I did not find enough value in women.
Maybe I am being too easy on myself.
Calling myself a pig is probably more accurate.
Specifically, I am referring to my views on the role of women in the church.
I was not motivated out of hatred. My goal was not suppression. I just thought I was doing what God wanted. I somehow convinced myself that my view of women was better for everyone.
We did not allow women to speak in a church service. Women were not permitted to ask questions or to pray. Most women did not work outside of the home. Those that did were either single or had not had kids yet. Once marriage, and certainly kids, happened, women were expected to stay home.
There were probably more stupid rules, but not being a woman, they did not affect me. So why would I have noticed?
The goal was to have a high view of women, but I wanted to be Biblical about it.
And sometimes we use the word “Biblical” to describe our traditions and values so that we can excuse them.
The Power of Perspective
Now I benefit from interacting with smart, God-loving, graceful women. I hear them pray. I read their books. I listen to their insight. And I have even heard a few preach.
When I attended Catalyst Dallas last May I heard a woman preach for the first time. You could call it a talk if it makes you feel better. Officially it was part of a conference, not a church service. It was in a church, but not on a Sunday. The audience was not a local church body, just a collection of pastors and church leaders.
Sermon or talk? I’ll let you decide.
But her message was incredible. Christine Caine, co-founder of the A21 Campaign, a group that works to stop human trafficking for the sex industry in Eastern Europe, spoke about putting an end to this modern day form of slavery.
She spoke powerfully because of her perspective. A perspective that no man could have offered. Caine was sexually abused as a girl. She has suffered in the same ways that these women are suffering.
And I needed to hear about it. I needed to understand that I don’t understand. I needed someone who has felt it to tell me that the pain was bad.
Caine found healing, though. Healing that could only come through the gospel. And when she spoke of being healed by Jesus from this abuse, her perspective made her message powerful.
Both men and women are made in the image of God. We both equally reflect who God is, just in different ways. Yet when it came to matters of the church, I personally refused to acknowledge this. I treated women as if they only needed to be taught and that I had nothing to learn.
I realize that there are Bible verses that are used to support keeping women silent and keeping them at home. I know because I used them myself.
I have to ask, though, is that what the verses really say? Is it possible that we interpret them through our cultural bias? One that has traditionally viewed women as inferior to men?
I don’t know the answer to the questions. I make no claims of being a theologian or a Bible scholar. I do know this, though. I have benefited greatly from hearing women pray. I have benefited greatly from discussions involving women in my small group.
I have benefited greatly from hearing Christine Caine speak.
Sermon or not.
What are your thoughts on the role of women in the church? Let me know if you think I am right or wrong by leaving a comment.
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