I Googled it."Women's roles in church."
(Side note: how did a brand name become a VERB? My soul just withered a little.)
Over 8 million results! Clicking on and reading just the first five I rediscovered what I already knew - there is a deep divide within the hearts and minds of Christians over the extent of women's participation in what I'll refer to as the assembly. For the rest of this blog, we'll just assume I'm talking about the Sunday morning, 10 AM, singing/preaching service that many of us call church when I say assembly.
Women discuss it - at length. Faithful, loving women. And even there, the divide is...well, divisive.
Can we serve communion?
Can we lead singing?
Can we preach?
Can we lead ministries?
Can women be elders?
These questions and many more are pervasive in today's church. And there are women, men, denominations, etc that come down on both sides of the issue. Some would say that church shopping is the answer - just find the church that agrees with you!
But my heart just won't accept that answer. As a woman of faith, I comprehend that there are many issues that are matters of conscience. Romans chapter 14 (just to name one) makes that clear. And things that are permissible that are not advisable, simply because how they affect fellow Christians.
Let me make a couple of things clear. I am NOT a bible scholar - I cannot debate the original Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic. I am a mother of DAUGHTERS, who will grow up to be (I pray) women of faith themselves. Women who contribute to God's Kingdom, in small or grand ways - I don't care which. This issue is one I study and pray about. One I discuss with my friends. So my beliefs are not randomly constructed, nor are they the product of tradition, which has become a thing eschewed by many.
I am not, nor have I ever been, a second class citizen in the Body of Christ. I do not now, nor have I ever, felt like a second class citizen in the Body of Christ. I do not need to preach, lead singing, lead prayers, or be an elder, to feel that I participate and contribute to the Body of Christ. In fact, the scriptures indicate that these things are outside my purview, simply as a matter of public leadership within the assembly and Body.
To those women who do feel they must have these rights, I have questions. Why is this important to you? Is it simply because you feel equality means sameness? Do you have to have the same job as your brothers in Christ to feel as important? Do you desire these responsibilities because Men of God are failing in them?
When I read my bible, I learn many many things. Not the least of which is that I am a child of God. And that God loves ALL his children. That as with any family, each child has different responsibilities, different talents and roles, and that each is absolutely necessary for the health of the whole. And that my role is critical to the Kingdom. As is yours.
In an effort to attract people to our cause, we have adopted the world's culture. Our attitudes have begun to reflect the world's, not God's. God never said that women were less, simply that their role is different. Submission is not total silence. Grace is not giving in. It follows that public leadership does not mean strength. Part of our problem is the way we are defining the issues. Look deep. God does not call his children to do things they are not designed to do. Is our own arrogance getting in the way of God's plans for us? Is our striving drowning out his love and guidance?