Council of Godly Women. I have nothing but love for said community, so, I'm just poking a little fun at a sister-community here, but every time I hear "The Council of Godly Women" I can't help but think of some Stars Wars inspired Jedi-like council with robes meeting in a dark room...)
All of that to say, I was happy to see David Fitch come out with the same "We're for women in leadership but not egalitarianism" position... and do a much better, more erudite-sounding job at explaining it.
"In the church world where I come from, people still argue about the issue of women’s ordination and equal participation in the authority of the church. Conservative protestants have virtually beaten the issue to death yet still remain locked into the well worn polarity between the Complementarians, who view women in the church as determined by the NT role of husband ‘s headship over the wife, and the Egalitarians, who point to the plethora of NT evidence concerning women’s equal participation with men in the authority of the church. The “Biblical Equality” position views this newfound equal status for women as part of the redeemed structure of humanity in Christ and therefore it applies to Christian marriages as well. I too believe that woman have equal participation in the gifts of the Spirit given on Pentecost to the church (Acts 2:17-18). I am for the ordination of women in the church as well. I endorse and affirm women’s full participation in the authority/leadership of the church as part of the redeemed structure of humanity inaugurated in Christ. To many of us this seems all too obvious at this point. This last affirmation however is why I see a lack in the Egalitarian option (I see similar issues with the Complementarians). Both positions seem incapable of describing a justice born of the reconciliation God is working in the world through Christ (2 Cor 5:19). And I believe, oddly enough, that a few postmodern critical theorists help us understand this better. In what follows, I offer three insights from Critical theory that reveal the inadequacies of the “Biblical Equality” position and their cousins among the classic protestant modern feminists (as distinguished from the post-structuralist feminists). I concentrate on the Egalitarians because this position is most often assumed to be the position best aligned with gender relation justice. I realize I am characterizing their views in the short space that I have here. I can only hope to be more precise in future writings.
So here goes with three insights from postmodern critical theorists (and friends) that help us see the inadequacies of the so-called Egalitarian position as a way forward in establishing justice and reconciliation regarding gender relations in the church of Jesus Christ. "
Read the rest here