Just my Opinion…

March 13, 2012

It seems like one topic keeps coming up in all sorts of different areas of life – school, church, conversations with friends, things posted on facebook, etc.

Women in the church.
Now, I’m not talking about women being pastors, preaching, or being elders.  I’m not discussing my view on the whole egalitarian/complimentarion argument.  That’s another can of worms that I don’t even want to get into.

What I’m talking about is the way women are treated in the church body.

I know I’m abnormal when it comes to the majority of women in the church.  I’m even abnormal when it comes to the majority of men in the church.  I’m one of the lucky few who’s been given the opportunity to attend a Bible college.  I’ve been taught by amazing men and women of God how to study scripture in a deep level, doctrine, theology, and even bits and pieces of the original biblical languages and how they change the way scripture is read in English.  This has turned me into a strong willed, opinionated woman.  (…when it comes to Biblical things.  I’ve always been strong willed and opinionated about life in general)  Because of this, I think I might see repression of women in the church a little more than others.

I’ve heard from various people that women are not looked down on in church settings.  I have multiple personal experiences showing me this isn’t true.

One example…
A while ago, I attended a college/young adult group with a friend.  The man in charge introduced himself to me and, during that conversation, discovered I had attended Multnomah.  He said he thought that was great and then went off to talk with others in the group.  I didn’t think anything of it until Nate arrived.  This man also introduced himself to Nate and, as soon as he discovered that Nate also had attended Multnomah, started discussing something theological that has been on his mind recently.  Even when I tried to join the conversation, this man didn’t engage me at all and continued focusing on Nate.  Needless to say, this drove me crazy!  This wasn’t me desiring to preach, it wasn’t me desiring to have authority over a man, I simply desired to join in on a conversation about something that interested me and I was passionate about.  Even strict complimentarians should have no problem with that.  (And, yes, I discussed with some other people in the group and that attitude regarding women occurred often with this man.  I wasn’t making it up that he was ignoring me because of my gender)

I guess my point is, no matter what a person’s theological view of women’s roles in a church, they should treat women as equals.  Women have brains.  We have God given talents that should be used to our full potential.  Instead of thinking about how to rein women in and make us submit, how about we think about how much freedom we can give women in the church.  Instead of reading the Bible looking for where it says what women can’t do, how about we read it looking for what women CAN do. Instead of seeing a women with the more “manly” gifts of the spirit and expressing that she can’t use those gifts, how about we figure out ways that she CAN use her gifts.  God doesn’t give gifts and then tell someone not to use them.  Egalitarians and complimentarians alike can find ways to show women that they’re not second class citizens in the eyes of the church.  Women are valuable assets!

Ok, rant over.  🙂

  • YES. Let's get together and talk about this soon. I've been thinking about all the same things. Also because you're great.

  • Amen and amen. I know Miranda has experienced something similar to you in this regard on several occasions. Sadly, I didn't notice it at first and I didn't think work toward including her in the conversation like she deserved. We men are foolish to think (whether overtly or subconsciously) that the women in our presence have nothing to add. Indeed they have much to add.

    – Brian

  • rant on!

  • Hi, Susannah. Do I know you? I just saw that you've linked to my blog, Story in the Middle. I was just about to link you to my friends too since I just wrote about gender reconciliation. Thanks for writing what you did. Stories like yours is what I am looking for in my pursuit of understanding what is supporting the wall between men and women.

    Bless you!
    Harriet

    • No, I don't believe I know you. A friend of mine posted your blog on facebook and I really liked what you had to say and wanted to hear more insite from you.

    • I wasn't sure since I too went to Multnomah. Maybe our paths will cross sometime. Keep writing!

  • Yes! I have seen a lot of this sort of stuff, too. (And some who call themselves complementarians may have a "reason", believing you are trying to teach. Not kidding. I've seen it.)
    I know guys who consider it a conversation with me when they download everything they want to say to me & then their eyes check out everyone else in the room while I talk to no one, because he's not listening.
    I am so grateful for my husband. God is good to give me someone who treats me with respect. I hate that a sizable segment of the church does not see this problem.
    (p.s. I wish I had gone to Bible school. Good for you!)

    • You're right, it really is great having a husband who respects me! Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂

  • Oh, my. Yes. This happens in all kinds of ways and places. For the last 30 years, I've been part of a church that ordains women. EVEN HERE it shows up occasionally. My favorite response is this one, from a powerful African-American (male) preacher: "If you're gonna baptize 'em, then you better be ready to ordain 'em." Yeah and amen. The gifts are given to the CHURCH, not to the men. The dreams in Acts 2 visit ALL of us. Sigh.

  • Your post reminds me so much of my mom! She is also an educated and spiritually gifted Bible teacher–and at various times, she's also been frustrated by the ways churches are set up to not allow women to best use such spiritual gifts. But wherever she is allowed, my mom has been teaching Bible classes to her own children as well as children's church and youth group classes for her whole life–so she's always found ways to use her gifts.

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