In church leadership, men occupy a position of default; women occupy a position of difference. When we open a Word doc on our computers, the default settings are often different depending on the program we use. The default settings in Word on a PC may be different than those on a Mac or in Google […]
I should have realized it long ago; I should have recognized the signs.
But I didn’t. I suppose I was so lost in my own ideas that I didn’t notice. My husband and I were both raised in complementarian or patriarchal homes. Both of us were taught that the man was the head of the home, the priest and leader of the family, and that the woman was to submit to his leadership. He was wise to take her counsel, but the ultimate decision lay with him. He, as the man, made the final decision. And the wife submitted.
Soon after our 8th anniversary, we began homeschooling our children. The homeschooling community is, by and large, staunchly patriarchal. I threw myself into the whole scene. Women were to be raised to be keepers at home; there would be no careers for my daughters. I still remember my 5 year old daughter throwing herself on the couch in tears when she realized I didn’t support her desire to become a doctor.
Shaping future pastors doesn’t begin with college, or even a call. It begins at birth. It begins with parents and church families who intentionally foster the idea that our little boys and girls alike can be anything God calls them to be.
It begins with communities who nurture strength and bravery in their little people from the very earliest ages, who foster a faith in Jesus and a confidence that they are created in the perfect image of God.
There are four things that we can actively do to raise little girls today to be women pastors tomorrow.
I was a freshman in college and I believed that I needed to take the backseat of Christianity.
I was headed to Columbia, Missouri with some peers to do homeless ministry. People were piling into cars, and it came down to who was getting shot gun. Without a fight, I took the backseat. I told one of my peers: “I will take the back seat, I guess I am going to have to get used to this submission thing.” Defeated, I quietly slid into the back seat.
Learning to be an advocate for women is difficult when you have to unlearn years of a complementarian mentality, male privilege and the effect of centuries of patriarchy.
But I believe this is what we are called to pursue.
This has been my journey. Sometimes I think it has been difficult, but what is more difficult is seeing how women are being oppressed. Every man needs to face the messiness of what it means to be egalitarian, regardless of how uncomfortable or challenging it may be.
While at times I identify myself as egalitarian, sometimes it is more useful to say I’m a recovering sexist/complementarian/patriarchist. This reminds me I’m always on a journey in pursuing equality – not only because it means liberation for women from oppressive structures, but also because it means liberation for me.
So here I share a few things I have learned in my journey about being an advocate for women.
I recently had a conversation with a good friend. As we were talking, I shared some frustrations I had surrounding ways that many husbands live out headship and their perceived authority in marriage. My friend is in his sixties, he’s a “PK” (pastor’s kid), and a good guy who has loved God his entire life. He’s a husband, dad, grandpa, and successful in his career.
As we talked, he paused and declared; “Tim, you talk so much about equality/inequality, authority, submission, hierarchy, and headship.
How to Be Egalitarian with a Complementarian Spouse. Well you cry a lot, sometimes, especially in the beginning. You both get mad and accuse the other of not being the person you married. You get into theological fistfights.. You sit opposite each other on the kitchen floor and joust back and forth with “Well how come we care about the prohibition of women teaching but not women wearing gold jewelry?” and “Well despite Jesus being so countercultural in his treatment of women, why were The Twelve all men?”
“If You Give a Woman a Bible” is a Top 3 Winner for The Junia Project’s 2017 blog contest. Laura Atwater cleverly uses the structure of the best-selling children’s book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” to illustrate the complexities that women in ministry must navigate.
If you give a woman a Bible, she will sit down and read scripture.
Once she reads 1 Timothy 2:8-15, she will question women’s roles.
In her questioning she will look to other scriptures.
While looking for other scriptures, she will come across the story of Phoebe and believe she is called to ministry…
This post is a Top 3 Winner for The Junia Project’s 2017 blog contest. “It was an American supermodel who first showed me an egalitarian view of the Bible. Kathy Ireland shared with me in an interview about her first modeling trip overseas when she was 18, when her loneliness led her to read the Bible her mom had slipped into her suitcase, and how Jesus’ love, honor, and care for women led her to God.”
In 2015, a few months before my wedding, I wrote a blog for the Junia Project titled, 6 Things Egalitarian Marriage is Not. At that point, I had only a theological and biblical understanding of egalitarian marriage. Today, Ryan and I are just just shy of our 2 year anniversary, and I’ve got some egalitarian newlywed experience to offer as a sequel. Two different, individual people coming together to live as one flesh, come to find, is a process! It’s all too easy to live in the world of “me, myself, and I” when it comes to feelings, thoughts, opinions, and decisions. I continue to learn what it means to be “us”, and that what I do always has a direct effect on my husband. With that said, these are the relational dynamics that I’ve found to reveal whether or not an egalitarian marriage is underway.
It is Friday afternoon and my 14-year old folds her tall frame into the passenger seat. “Mom, I am so angry.” Uh-oh. My mother’s heart braces for teen-age trouble.
“Today in class, Mr. X. said that women cannot be pastors because they are inferior to men. And Mom, when I told him that I think that God has equipped women to be or to do anything that God calls them to, including pastor, he told me I was wrong and that my perspective was unbiblical.”
“This is What a Leader Looks Like” is a series adapted from an interview project on women in leadership conducted by Naomi Hall. Naomi recently served as a student intern with the Center for Transformation Leadership, a joint endeavor of the Free Methodist Church of Southern California and Azusa Pacific University. Meet Natalia Álvarez. Natalia is from […]
“This is What a Leader Looks Like” is a series adapted from an interview project on women in leadership conducted by Naomi Hall. Naomi recently served as a student intern with the Center for Transformation Leadership, a joint endeavor of the Free Methodist Church of Southern California and Azusa Pacific University. You can read the more about […]
Welcome to “This is What a Leader Looks Like”, a series adapted from an interview project conducted by Naomi Hall. Naomi recently served as a student intern with the Center for Transformation Leadership, a joint endeavor of the Free Methodist Church and Azusa Pacific University. Today’s interview is with Janette Ok, a Teaching Pastor at Ekko Church and Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, New Testament at Azusa Pacific Seminary. She writes “In the fifth grade, I attended a camp for Korean-American youth. At the end of the camp, I received a “paper plate” award that read, ‘Janette is bound to become a Sae Jong camp counselor someday due to her leadership abilities.’ That was the first time I saw myself a leader and, ever since, I have tried to discover what it meant to be a great one.”
“Some women were watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women had followed and supported him, along with many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him.” (Mark 15:40-41) We know from all four gospel writers that a […]