Over at Preacher Mike's, once again, this "rhetorical question" is posed by a commenter.
I'm not going to add this post to the "Women in CofC" series officially, because it's a rant. It's my blog, and I started it specifically so that I could rant on it. Most of the time, I don't. But today, I do. If you like rants, read on. If they bug you, skip it.
I can't even begin to tally up how many times I've fielded this question. From professors. From students. From colleagues. From my therapist. From my best friend. In blog comments. In absentia, even, on discussion forums by people who don't even know me. Why don't you just leave.
It's something I've blogged about before. Why don't I just leave? After all, my husband did. And he's a better person and better Christian for it. Unburdened from the constant stress and frustration of seeing a better future for the church from within a church that doesn't want it, he can now preach and teach with an honesty and integrity that was not even welcomed, let alone understood, before. I see it--I'm sure everyone else who knows him does, too. For Brent, leaving was not optional. It was necessary, and too long delayed by his overdeveloped sense of responsibility.
Why don't you just leave. Well, thanks for the suggestion. Believe me, it's occurred to me. And you make it very tempting. Your invitation to leave is nicely bookended by the proclamation on every sign for the Episcopal Church I've seen: "the Episcopal Church welcomes you." You invite me to get out. This other church--this denomination--invites me in. To stay. Hmmm.
Why don't I just leave.
Why don't we all just leave, we dissidents who just stick around to moan and piss and bitch about the things that we don't like about church? We're a drag. And we're like the little boy who cried wolf, we're constantly droning on about something, aren't we, so we just get tuned out. We're ineffective advocates for the change we purport to desire, we whiners. Our yucky whiny voices turn people off, turn them away from the point we think we're making, not toward it.
Sure. That's who we are, we gender justice dissidents. We pillars of the church who give our time and our money, who lead in the ways we can--whether that's leading communion or teaching kids or making casseroles, who patiently accept the baby steps when they happen, who find their community of support online because they can't find it at their church, who wait for the teachable moments and struggle to endure the long stretches in between, who pray for discernment for that moment when "the well-timed complaint" may be heard and who then speak, not in a whiny yucky voice, but with prophetic conviction, and fear and trembling.
Oh wait, am I whining again? Damn.
Remember, it's October: sarcasm month and clergy appreciation month.