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I resist the temptation to say the women are too busy doing things to read! We're probably reading the same thing but you need to be able to grow facial hair to have significance in this emergent world perhaps! Hee Hee.

ellen Loudon

Blimey this really is a poor show. What's going on? Is this representative of the church emerging? Is it really a boys own club...self referencial, backscratching and exclusive? It isn't necessarily my experience, but this is not a good sign.


every time i read lists like this i look for the voices of women - both in the people who are writing the lists, and the authors of the books that are included ... mostly because i'm always looking for someone new to read, and I do preference female authors because my world is otherwise saturated with the voices of males! They're rarely there - thanks to Guy Kawasaki for his recommendations, though, i'm looking forward to investigating those.

And then i wait for this conversation to begin... Thanks for beginning it, jonny, but i have to say i'm sick to death of it.

do you think it's too late for the emerging church to 'catch up' on including women in this way... are the patterns of thinking and reference all too entrenched?

(why am i nervous to put my name to this?!)


I share that 'waiting for the conversation' and I also share the "I'm sick of it"; perhaps because I've had it in 'regular' church for so long, I desperately want the emerging church to be the place where its an un-needed conversation.

Jordon Cooper

I created the list and I wondered where the women are. The truth is that we e-mailed a lot of women and no one that we asked finalized a list back to us. In Canada and the U.S., there is a lack of women leaders in the emerging church and those that I am friends with are all working underground or have left the conversation out of frustration (I don't blame them either).

Anyways, it wasn't intentional and was one of the reasons why I was reluctant to post the list as it was.


jordon, i would certainly not want to send criticism your way - or in fact anybody's way. i just wonder whether we've got into some kind of position where this is the only possible outcome (for the reasons you state), and i wonder how it is possible to break that.


The city I live in is only 200,000 people but when I go into the Bible Colleges and seminaries, there are not a lot of women who are training for pastoral leadership and even less talking about church planters. In the United States, I only know of three women church planters and I am told I am well connected (that being said, there are many in church leadership roles in those churches but not many in primary roles of leadership).

As to how to fix it, I think businesses have shown us that you can fix it by intentional recruitment and mentoring strategies and identifying why so few women are interested in church leadership (the women pastors I know deal with a lot of sexism in traditional churches they have pastored) and then working through that.

Another problem is that in North America is that there is this loud, annoying voice that keeps saying, "Ministry is for men only"!

My wife has long said that the most sexism that she has ever experienced came while growing up in a Pentecostal church and a Pentecostal Bible college. She has asked the question many times of why would want to be a part of that system having experienced that?

In the end I think the solution is admitting that we have a problem and that is one that no one really wants to admit to yet.


thanks for the comments...

sonia and clare are currently conducting a bit of research with women in the uk involved in emerging church so i am looking forward to seeing what the throws up (i think). listening to what women are thinking and feeling must be a start.

i also agree about the word intentionality that you use jordon. we've got to get intentional but exactly how and about what is the challenge.

i was thinking about the gospel story in acts where there is an issue of invisibility to those in power - when the greek widows are neglected. their solution is to appoint deacons who are greek (at least they have greek names) i.e. intentionally shift the power structure so that the people in power and making decisions don't have the cultural blind spot.

my two comments about the list were just off the cuff - one of those one minute blog posts. thanks for putting up the list anyway jordon. i hope my comments weren't too negative. i think the list is a great idea.

w.r.t. the 'waiting for the conversation' and 'i'm sick of it' - what do we do about that?

Phil Rankin

I know I am a man (at least I think I am. I was last I looked but we wont go there...am I doubting myself?!!)...but taking up the idea of being intentional and 'doing' rather than waiting for something to happen....one of the main ways of appearing to have a voice in general and in the Church/Emerging Church in particular is to write a book.

With that in mind, as somewhere to start, I would be willing (willing? no! Excited!!) to edit a book for/with women. I am sure there would be a publisher willing to do it but if not, I would also be willing to look at covering publishing costs. This would obviously have to be given more thought and a bit of structure but off the top of my head, it would involve as many women as were interested in writing say 5000-6000 words each. It would be an opportunity to express what you think and feel, to connect with and strongly challenge the male patterns and referencing.

Basically, I would be willing to help in creating a space and a platform for women to express themselves...if they want one. Any interest in taking something forward?


i think we need to keep having the conversation, jonny, even though we might be sick of it. it's part of the consciousness raising, and naming the problem. and, to be honest, it's good to have people who'll keep raising the question, even when the women have run out of patience or voice or town...

i don't really align myself with the emerging church - i've never quite recognised it as home. i think this is one of the reasons why. i think the UK context is quite different to most others - we've talked about that before jonny. i'm never sure i have the right to enter into these conversations.

it's not that i want to have a place to be heard (this is not a grab for power! i've done power, it's not great). it's that i miss hearing the voices of women. one of the fundamental critiques that postmodernity throws back at modernity is that the single patriarchal, educated, middle class voice tells an incomplete version of events. yet we continue to tell this new story with only that same voice. odd. [back when i formally studied theology, 15 years ago, we were marked down if we didn't include female authors in bibliographies for precisely that reason. you could disagree with them, but you had to read them. that's not a tokenistic thing. there are excellent female theologians in every field of theology.]

of course, another critique of modernity is that the published book is given an authority beyond its worth, but that's another conversation...!!

interesting offer, phil. i hope that starts a good conversation.


My very off the cuff comment - it seems to me a lot of women I know are looking at, practicing and embracing spirtualiity that doesn't fit neatly into the convential evangelical mode - eg, Celtic spirituality, using yoga as a means of meditiation, using words like 'energy' to describe the Holy Spirit etc. When these are mentioned as useful tools to look at and enter into our love for Jesus, the shouting from the "THAT"S NOT ORTHODOX" crowd is so loud that it (a) is scary and (b) deeply overwhelming, leading to a soul tiredness. Again, an off the cuff generalization - many women are keen for exploratory dialogue but totally unwilling/uninterested in getting into a 'prove your point "properly"' argument. A lot of the emerging church stuff I've seen (at least, on the web) has a strong element of 'prove your point' to it. It's too tiring for women to be leaders in the emerging church. It's like me, as a native English speaker, having a romantic conversation in Urdu. Do-able, but tiring and likely I'll only be able to say about 15% of what I want to convey.

Another lisa

I too am tired of this conversation. And I'm not even sure we need to keep the conversation going. Surely if women wanted to join in then they'd be right there with you? Why do we need the same form of expression? Why is the fact that women don't speak out a problem? Why do we see this as the same thing as women being somehow downtrodden? (I'm not agreeing/disagreeing, just raising the questions). Perhaps it is our choice not to enter into these discussions. I agree with Lisa above (great name) - there is an element of 'proving your point' and I just can't be bothered. Not all women are the same ofcourse (obvious point), some will enter into the discussions, but probably most don't. This may reflect general female behaviour ie we express ourselves very differently to men and usually have close female (less frequently male) relationships which are our form of expression. Again, I'm not speaking for all women but from my experience this tends to be the case. If you want to know what women think then form relationship with them - otherwise I agree that we're generally too busy 'doing' rather than 'writing books'.

Why do I feel that if I admitted to liking XFactor and shopping within the emerging conversation then I would be cast off as girly, soft and...trashy? This doesn't mean I don't also love Caputo, Plato and Nieztsche.
To recommend one female author - Catherine Keller and 'The Face of the Deep'.
This post reads more aggressively than suppose to! I'm open to debate but feel there might not be one....

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    i have been blogging for a decade or more in fairly eclectic fashion. i am an advocate for pioneers, lover of all things creative, an explorer of faith in relation to contemporary culture, a photographer and writer. explore the presences section below to find me in other spaces

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