“I can’t believe they hired a woman to preach there. What a shame.”
My family and I were driving past the church that my dad had previously pastored. I was nine years old at the time, a firm believer in Christ, and the statement struck me as odd.
“What’s wrong with a woman preaching?” I asked.
“The Bible says women aren’t allowed to preach or pastor churches. That’s only for men.”
A terrible grief pierced my heart. Really, God? I wondered. You would save me from my sins, teach me your Word, fill me with your Spirit, cause me to love you with my whole heart, then say I can’t minister in your church because…I have a vagina?? I just couldn’t believe it. Continue reading →
Trigger warning for victims of rape, sexual assault and spiritual abuse.
At the recommendation of several people, I’m currently reading the book Boundaries by Cloud, Henry and Townsend. It’s proving to be a real eye-opener for me. Not only am I unable to say “no” to the bad, I’m apparently unable to say “yes” to the good in my life as well. No wonder I’m so exhausted.
It’s not that I lack self-control. I’ve got that in spades. You won’t catch me chewing out clerks in the checkout line or flirting with hot guys at the bookstore. It’s just that I don’t know where my internal property lines are. I don’t know how to take proper ownership of my feelings, express my needs in healthy ways or let the right people in.
When I started Revolutionary Faith a year ago, it was never my intention to write from a largely personal perspective. I had done that on a previous blog and wanted to keep this one Bible-centered as much as possible. That’s still my intention.
But, for today, I need to make an exception. And a confession.
I announced (rather boldly) a while back that when it comes to gender relations, I’m functionally egalitarian. In reality, that’s only half true. Complementarian teachings have had their claws in me for years, and they’ve proven rather difficult to shake.
Today, many Christian writers and pastors lament the lack of men in the church. Despite all the books written on the subject and all the programs designed to draw men into the church, congregations remain stubbornly and overwhelmingly female. Experts estimate that between 55 and 70 percent of churchgoers are women–a statistic that confounds the people who claim that the Bible and church are hateful toward women.
Of course, there are sociological, psychological and other reasons for why so many women are drawn to Christianity. (See “Why are Most Churchgoers Women?” for a scholarly overview of these various reasons.) However, I’d like to provide one simple explanation of why the gospel appeals so strongly to women–perhaps one that hasn’t been explored in much detail. But first we have to go back–way back–to the beginning of history. Continue reading →