I remember that Christmas when what I wanted most in the whole world was to be having a baby. We had been hoping to have children for a while, but after some tests we were waiting for an appointment with fertility specialists. It was November when we got the news that conceiving on our own might not be possible, and I was devastated. As Christmas got closer, the last thing I wanted to hear about was pregnancy and babies – and here we were entering a season where a story involving those exact things was all around me.
When I teach about the Trinity in my introductory theology class, the topic of God and gender often comes up. “Is God male?” Let’s think about that.
The Bible often refers to God with masculine personal pronouns. Following this, Christians usually say “He,” “Him, “His,” and “Himself,” when referring to God. Trinitarian language is predominately masculine (“Father” and “Son”) though “Holy Spirit” is more elusive. Many popular Christian books celebrate the more masculine qualities of God (especially books for men and books on ‘leadership’): God is a hero, a conqueror, a warrior, a triumphant king, and so forth.
Even so, I would be extremely hesitant about saying that God IS male; in fact, I would push further to argue that such a notion applied to God, absolutely and without qualification, is both false and misleading.
As both a woman in ministry, and a mom, I often feel like I live in tension.
I’m sure all working moms feel this tension. There’s a constant pull between pastor-me, and mom-me. I have moments where I feel like I’m not using my gifts to the fullest, like I’m not living up to my calling, like I’m not doing all that I could be doing. I look at others, and I feel that twinge of jealousy. How are they doing it? What choices have they made? What is different in their lives?
Around the world, 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of abuse from a male intimate partner in their lifetime. In the UK the number of women who have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 15 is comparable. And a survey conducted by the CDC reported that 1 in 3 women in the U.S. experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
This is arguably the largest human rights violation of our time. And yet – despite this prolific reality being mirrored in the church, we have largely remained silent on this life-altering experience so embedded in our homes and neighborhoods.
The truth is that you know a victim of abuse. It might be your mother, sister, aunt, friend, or a teenager in your church youth group. The chances are she hasn’t felt safe enough to reveal the terrible pain she has suffered in the privacy of her relationship. Domestic abuse is easy to hide, but can be challenging to identify. In this post I go through how the Bible informs our understanding of domestic abuse.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please share to raise awareness in your circles! “I thought my dreams were about to come true when I [finally] got married. I left my family, friends, and my job as a pastor in Canada to move to the U.S. for love. I had waited a long time to meet a guy I could partner with in ministry. My American husband had wooed me with his discourse of our shared theological studies, passion for church work, and a vision of us as a happily married couple in ministry together. Babies would complete the picture of our Christian nuclear family. After our vows, I was shocked to immediately find myself in a different kind of nuclear situation: domestic violence.”
I wrote this note to a friend who continues to believe in “Biblical gender roles” and thought it might be encouraging and helpful to others.
Every girl and boy, woman and man bears the image of our Creator. And each person has a unique set of gifts that God wants to use in powerful ways so that the Kingdom will be “on earth as it is in heaven”! Sadly, too often the church fails to empower ALL of God’s warriors because their strengths and gifts don’t fit into the right “gender box”. Like Jesse and Samuel not expecting David, many of God’s anointed are passed over because they don’t fit prescribed expectations. I know too many men who have been shamed because their gifts didn’t line up on the right list of “manly traits”.
I was 32 years old before I heard the word egalitarian.
My universe was very small growing up. I, sort of, realized there was a Christian culture outside of my soft patriarchal, quiverfull one. But that’s how it was always understood. Being out there, on the fringe, barely Christian, if they were Christian at all. Even though I was shy and non-confrontational by nature, I grew up with a strong sense of justice…and the culture around me was unjust. I knew it. I had no theology to back it up, no one to talk to who could explain to me that there was a different way. I didn’t even have words to put to it. But I knew it was wrong.
No matter your church context – whether your church ordains women as ministers of the gospel, whether they involve women as preachers or only in potlucks, whether they draw the line at eldership, or grant full equality in role and function – there are steps men can take to help women feel valued, welcomed, and included. Here are some ways you can “open doors” for women in ministry.
This is a 2017 Junia Blog Contest Winner! [Click here for a Spanish translation of this post.] At 5 years old, I sang in my first church choir. My dad encouraged me to sing loud so he could hear me. I did, joyfully and unconsciously convinced that my voice was wanted and welcomed in my […]
This is a 2017 Junia Blog Contest Winner! We hope you enjoy it! For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a pastor. Raised as a pastor’s kid, my childhood is filled with memories of church and all things related. As a child, I loved the church; the building, the people, the […]
This is a 2017 Junia Blog Contest Winner! We hope you enjoy it! Pastor’s wife problems: Getting slapped on the behind after your husband’s sermon while the congregant calls out, “Good message from Kris today”. Almost like “good game” after a sporting event. Woman pastor’s problems: Getting grabbed by the face after your sermon and […]
This is another 2017 Junia Project blog contest winner. We hope you enjoy! My siblings and I were setting the table when we heard an echo from the kitchen. “Honey, please put down that chain saw and come in; dinner is getting cold.” It was a typical weekend growing up in our home. My dad […]
This is another 2017 Junia Project blog contest winner. We hope you enjoy! Sometimes I still believe the myths. You know, the soft rumblings of that devilish voice that says, “you don’t have much to offer a congregation beyond your work in children’s ministry” or “you can preach, but only at our women’s retreat,” or […]
As I listened to the pastor of my new church describe the insults and attacks he and the elders had endured after they made the decision to invite women onto the elder board, a weight lifted off my soul.
For the first time in my life, I discovered what it felt like to have male leadership take the hit for me.
Prior to this, only one or two individual men had heralded my gifts. Finally I knew what it meant to be part of a church body where I did not need to keep my mouth shut or squirm in my seat or disagree in silence whenever issues regarding women were addressed. Because that is my world for the most part.
While my own position concerning the role of women in the church has gradually changed, my work environment has not.
This is another 2017 Junia Blog Contest Winner! When we open a Word doc on our computers, the default settings are different depending on the program we use. The default settings in Word on a PC use the font Times New Roman. But on a Mac it’s Calibri, and in Google Docs it’s Arial. Maybe, like […]