My first response to Tony's post can be found here on Theoblogy, but I'll repost my comment here as well:
I want to be clear about what I affirm, and what I challenge, about Tony's call for schism as I understand it (and in this phrasing I acknowledge that of course I may be interpreting some things wrong, and welcome dialogue on any errors as this is always helpful).
First, Tony's post is being heard by at least some in Churches of Christ who may be unaware that the kind of schism he calls for--a principled individual severance with an oppressive system--has been happening in our churches over this very issue over the last few decades, in increasing numbers. People have left over what we have learned to label "women's roles in the church," and are continuing to leave. Many are of course women gifted for forms of service and ministry restricted to them; many are those who leave in solidarity with those women. But typically, this schism has been a slow, diachronic, quiet one, more of an exodus of people who aren't interested in making it hard for those they leave behind, whom they love as brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers in Christ. They leave as Ursula K. LeGuin describes those who walk away from Omelas: one day, they simply go.
And so it's easy for those who aren't looking for the missing ones to continue without ever realizing who is missing. Part of what we in Churches of Christ need to realize is, then, that these of our number are missing. This is the reason gal328.org hosts a wiki named "Exodus," a collaborative project aimed at shining a spotlight on those who have left and pursued ministry elsewhere. This is a list of people who have courageously moved, like Abraham, from the familiarity of home to the unknown land of Ur on the strength of faith in God alone. They ought not be forgotten.
I believe Tony's post and the discussion around it may be calling some attention to this, and that is indeed a result for which I am grateful.
The main thing I find most helpful about Tony's posts on this is that he is issuing a call for effective action. Tony is tired of talking. And here once again I want to affirm, for I am also rather tired of talking. We've been talking a long time, we in the Churches of Christ, and precious little has changed. Talk, after all, is cheap.
So here is where I return to my first response, and aim to perhaps clarify some of my comment, and also pose a genuine question.
While validating this call to effective action, I don't think that schism, either in the classic sense or in the individual severance sense, is a strategy for effecting systemic change.
This is tricky territory here on the "stay or go" question; it's a question I've been asked many times in friendly and unfriendly ways, and a question ever CofCer concerned with gender justice wrestles with at some point. It's tricky territory because it's hard to hear someone's explanation of the reasons they "stay" without feeling like some judgment is thereby passed on those who "leave." So I want to be clear in stating: I consider those who leave courageous. I know what kind of guts it takes to leave. Many who have "left" are among my private canon of personal saints, and you people know who you are. I praise God for your lives and witness.
So when I say, again, that leaving is not a strategy for systemic change, that is no judgment on those who have left. It is an observation that Omelas doesn't disappear when those who walk away, walk away.
So I want to construct a way of staying which is faithful to the call to effective action I hear at the heart of Tony's post, because what we disagree on here is not urgency or necessity or justice but what, in the end, effective action is. Schism leaves unjust systems intact--and untroubled.
This brings me (finally!) to my question, which is, simply, is it really schism you're calling for? Or is it that, like me, and so very many others, the call is to effective action, and the challenge is to imagine adequate models for it?
*a technical note: I am blogging via phone while sick in my hotel bed after a very full AAR and I promise to link everything properly later! Apologies in the meantime.