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What's in a Name?

Girl Pastor: what does it mean and why do I mean it?

A picture of me and some of my favorite Girl Pastors: Audrey Webber (L) and Barbara Davis (Middle).

The term 'Girl' can be applied to lots of different kinds of people. Sometimes in an innocent and appropriate way and other times in an effort to undermine, discredit, or misgender someone.

I am using the term 'Girl' very intentionally here.

My profession (church ministry) is still a field dominated by men. Masculinity, and masculine ideas about God, have informed the entire system in which I operate. I've been referred to as a girl many times. To be clear, I'm not totally mad that people think I'm young... I'm also a cis, straight, white woman. So the term 'girl' doesn't bother me all that much.

But more often than not, 'Girl' has been used to distinguish me from my colleagues.

My mostly white,

Mostly male,

Mostly older colleagues.

Am I going for a catchy title here? Sure. I'll readily admit that. But it's more than a catchy title. I'm trying to poke fun at the way the church (and society) still can't wrap their heads around women doing things out in the world, specifically around topics of faith, leadership, and the divine. Leaning into my femininity in my work feels not only empowering to me, but chips away the power of precedent. Pastors aren't only meant to be men and/or masculine.


Quick note about gender: this blog is fully affirming of all people. This is not a place to dump your hate on anyone, especially LGBTQIA+ individuals. To be clear, when I talk about women on the blog, I mean ALL WOMEN. Trans women are women. When I say gender, I mean exactly that: how individuals expresses themselves, in the feminine or otherwise. While this blog is a reflection of my own experiences, my aim is to converse with other people who have absolutely brilliant things to say about God and the church and ministry and life as a whole but hardly get the screen time they deserve because they don't fit a traditional mold. So much about the divine and scripture exists outside our gender binary anyway. There's lots to explore in this area and lots of people doing this work that I want to showcase them here, too.

Me with my firstborn outside my home congregation in Madison, NJ.

But what else?

There's so much more to talk about other than what I've already mentioned. In fact, all that boys club stuff will be a very small part of the site/blog/whatever. Girl Pastor will not only be about the topic of women in ministry. It will not only be a conversation about women's liberation, racism in our church traditions, etc...

It will also talk about lipstick. And what the big deal is about baking sour dough bread? And ways to style outfits around a clergy collar. And why it's so damn hard to exist in this world sometimes. It'll dabble in biblical academia, homiletics, and other nerdy bible stuff. And the best part, I will invite my amazing and brilliant friends to talk about all these things with me and more. I have lots of dreams for this space. I can't wait.

In closing...

Girl Pastor is supposed to be funny and pithy. It pokes fun at the many complexes people have with women and ministry and women IN ministry.

Every time I live into what makes me feminine, the things I love about being a woman while zipping up my robe and climbing up to the pulpit-- using the phrase Girl Pastor as a term of endearment for myself and others-- it takes back the tools others have used to hold women back and make distinctions between the many children of God. We are all created in God's image. That means God must be one wild being to behold...

How many of you out there have had your ministry work prefaced by your gender? Or any work you do? Let me know. I'll make a list of the most outrageous things that have happened to us and publish it here for us all to read and laugh at together.

Thanks for visiting Girl Pastor. I can't wait to meet you.


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