PUTTING YOUR HEAD ABOVE THE PARAPET – BUCKLE UP BUTTERCUPS!
In the current wave of anger about sexual harrassment and unequal pay for women, the lack of commitment by many women is dismissed by Hadley Freeman in The Guardian with the wonderfully vivid and comic phrase “Buckle up Buttercups”.
There are a lot of Buttercups in the Church in Wales who are reluctant even to register their support for gender equality let alone their opposition to misogyny and bullying. In MAECymru we regularly meet with people who say they support our aims but are reluctant to join up. There is a very Welsh reluctance to put a head above the parapet. Why?
•The battle is won and over. There is no need to be asssertive any more. Let’s just get on with the work. But there is a sound of mustering in the hills again from those who will not accept women’s priesthood. There is still a nostalgia for an authoritarian, all boys together, male dominated church, quietly side-lining and undermining women and targeting ordinands. Buckle up Buttercups!
•I’ve not had any difficulties. Those who veil themselves from what’s going on. The “I’m alright, Jills”. Rather like those in a cosy house thinking there’s no homelessness. Men who ‘sympathise’ but don’t want any ‘trouble’ and shy away from the MAECymru stall in the diocesan conference. Buckle up Buttercups!
•Fear of disapproving incumbents. But why should any incumbent blessed with a hard working non-stipendiary woman curate (and there are a lot of them) be upset by her joining MAECymru? Why would such an incumbent not want to encourage women lacking in confidence? She wouldn’t be there at all if women and men in the past had not put their heads above the parapet and faced frowns, disapproval, rudeness and turned backs. If you’re a woman in ministry, give thanks for the sisters who fought for that privilege and say so. Buckle up Buttercups!
So sisters and brothers, join up. Show what kind of church you want to belong to. Whether you are a high church liberal in an LMA ruled by refuseniks, or working with evangelicals uneasy about uppity women, then join up. Why?
Because MAECymru seeks a church in which men and women work together, appreciating each other’s strengths and respecting God’s call to all individuals - lay and ordained.The Church has declared already that this is what it wants. By supporting MAE you will support that point of view when others seek to undermine it. Tolerance, yes, but clarity and honesty too! Our calling is to live out the qualities of the kingdom of God, even in the structures of the church.