By: Dennis Bates
I don’t recommend the content of the movie “The Witches of Eastwick,” because it deals with all kinds of things I find somewhat offensive, like witches for one thing. However, I watched it upon the recommendation of a friend, and there is one line in it that is hysterical and thought provoking at the same time.
Briefly, the movie deals with three women who conjure up a man to keep them company because there just aren’t any decent ones where they live. Unfortunately, the man they bring into their midst is Jack Nicholson, who is aptly cast as Satan or one of his closest associates. After having their fun with him, the three realize the error in their ways and set about to get rid of him. I don’t know if you call that unconjuring or what; I’m not an expert in that field.
Needless to say Jack aka Satan does not go quietly into that good (or bad) night. He resists with his full demonic powers, which turn out to be quite substantial. The scene that produces the priceless line comes when the witches manage to create a windstorm that blows Satan into a local church, which just happens to be having services at the time.
When the crazed and completely disheveled Nicholson looks around, he realizes that he is completely out of place, and he tries to buy some time as he nervously backs out of the church as quickly as he can. Incoherently he babbles on about the three women who sent him there, and then with that patently evil smile that Nicholson does so well, he throws up his arms and shrugs.
“Women,” he says from near the door, “did God make a mistake, or did he do it on purpose?”
Add the word pastors after the word women and a lot of us can almost identify with Nicholson’s perplexed exit line. “Women pastors: did God make a mistake or did he do it on purpose?” More and more churches these days are faced with hiring a woman to pastor their congregations. It’s either that or go without a pastor. Some churches are too conservative (substitute stubborn if appropriate) to acknowledge what is happening and even consider a woman. Other churches accept women grumbling about women’s lib and liberals in general.
I won’t go there right now, but here’s a surprise, I do have a theory, and I think it is buttressed to some extent by scripture. For the most part I don’t blame women for what is happening. I blame men. Sure, there are some women who are taking church leadership roles as a sort of power trip to prove that they can run things. That is hardly a uniquely feminine phenomenon. Men have done that for centuries.
My theory is that women are stepping in to fill the voids in our pulpits because men have abandoned their roles and responsibilities to do so. If more men valued serving God in churches, fewer women would need to. Women have simply had the courage and the calling to step into the breach when men have run the other way looking for safer and more lucrative endeavors. Don’t blame the women for that; look to the men.
We have only to look to the Bible to see an example of how God uses what He has, to do His will. For generations the chosen Hebrew nation was promised a Messiah. When he finally came in the form of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, they looked the other way because Jesus didn’t fit their preconceived notions of what the Messiah should be. Imagine that. God didn’t create the Messiah to fit our notions; He created and sent Him to us to fit His notions. How dare He?
When the Hebrew nation refused to fulfill the covenant it made with God that made them His chosen people, God simply moved on to the Gentiles and the bold Hebrews that broke with the mainstream. The Messiah became their Messiah and a new covenant was formed with everyone but the Hebrews. They are still welcome, of course, but only on God’s terms.
Could that same thing be happening today? Is it possible that God is giving women a chance to be pastors because men, like the chosen people who rejected the Messiah, have abdicated their responsibilities and, in effect, rejected their calling? God calls those who respond. If they don’t respond, He finds someone who will.
His will and His plan will not be thwarted, no matter what.