It may seem strange that I became an egalitarian through the back door of Old Testament patriarchal culture and history. But it worked for me because the whispers of subversion became louder than the voices of patriarchy and oppression. Those whispers sounded like God. My Old Testament studies gave me permission to rethink the New Testament and how its writings might also be subversive to patriarchy. Eventually I followed those whispers into the egalitarian camp. I was all in.
Last Sunday I preached for the first time in my own church. I had preached before – but never for the church I attended.
A culture is built around the stories it tells. After telling my story of spiritual abuse and marginalization as a woman leader in the church, a man who attended a different church dismissed my story since it was not his own faith community experience.
Perhaps in this middle time between Eden and Eternity, God the Father is growing humanity toward maturity so that the systems, cultural dynamics, and patterns of the past are not what write our script but only Christ and his Kingdom.
There was a time I tried to keep both a hierarchical view of authority in the church and a freedom for women to use their Spirit-given gifts as they felt called by God. I had started wrestling through the issues of a woman’s place in the church. But I got caught in the middle where I was undecided about how far I would go along the spectrum of beliefs. I was certainly moving away from complementarian theology (women can only teach and lead other women; husbands lead, wives submit) which took shape during Bible college and was reinforced in my church.