I posted on Twitter and Facebook before the election that I was frustrated by the assumption that because I'm a woman, I would automatically vote for a woman. (This seemed to mirror the assumption that women would automatically vote for Gov. Palin for the same reason. Nope.) I also made it a point at that time to say that I was voting for a leader, not a gender. In complete honesty, I came to the assembly ready to vote for someone else. It was during the question and answer section of the process and during Bishop Eaton's messages that I realized that my decision wasn't so clear. I changed my mind.
To me, Bishop Eaton is the leader our church needs right now. But then my inner-sociologist emerged. (It's the part of me that picks apart all of my "assumptions," "coincidences," and "misconceptions.")
You see, the entire time I was at the assembly, there was a twitter feed that held interesting points, questions, and concerns. Basically, twitter was an electronic side-conversation for those of us who knew how to use it. And twitter was a buzz throughout the entire voting process. After the announcement, there were mixed feelings. Not because of the results, but because of how people reacted to it. All kinds of reactions from "Finally! A woman!" to "Don't tell me it's a good day for my daughter," to "I'm wondering if we can cheapen her election by placing her gender over her accomplishments."
I am so excited to be a part of a church that no longer has a [stained] glass ceiling. And while it is true that there is an underwhelming amount of women in purple Bishop shirts and college and seminary president offices, the fact of the matter is that women have breached these borders. And now; they've breached all of them. As one of my friends on twitter said; "My girls are now members of a church where they have no idea that there's anything women can't do." This is where my crossroads start. While I don't want to make Bishop Eaton's gender the focus, I can't help but point out how powerful my friend's tweet was. Because I believe that when you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, there should never be a wrong answer. So while it shouldn't be a deciding factor for her ability to do the job, Bishop Eaton's gender is important for the future if this church as we continue to preach a message of acceptance of all people as they are.
The second reason why I find her gender an unavoidable subject is the scientific, psychological, and sociological fact that men and women are wired differently. I'm a firm believer that we're complimentary genders, not opposite genders. It's a difference though, that leaves room for equality. It's a difference though, that's necessary. Because these differences bring different gifts, I can't help but wonder what calling a female Bishop says about the current needs of our church. I'd be really interested to hear what all of you think!
Thanks for reading!