That Catholic-Anglican move: 10-23-09
A gift of music: 10-26-09

Celebrating female clergy: 10-24/25-09

I called up the Rev. Margaret Ellen Towner (pictured here) the other day and, in the process of catching up on her fascinating life, asked if she was interested in submitting her resume to my church, which is in the process of searching for a new pastor -- and I serve on the search committee.


Margaret, now in her mid-80s, laughed and said, "I'm not sure I've got that much energy left."

But she has had energy for ministry for more than half a century. Margaret was ordained to ministry in what is now the Presbyterian Church (USA) on Oct. 24, 1956, thus becoming the first female member of the clergy in our denomination.

And, trust me, Margaret, who lives in Sarasota, Fla., now, still has energy, though perhaps not enough to be the full-time lead pastor of an active 900-member congregation.

"Oh, I'm still doing it," she said of church-related work. In fact, she filled the pulpit for two straight Sundays at a Florida church in October. And she's continued to be active in Peace River Presbytery. In fact, she's on a committee that is planning a celebration of the presbytery's upcoming 20th anniversary.

"I'm not sitting by the wayside," she told me.

She's also trying to write a book about her life in ministry. But she's finding that a slow process.

"What I need," she said, "is a kick in the butt."

Well, maybe, but what Margaret Towner gave the Presbyterian church 53 years ago was a needed kick in the butt to consider the future ordination of many more women. Today, 27 percent of our pastors are female, while 45 percent of our specialized clergy (hospital chaplains and such) are female. And it's not unusual to find Presbyterian seminaries at which women students outnumber men.

Yes, there still are stained-glass ceilings through which women still must break. But things are radically different today than they were when Margaret was the only female clergy in our denomination. Which is reason enough to celebrate with her on the anniversary of her ordination.

For a quick snapshot of Presbyterians today, click here. And for more about women clergy in my denomination, click here.

* * *


For more proof that there are few, if any, simple answers when it comes to world religious trends, a new report issued Friday calls religious change around the world "a complex phenomenon." People with simple (and simplistic) explanations for what's going on in this field distress me. Life rarely is simple. And simple answers usually are wrong answers.


Just Thinking

It's good to see women in the clergy. There are so many people who don't respond well to men, especially children or adults who have been abused, or children who have grown up in a family without a father. And there are plenty of people in that boat. But that is, of course, far from the only reason for having women in the clergy.

The first person commissioned to be an evangelist was a woman. Jesus commissioned Mary Magdalene to go tell everyone of the good news that He was risen. And that was in a time when the witnesss of women was not respected. But Jesus obviously did not feel the same way.

One of the problems we have understanding the time of Jesus was that letters written by Paul and others were men writing to other men. And that has created some confusion. Also, the customs of the time didn't permit women to be in certain roles, especially in roles of authority over men. And, generally speaking, it was unacceptable for women to be engaging men other a woman's husband. We still see that in many Islamic nations.

The primary purpose of the Gospel was not as an instrument of social reform; those evangelizing did not want to cause trouble that would prevent the spread of the Gospel, which was of paramount importance. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." That was the attitude of Paul who wrote, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." Paul also preached against circumcision, but he had Timothy circumcised before going off to preach to Jews. Social reform was not nearly as important as spreading the Good News, i.e., the Gospel message.

A large Church which has men and women in the clergy has always seemed more balanced and enriching to me.

Lynne -

I followed the link to the article on worldwide religious changes. I wonder, is the last sentence a deliberate pun? :)

"The reports suggests that when it comes to tracking religious change, there is a strong case for suspending belief."

Dolores Lear

Susan: (Last night)
"Adam, I agree with you that evolution is about the origins of species -- it doesn't, and has never even claimed to, explain the origin of life itself."

",,there are few, if any, simple answers when it comes to world religious trends, - Life rarely is simple. And simple answers usually are wrong answers."

Evolution is about the Origins of the Species on Planet Earth. Not the Origins of LIFE Elements in the Universe, by? The Universe was Created before Life Species on Earth.

High Tech Humans and All Species existed before Life on Earth was Colonized on Day 1. The Sun, Moon, and Stars of the Universe, were not Created on Day 4 in Genesis,

There are simple answers for religious trends, when Scripture and Myth are translated with High Tech Science Knowledge today.

High Tech was Used on Earth 'in the beginning', on Day 1,2, to set up the 'firmament'/atmosphere, and Day 3 the grass, trees, bushes, etc., were added.

The Origins of Species, in the Universe is impossible to Know by Humans. Even with our High Tech Science, we can not Know Where the Atom/ElectroMagnetic Force Elements came from, that make LIFE as Humans Know it today.

GOD cannot be a Human 'Being' made from GOD Elements. The God/Us in Genesis are High Tech Human 'Beings', in our Image.

Life did not Evolve on Earth, but God/High Tech Humans, did Colonize Earth with High Tech Science, called Supernatural in Writings handed down by Humans without High Tech Knowledge.

So where did the High Tech Humans come from that Colonized Earth? Will Humans on Earth, ever Know how GODs Elements began to make a Universe?

The Generic Supernatural Man-Made Gods on Earth, in our Image, need to be Translated as High Tech Humans.

Will Graham

Is Daniel Dennet "Breaking The Spell" or trying to cast one of his own?

Will Graham


Daniel Dennet's Desperation:

Dolores Lear

The Religious Picture is changing with our High Tech Science. More and More Humans Question Gods Love, with all the Hate, Spouse and Children Abuse, Pollution, Killing, and War, since many Countries have Nuclear Bombs.

God/Us in Genesis 1, is not doing anything to us. God gave Humans Free Will, to Live by Their Rules of Peace on Earth, and Eternal Physical Life After Birth.

We do not have the Rules for High Tech Human Clone Caretakers. We only have Man-Made Moral Rules, the Ten Commandments for Body Birth Families, and all types of Government Rules.

In Genesis, the High Tech Male and Female Clone Helpmeets, were in the Image of God/Us. The Female is made from the Male Rib; they have Equality in Their Caretakers of Earth Lifestyle.

Their Job is to Keep their Planet Clean and in Balance, so they can have Peace with Eternal Physical Life After Birth, on Planets and in Spaceships.

Why this Original Purebred Clone Colony, decided to Reproduce Misbred Children is still an Unsolved Mystery.
The Female lost her Equality giving Birth, and the Male became the Head of the Family.

God/Us Humans are not Evil, they will not force Humans to be Celibate Clones, to have Peace and Eternal Physical Life on Planets and in Spaceships.

The record of Killer Evil Gods in Religious Writings are not the God/Us Humans that Colonized Earth, but the High Tech Noah/Atlantis Society like our Killer Society today.

Where are the Equal Male and Female Helpmeets? Killer Humans usually destroy their Planet, before they succeed in traveling very far into their Solar System.

High Tech Male and Female Humans are Killing their Planet, with their Pollution and Nuclear Bombs. Why?

It is Time to Accept Original Sin of Purebred Human Clones, was Reproducing Misbred Children, and a Killer Society ever since.

adam harrison

On comparing opponents to Hitler;

adam harrison

Science as a religion:

I see religion changing more recently than ever. Many views change. It is natural for us to change. It’s healthy. The more we know about religion the more successful our society will grow…

As usual we are meeting at black dog café 7pm tonight in the back room. Join us!

Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole


Bill, I am glad to see that more and more denominations are recognizing what women have to offer.

Just Thinking, I do agree that Paul was encouraging the early believers to do as the Romans do, so as not to hinder the spread of the gospel. But I just can't agree that his admonishments toward women were ONLY about fitting into Roman society. Because in I Timothy 2:11-14, after limiting the role of women, he follows this up by giving his reasoning that man was created first, then woman, and woman was the one who got deceived into sin.

Do you agree with Will and/or Adam's view that this wasn't "really" Paul's rationale, but was rather his way of faking out any Roman spies who might have got access to Paul's letters? It make more sense to me to just accept that Paul was a man of his culture -- and I think Jewish culture was every bit as sexist as the surrounding cultures (I didn't say MORE sexist -- just equally so).

So, yeah, I'm sure there was the motivation to fit into society and not make big waves that detracted from the main message. But I also think some of Paul's own sexist perspective got expressed in his letters. This is not to say that Paul hated women -- I know he spoke highly of some women who ministered with him -- just that it seems pretty obvious that he had the same human limitations we all have, in that being un-used to seeing women in authority, it seemed abnormal and ungodly to him, like a usurping of God's natural order.

That said, it IS kind of interesting to wonder if some Apostolic intstructions may have been nothing more than a smokescreen to throw off the Roman infiltrators.


Goldstein Squad Member -- can you honestly say that YOU'VE never compared an opponent to Hitler?

Once you guys quit likening everything you disagree with to "another Holocaust" -- maybe then people will start taking you more seriously when you accuse Atheists of doing the same.

Get the rocks out of your own eyes first -- maybe then you'll be able to see well enough to dislodge everyone else's fruity pebbles. :)

adam harrison

A Review of The Greatest Show on Earth.

Just Thinking


In 1 Timothy 2, there is something that you don't often see in other writings of Paul: he specifically points to what HE wants and what HE permits. It's about Paul's wishes and desires.

"I want men everywhere to" ...

"I also want women to" ...

"I do not permit" ...

Also keep in mind that this is in the book of Timothy, the same Timothy that Paul circumcised before sending him to the Jews. And remember, it was Paul who was the most vocal opponent of the necessity of circumcision. There's a stark contrast there between what Paul wanted and what God required. Paul was telling Timothy how to be successful in spreading the Gospel. I keep that context in mind. These were Paul's recommendations to Timothy.

I read "I do not permit" differently than "God does not permit." They are different, and should probably be interpreted differently.


Check out Calendar of all freethinking activities in KC at or

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Time: 3:00 p.m.
Event: SOS Weekly Westport Meeting
Sponsoring Organization: Secular Organization for Sobriety (Save OurSelves)
Place: Westport Coffeehouse, 4010 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111
Links:; Meetup page:
Additional Information: SOS meets each Saturday afternoon at the Westport Coffeehouse in Kansas City, Missouri. While the name implies an interest only in alcohol addiction, all addictions will be the subject of the group. Anyone who has alcoholism, a drug addition, an eating disorder or any other type of addiction is welcome. The group addresses these addictions without involving religious beliefs, but you do not need to be an atheist, agnostic or other free thinker to participate.

Time: 7:00 p.m.
Event: KC Freethinkers Reading Group
Sponsoring Organization: KC Freethinkers
Place: Black Dog Coffee House, 12815 W. 87th Parkway, Lenexa, KS 66215
Link:; Directions:
Additional Information: This is a regularly occurring event. See the web site for up-to-date information.



Re: your comment about the rock in the eyes of the Crazy Christian History Deniers...

The insane are trying to overtake the asylum with the rocks in their eyes... Good luck to them.

P.S. Let us hope that some time within the foreseable future (before Rapture and within our generation - 20 years or so) the crazy adamh/Will Graham/Andrew will announce a time and place when they will be able to meet with atheists face to face. Surely, the busy social life they have may get a break every now and then?

1-5 hours notice would be OK by me. If the crazy Christian History Deniers show up I'll treat them to a nice dinner at Applebee's, Chili's or Chuck'E'Cheezes.

The Master Debater and Glorious Leader James Christensen is also invited.

Will Graham

Kansas City "Free"thinker.

Back when you were doing your secret bible studies...we offered on AT LEAST THREE OCCASSIONS to meet with you if YOU would tell US in advance where the studies were.

You declined the offer.

You had your chance.

We will decide when you will get another, and it WILL be on OUR TERMS.

Got it, sport?

Will Graham

Susan, Dawkins starts our his new book The Greatest Show on Earth comparing those he disagrees with to HOLOCAUST DENIERS.

That said, I think the article and picture of Dawkins referred to in the 10:41 am post is HILARIOUS!

Don't you? LOL!

Here is a BOBA DIGEST article on your hero Sam Harris...he takes a swipe at the Jews... just like you did above!

"Sam Harris' Neuroscientific Escapades"


Iggy, in case you didn't know, James Christensen has asked that people quit calling him names like "Master Debater" and "Glorious Leader."


Christian History Denier wrote>>>>>>>>>>
We will decide when you will get another, and it WILL be on OUR TERMS.
Got it, sport?

So, froot loop, there will be a meeting on whatever terms you state, after all? You state "when" not "if?" I look forward to hearing from you. I hope it will be in this life time of mine and yours?

You were offered to come to many Bible studies, you turned down conditions.

You also have had MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO SHOW UP FOR ANY MEETUPS (schedued 1-2 times a week for the past 2 years) - a minimum of 100 meetups over past 2 years WITHOUT ANY CONDITIONS.

You never showed up or if you did never announced you were the crazy Christian History Denier and "never" got involved into any discussions about your fables that you bleive in.

So far, you are loosing on opportunities to show up, football. With or without conditions - a min of 100 meetups vs. your 3 chances?

You lose, sport!

You still have a chance tonight to show up at 7 p.m. at the reading group - we'll be there till at least 9 p.m. and then go to a bar nearby.

Tomorrow 7 p.m. is Chuck Lunney's book group.

Every time a Christain History Denier finds an excuse, god kills a kitten...


Will, now I know you are truly loopy! Where "above" did I take a "swipe" at the Jews?

Are you talking about where I said I thought Jewish culture (of Biblical times) was as sexist as the surrounding cultures of the same time period?

I made it clear that I wasn't saying Jewish culture was any MORE sexist than other cultures.

Gosh, you guys make it impossible for people to talk about the Bible without getting labeled anti-Jew! Aren't you aware that the whole Bible was written by Jews??? So, yeah, anything we say about the Bible's writers is going to be said about ... drumroll ... a Jew.


Also, Will, I challenge you to provide documentation that I've named Sam Harris as my "hero." If you've decided that soggy fruit loops are no longer your style, you'll admit that you fabricated this accusation.


Great reading meetup today - 15-17 people showed up and chat lasted 2.5 hours.

We had a Christian come who is a science writer for several national science publications, he has a story of his own. His church's elders kicked him out of the church just recently for his science writings and incompatiblity with the Bible.

We took a picture of everyone - hope to post it soon when they e-mail it to me.

Don't forget 7 p.m. Tomorrow at 91st & Metcalf at Borders Coffee shop - discussion of Richard Dawkins Book "The Greatest Show on Earth: Evidence for Evolution"

For other Sunday and weekday FreeThinking activities in KC visit or


Susan wrote>>>>>>>>>>>Gosh, you guys make it impossible for people to talk about the Bible without getting labeled anti-Jew! Aren't you aware that the whole Bible was written by Jews??? So, yeah, anything we say about the Bible's writers is going to be said about ... drumroll ... a Jew.

Susan, the loopy Christian History Deniers say that "culture" then was just "is" - "i.e. reality" and of god.

They cannot wrap their brain about today's culture as "is" and "product of society" and "achanging" - to them it is "vomit of sin" and "is not godly".

You can never win with the crazies trying to storm the lunatic asylum they have commited themselves in - the rock of reality is closing in on them and forcing them under it.

Alexander the Metal Worker

Susan, you're just now realizing Will (aka adamh, Goldstein) is loopy? The man continues to post under at least three seperate names despite the fact that everyone knows they're all from the same person...and he knows we know this yet he keeps doing it anyway.

Dolores Lear

Bill Referral:
"the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago released what it described as “the most comprehensive analysis to date of global religious trends.” - The reports suggests that when it comes to tracking religious change, there is a strong case for suspending belief."

At least Bill is open to Non-Belief on his Blog. So this report does make sense, that our High Tech Science Knowledge does make a difference, does make a case for suspending the Supernatural Beliefs from the Writings and Myths of past Humans.

The Supernatural High Tech Activity in Religious Writings and Myths, do need a High Tech Translation of Colonizing a Planet, and Reproducing the first Humans on Earth as the Female being Reproduced from the Male Rib. That does not seem Supernatural today.

Colonizing a Planet with High Tech does not seem Supernatural today. Handing down the writings of Past High Tech Happenings in our Past History on Earth, does not seem Supernatural today.

Thanks to the Religious Priests and Scribes, the 6 Days of Creating Life on Earth is the Blue Print of how to Colonize a Planet.

So Humans should be Thankful for all the perseverance of the Male Priests in the Past for preserving all this Past Supernatural Events, that can be explained with High Tech Science today.

Religious or Atheists all People are Humans. The Brotherhood teachings should be Called Equal Male and Female Children of GOD/LIFE, not just Equal Brothers, mostly Celibate Males, in many Religions, that devoted their lives to Saving the Past Supernatural Scriptures.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)