I am sitting in the convention center in Pittsburgh during the election process for our Presiding Bishop. There are, effectively, four candidates on the ballot at this time. Bishop Hanson, Bishop Jessica Crist, Bishop Eaton, Bishop Svennungsen. Three women and a man. As the results have been unfolding in these days, and it became evident with the results of each ballot that this was not going to be an automatic reelection for Bishop Hanson, the conversations are coming forward around the question listed above.
My sense is that a few things are going on? First, we are in a cultural and societal upheaval that is impacting all aspects of life. This is not the world any of us grew up in. Rapid and earthquake-like shock waves are unfolding across education, government, psychology, religion, economics. EVERYWHERE. That is a very important factor, that should not be ignored.
Second, we live in a time of impatience with leaders. Let me clear, this is not a critique of any one person or leader. Rather, it is a factor. In the United States the public becomes tired of its leaders quickly. This has been evident with our public view of United States Presidents. Today, there is already talk of 2016 presidential elections, yet President Obama has only just begun his second term.
Third. One person approached me and said, "What do you know about this strategy of having all women candidates as the alternative?" I immediately said something to the affect of, first off that is not what is happening. There is no strategy. I think what is going on here is the emerging collective feminine voice. Notice that there were many men who were in the top 20' myself included. All of the men stepped back. Why? We each have our own reasons. Bishop Mike Rinehart expressed thoughts that I resonate. For me, I have just begun to serve in New England. I'm having a good challenge and a good time. Regardless of our various reasons, some eleven different men stepped back. Yet, the women did not. They allowed themselves to be available for the call. There is much more I could write about this, but the speeches are about to begin, and I want to be in discernment about this process.