I will likely be accused of heresy as a result of this post. Some of you will question my faith, which is fine. I know who and whose I am. Some of you will question my logic, which is also fine. I am a proponent of critical thinking. Some of you will question my husband and my marriage.. and that’s where you and I are going to have a problem. So before we even get there, let me be clear. I am a Christian. I love God. I love my husband, and as difficult as it is, I love you, too. That is the answer to any question that might arise out of this discussion. If at any point you are confused about my feelings, refer to these three statements.
Now, onto my premise. Brace yourself. The American Christian Church is oppressive to its largest constituency, women.
According to Pew Research studies, women are more likely to pray daily, attend worship services weekly, and say that religion is a major part of their lives. But many of these women sit in churches where they are not allowed to preach, teach, and in some extremes, even speak.
This week, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a conference that boasted 17 speakers. There was one woman speaker, and only women were allowed to attend her sessions. This same seminary just recently opened its preaching course to women, despite the fact that roughly 50 percent of its adherents are female. This, and other like-minded institutions have effectively disqualified half of its membership from holding leadership positions.
I have been to churches where women have to get permission from a man to speak. I have sat in services where pastors, men with wives and daughters, tell their congregations that women, due solely to their gender, are unable to hold offices. These men stand behind sacred desks and swear we are in our last days, completely ignoring the part of Acts 2:17, where the LORD says he will pour out his Spirit on all flesh. Flesh with girly parts is excluded somehow.
We have relegated a significant portion of our congregation to children’s ministry, cupcake-baking, and choir singing… and maybe, just maybe, they are gifted to do more.
Is not woman also made in the image and likeness of God?
Is she not fearfully and wonderfully made?
Shouldn’t a woman’s gift make room for her?
At some point, ‘Woman, Thou Art Loosed’ has to be more than a conference we send the ladies to attend, but what we say at their commissioning ceremonies.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.