by Kelly Pelton (written 20 Dec 2021)

Inequity of gender is one part
of not esteeming everyone the same.
We hear from charismatic pastor men,
the best of whom we elevate to fame.

Why can't we also hear the least of these,
their stories testimonies of God's love,
their faithful perseverance moving us
to set our sights on unseen truth above?

Why then do we consolidate church power
when Jesus' life divested power on earth;*
why do we celebrate our man-made realms
as though our human empires have more worth?

Church women have not organized to gain
the equity that's ours as kingdom kids,
perhaps in part because a worldly church
with "who's first" rules is not what Jesus bids

His followers to be. Why not reform
this carnal institution to embrace,
not man-made hierarchy, but every voice
a welcome proclamation of God's grace,

the least of these included as we spread
the hopeful gospel message to the world,
no prohibitions rooted in our sex,
no subjugating power plays unfurled?

Resist the scorn and fury of the men
whose empires may be threatened if they share
their power with the least of these, the ones
who know their neediness of God's great care.

*With thanks to Dr. Kristin Kobes Du Mez for this distinction between consolidating and divesting power in the church.