What If?

What if women had a more prominent role in the Church?

Not that women would need to dominate, take over, and turn every woman into a feminist.  Not necessary. 

What if women still respected men as the Leaders, lived Biblically sound lives, but had a chance to speak their minds in a humble and unique way? It doesn’t happen at most churches I have attended.  Most women aren’t jerky and demanding about it.  They’re just quiet.  And passive.  And really quiet.  They talk to each other when they have a chance, but with getting kids from the parking lot to their classes, and then to their seats, then back to their classes, then back to the parking lot and their car, there isn’t much time even for speaking to one another in church.  Their voices simply aren’t heard.

I am amazed that as soon as the topic of women talking in church comes up, many automatically lump the person talking about it as “feminist, domineering, rebellious, etc.”

I love men. My dad is a man.  My brothers are men.  I was raised in a world of men (me and my Mom had to hold our own, and we did just fine).  I married a man.  I love him deeply.  He’s the head of our household just like God told him to be in the Bible.  I completely respect him.  I respect my pastors.

But..what if?

I think women would raise issues that aren’t being raised.  I think the orphan problem might be solved.  I think more broken people might be healed.    I think women have an ability to both think and feel that is helpful for those who just think a lot. (not saying all men are this way, but some are).

I see a trend in the young men I know.  I see them seeking after middle class college professors, authors, and musicians as their only source for Biblical inspiration and interpretation. This isn’t bad, just inbalanced. 

I think women would feel better about themselves knowing God can use women in powerful ways. I know scores of highly educated, intelligent followers of Jesus who feel worthless because there is not a place for them in the Church.

Its funny how when you throw a subject out there, like I did with this one the other day, how others can sometimes state the way you feel better than you can.  I’ll leave you with Cindy’s thoughts, then I’d love to hear yours:

Maybe there was a time when women weren’t the best choice as leaders and teachers. But we have women senators, congressional representatives, judges, college professors and university presidents, CEOs and hopefully someday a woman president. There have been many queens who ruled their countries, even centuries ago, and many presidents and prime ministers in other countries. There are many women heads of household. Women are scientists, doctors, astronauts, engineers, and inventors. Women hold high ranks in the armed forces and die defending our country. And women (mothers and wives) have long been understood to be primary influences in prominent men’s lives. There are many women who will be lost to the Christian message if they believe it can only come from a man’s tongue.  It’s just time for everyone to get over it.

9 thoughts on “What If?

  • May 5, 2010 at 9:33 am
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    Get over it?!!!

    What? The Bible?

    I respected all that was said here about what wonderful things women do, but……..GET OVER IT?

    Really!

    Grandpa Mike

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  • May 5, 2010 at 10:24 am
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    In his newest album, Jamie Cullum covers “If I Ruled the World,” which I’ve claimed as my theme song this year–not out of an individualistic desire to rule the world but believing that God will someday reinstate humanity as rulers of the earth under God’s reign.
    Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on that tangent. I just meant to say that one of the lines in the song (which dreams of an ideal world) says, “Every voice would be a voice to be heard.”
    Perhaps the woman’s silent role in church is also why you don’t see as many women as professional theologians.
    You make an excellent point that typically women have a perspective that males don’t necessarily have (of course, we’re generalizing), and I send a hearty amen.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 10:35 am
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    Also, one side note: Mike, I don’t think Cindy is saying to get over the Bible but to get over certain traditions that developed over time and in certain contexts of how to live out the Bible. Her line of thinking seems to follow theologians such as Scot McKnight, William Webb, and (perhaps especially) John Stackhouse. Of course, I can’t speak for Cindy, but seeing as how I agree with her statement quoted above and my belief comes from an interpretation of the Bible which considers the context in which statements regarding the role of women in the church are made (really the context of every story and statement in the Bible) in order to better understand how the original readers interpreted the message and how we can then appropriate God’s divine, authoritative word for our times in our cultures, I make this bold statement in her stead.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 10:43 am
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    Will I debate such intelligent and caring females?

    Perish the thought!

    I would be lost in the dust.

    Mike Maddex

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    • May 5, 2010 at 11:38 am
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      Mike, you crack me up! I suspect you are surrounded by wonderful women who respect you and whom you respect.
      I will admit that perhaps the phrase “get over it” was not the kindest or best way to put it.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm
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    I was independently raised to think for myself and believe that “I can do anything you (man) can do” (thank you, Audrey). That comes w/ the good and the bad. Good – I’m strong, intelligent and can think for myself. I’m not a doormat nor am I willing to be patronized or dismissed as a walking skirt or baby factory. Bad – I can be jerky and demanding about it sometimes. I can be blindsided with self-righteousness because I’d rather be heard (1 Cor. 13:1) than understood. That said, I’ve come to believe that the scope of how we define male and female roles in the church should always be characterized by the leadership of Christ within them. Gifts, talents, wisdom; God offers this to everyone (Matt. 7:7). As we draw closer to Christ and surrender our will for God’s will, our roles within the church will become clear. Honoring God means doing what He asks, not necessarily what culture defines in the margins. When this happens, respect comes naturally. We grow to love and call out the gifts in all of us. We nurture the Christ within while modeling the church to the world. My pastor once said: “God uses anyone and everyone. He’s not controlled by the limits of leaders; He’ll call someone else.” God uses men and women. Period.

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  • May 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm
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    I grew up quite opposite. I was afraid to speak my mind: to my parents, my friends, my teachers. I avoid conflict like the plague.

    As a young adult I feel like I’m ‘finding my own’, which turns out to be a lot different than the ‘norm’. It’s difficult for me to speak out but this new lifestyle of mine makes my heart beat fast, just like it did when I first gave my life to Christ. It’s hard not to share good news!

    On that note, if a church sought out not only woman’s opinions, nurturing thoughts, and general attitudes I think it would send a message of acceptance, peace, and develop a natural balance of ‘mother’ and ‘father’ views in the House of God.

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  • May 7, 2010 at 4:54 pm
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    Though I could REALLY expound on this subject, I’m not! 🙂
    But as someone who has been in the controversial-complex role of Wife-Mom-Pastor, I can say that the greatest thing a woman can do is do what God created her for. And if that so happens to be a pastor or a leader in His House, then so be it. I’d also add that when God calls a chic to church-leadership, she should step into those shoes humbly & be willing to wash dirty feet in the same humility that Jesus did. A woman should not aspire to lead in the church merely to prove a point. Jesus didn’t wash feet & hang on the cross to…neither should we. Great post, Michelle! Thanks for putting it out there. Grateful, Heather

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