The final part of my ordination process involved sitting before a committee of nine other pastors from my denomination. They asked me questions for well over an hour, picking apart the doctrinal statement that I had written. I did the best I could answering their questions, but one of them almost stumped me.
I am very much for women in leadership in the church, a position that I clearly stated in my paper. One of the panelists asked me how I would support female students in leadership even if I were working at a complementarian church. I gave some answer about doing everything I could to put female students in leadership roles, but the panel thought that I was talking about undermining the authority of the senior pastor. I told them that I didn’t really know how to respond to the question because I wouldn’t ever work at a church that didn’t support women in all levels of leadership.
Even though I’m no longer working at a church, I still can’t imagine attending a church that doesn’t support women in leadership. If I were to have a daughter I wouldn’t want her to go to a church that limits her because she doesn’t have a Y chromosome. I understand that some of you probably hold to a complementarian position; I think you’re wrong, but we can agree to disagree.
Young girls need strong role models, which is one of the reasons why I loved The Force Awakens so much. Rey is a wonderful character: talented, passionate and pretty handy with a lightsaber. Leia was a strong female character 38 years ago, but different times call for a different role model. Rey can be that role model. If I some day have a daughter I can’t wait to watch The Force Awakens with her. Hopefully she’ll want to be just as resourceful, compassionate and heroic as Rey.
If one were to simply look at the merchandise for The Force Awakens, though, one would at best assume that Rey was a minor character or at worst be oblivious to her existence. So many toy sets are missing Rey. She and Finn are definitely the main characters of the movie, but the toys make it look like Finn works alone.
Yesterday the Internet was asking where Rey was in the new Star Wars Monopoly game. Finn, Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren and Darth Vader all got figures but, once again, Rey was absent. In a statement Hasbro said that it didn’t want to spoil the movie by including a Rey figure holding a lightsaber. I appreciate Hasbro’s desire to keep things spoiler-free, but Rey could have been holding her staff: problem solved and no spoilers. Hasbro has announced, though, that it will rectify its mistake and include a Rey figure.
All throughout the marketing leading up to The Force Awakens I kept asking, “Where’s Luke?” That question has been answered, but I’m still left asking, “Where’s Rey?” Rey should be featured in as much merchandise as possible, not relegated to a few random and hard to find toys. She’s an awesome character and role model for boys and girls. Hopefully Disney will hear everyone asking, “Where’s Rey?” and answer in a resounding and empowering fashion.