Women make up 19% of active duty service members in the Air Force. I’m a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, and the numbers in my career field are even lower. The last statistics I saw reflected fewer than twenty female chaplains in the Reserves out of about two hundred.
And yet it’s in Air Force chapels where I have felt most welcomed, most encouraged, and most supported in my ministry. Yes, I have stories of harassment and marginalization, of being singled out because of my gender. And by highlighting the positives about my experience, I don’t intend to gloss over these challenges and offenses. Many women do experience sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military, and those issues certainly should be addressed.
But the military is also one of the most diverse places I’ve served. Although there are few women in the Chaplain Corps, I’ve found it to be much more welcoming of women’s gifts and ministry than the lay church. I think our churches in the “real world” can learn from this attitude of hospitality and openness.
Read on, over on Christians for Biblical Equality