A few weekends ago a very close friend of mine, Carrie Tucker, graduated from seminary. We drove six hours through Dallas traffic chaos to see her stroll across the stage in her garb, enduring the three-hour-long ceremony because we were not going to miss such a monumentous occasion—a competent woman's voice being recognized by a powerful patriarchal system.
She isn't the first, but this changing of the tide marks a HUGE shift toward a more inclusive, broader perspective and healthier dynamic amongst organized religious folk. As much as organized religion has been used to harm, it is also a tool that has bound us together, mobilizing large amounts of people for good causes—hospitality, generosity, kindness, and joy.
While this graduation doesn't actually make Carrie's voice more valuable (her devotion, knowledge and insight were all there before she got those letters behind her name), those letters open doors. There's now one less reason not to include voices like hers in the quorum and I'm hoping the path is now paved for her to walk on through. There's a good chance her graceful perspective will change our trajectory for the better.