Women Should Be Quiet in Church (?)

 j0442246 Between Attending Q conference last week and an interesting email I got today, I’ve been deeply pondering the role of women in the Church.  I guess it actually started a few weeks ago while I was listening to a local Christian radio broadcast by a woman about women in the church.  Her view is that women should not teach men the Bible for any reason, ever.  If they do, they are disobeying God, and outside of His will.  Women like this should be asked to be quiet and not teach men.  I know that is  extreme view that many men and women do not hold, especially men and women who read my blog. But it got me to thinking…

The Q conference was heavily male dominated both on the presenter side and the participant side.  I’m not knocking the Q guys at all.  They brought an amazing array of presenters, some women that I never knew about, and so glad I was introduced to.

During one of the presentations, Phyllis Tickle, an older woman talking about the Spiritual Disciplines, said,

If you are a white, middle-class woman and are fasting from chocolate, don’t even tell me.  White middle-class women annoy me.  I look in the mirror every day, and that’s who I see, so what does that tell you? 

The rest of the room went on with listening and learning, but I was stuck there.  I am a middle class woman.  My friends are middle class women.  I annoy myself sometimes, and my friends annoy me, but I was angry that Phyllis would say that in front of a room full of mostly white, highly educated, middle class men who I want to be respected by.

I decided to go to her Q&A session later that day and ask her about it.   She was very kind, sensitive, and said she did not want to demean the sacrifices people make to draw near to Jesus.  What annoys her is the attitude of self righteousness and pride that seems to be more prevalent than fasting itself.

I completely agreed with her, and got real sad about it.  I wondered why more women weren’t in attendance at the conference, and why more weren’t presenting.  I wonder all the time why women hardly ever teach from the platform at our church.  I wondered why more women I know aren’t leading their friends to Jesus through Bible study, or praying for one another.

I was left wondering if we women just aren’t doing our jobs as followers of Jesus.  Wondering if that is why there aren’t more leaders in my own church who are women.  Wondered about the Church in the United States in general.

I left the conference ready to brush up on my own walk with God.  I’ve started praying the hours, a practice what Phyllis talked about (there’s even an iPhone app for it.  It’s called explorefaith).  I decided to pray more and try harder at growing my own girls up to be smart, educated, and articulate about their faith.  They need to know  what they believe and why.   They need to be able to be feminine and honoring to God in their speech, but be able to hold their own in conversations with their peers now and when they grow older.  They need to be able to lead women when no one else is leading them.

This is what my good friend Gene Ort had to say about the subject (and he’s a guy I really respect)

Without women in the church, only half of the story gets heard. Without women leading.. women and children often get leftovers and token ministry. To much testosterone leads to imbalance. I believe Christ taught equality of sexes. Not too say men and women are the same, but the differences in ministry create wholeness. All strengths in ministry and leadership should be promoted and celebrated, male and female. Gender prejudice is just dumb and biblically ignorant. Just sayin’

If you’re a woman,  do you have something to say that will help, encourage, or inspire others?  Is your life worth multiplying?

I’m not saying whether my thoughts are right or wrong or absolute. I’m just wondering.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ancient Practices

Phyllis Tickle

As Christians, we have forgotten that we are citizens of two kingdoms.   We are citizens of this world, and of the Kingdom of Heaven.  They are not the same roles, and at times, they are very often in conflict.  We need to live our lives to show that our citizenship of the Kingdom of Heaven is absolutely undeniable.

  • The Spiritual disciplines are the way we make our citizenship clear to ourselves and others. 

3 Disciplines Govern the Body

Tithing, Fasting, the sacred meal

4 Govern Time

Sabbath, fixed hour prayer, liturgical calendar, Pilgrimage

  • The governance of time is the way we keep from being captured by time.  We give rhythm to our time.
  • Fixed hour prayer. 7x a day do I praise thee. 
  • Govern the week: Sabbath
  • Keeping of the Liturgical year

The business of Pilgrimage 

You can’t intellectualize holy places, you embrace them as Faith, and a faith experience.  Take a pilgrimage to the places where Faith has been actualized by years and the prayers and faith of the saints.

Fixed Hour Prayer involves the business of praying every 3 hours

Benedictine Rule   You are not thinking the words you made up.  You are praying vertical and horizontal. You are praying to God side by side with the rest of the church.  When one time zone stops, the next one starts.  Very cool

Being a white middle class woman is one of the hardest places to be.  Living with no need does not drive the depths of your own spirituality very far.  Do not demean the attempts at sacrifices, because these are the first attempts to say “no” to self.  Discussion about “why” is very important. 

How do I push them past giving up chocolate?  Remind them that their sacrifices are just ordinary proof that they are a kingdom citizen.

Formation to become a Kingdom Citizen is the point.  Other people are not the point.  We learn the pledge of allegiance, we learn to salute the flag, we learn the Star Spangled Banner…all part of shaping our citizenry.

Every 500 years the church has a giant garage sale.  We give away everything  that we don’t like, and go back to romanticize “how good it was” back in the day.  This is why the new emergence is happening.

  • Glen Stal- Anglican prayer book was 7 weeks best seller in Ireland
  • John Franke-the plurality of Christianity

It is hard as anything to be transcendent in an old bowling alley (speaking of Emergent churches using anything for a church building)

When we lost the village church, mystique disappeared.  The offices are an aesthetic thing.  They make the places beautiful, and the places they are done in draw beauty from their surroundings.

I loved Phyllis and her passion to make “Kingdom Citizens”.  I’ve got lots and lots more thinking to do about what she had to say today.


Rob and I are going to the Q conference in Chicago this week.  I am not really sure what the Q stands for, but what I do know is this: 

  Q is aFile:Q portrait.jpg fictional character who appears in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, as well as in related products.

Q has nearly omnipotent powers, and is continually evasive regarding his motivations. His home, the Q Continuum, is accessible only on the rare occasions permitted, and the true nature of it is said to be beyond the comprehension of "lesser beings" such as humans.

Knowing this, I have really, really high expectations for this conference.  🙂