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Growing up in rural South Dakota, we attended a Lutheran Church located a few miles south of our farm. It was unthinkable that there would ever be a woman pastor.

But that was then and things have changed. The most recent pastor was indeed a woman and the congregation loved her!

Apparently some aren’t as open-minded on this issue. The Southern Baptist Convention just ousted the infamous Saddleback Church with a weekly attendance of 30,000 people at 14 locations, and for what? Having women pastors.

I acknowledge that churches play an important part in a lot people’s lives and whatever floats a person’s boat is fine with me.

But since my youth, I’ve chosen to forego organized religion for many reasons - the absolutist position oftentimes of “my way is the right way”, the Christian Nationalism featuring the “guns n’ god” mentality now infecting our society, the expansion of megachurches with fabulously wealthy pastors, the anti-LGBTQ positions, the pervasive hypocrisy completely at odds with Jesus’ teachings, the underground abuse of children, and the patriarchal hierarchy - to name a few.

My spirituality is personal and centered around love, empathy, kindness, equality, forgiveness, and social justice....and I don't need to be part of an institution to support those ideals.

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Boy, do I hear you. I considered a ministerial career, and was offered a job as youth minister in a large, urban, university church of my family’s denomination. As I read and considered the implications and requirements, I came to the conclusion that the whole scene was not for me. I don’t need to participate in “the clubhouse on the corner,” as one minister characterized his job to me.

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