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Friday, September 29, 2006
from lurker to contributor
hello friends. though i'm listed as a contributor to this blog, i've been a lurker since its inception. i guess i'm writing now to say, "we can make a difference." i recently wrote a post lamenting the dearth of women in church leadership. one commentor asked what could be his role in helping to bring about change, so i wrote a follow-up post with a list of tangible actions, in which i made the following suggestion:
in the same way that there can be no inactive (or passive) anti-racism, there can be no inactive (or passive) feminism. there can be active antifeminism. picketing, writing scathing posts, denying women roles and status and whatnot. there can be inactive antifeminism. simply doing nothing and letting the system, which is itself problematic, exist as it is. there can be active feminism. perhaps picketing, writing scathing posts, granting women roles and status and whatnot. but there can be no inactive feminism. because doing nothing leaves the system, which is itself problematic, unchanged.
as a result of that, the commentor decided to review his blogroll, and my husband has committed to profiling a different religious female blogger every friday on his blog. i consider that good news.

most days, i am discouraged about this whole thing. but today i am encouraged that small changes can grow and can turn into something larger. today, i am hopeful. what about you?

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posted by lynnette at 4:40 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/29/2006 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I think where, sometimes, it feels as if it is an ongoing cycle, in the grand picture, women have come a long way. I think we have to keep our voices in the mix, and persist. Some communities, have made huge strides a long time ago, and others, are still "way behind". We may not see huge transitions in some areas, in our life time, but we certainly can hope for future generations, and make an impact in the transitions.
    Thanks for posting, I hope you do more often, we really need to hear voices from all walks and beliefs.

  • At 9/29/2006 06:52:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Thanks for the encouraging post and bringing everyone into some new conversations.

    So glad you've contributed to our conversation.

  • At 9/29/2006 08:39:00 PM, Blogger Doxallo

    I'm not sure I've ever been a fan of 'affirmative action' which is what it seems a lot of women are looking for or asking for..but I agree with Michele that its good for women to keep their voices in the mix and persist. I see it as a simple part of life, there's no 'choice' or confusion - God didn't create me for silence. Of that much I know.

  • At 9/29/2006 09:55:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    Lynette, great post! Doxallo, I agree that "affirmative action" is not the way to go, yet I do believe that purposeful action to introduce and encourage voices living on the margins is extremely effective in giving those voices more opportunity to participate.

    I just finished reading an excellent book titled, "Living on the Boundaries: Evangelical Women, Feminism and the Theological Academy." They dig into why there are so few women in Evangelical academia or conference speaking, but their research really applies to the church as well. It was a very interesting read for me...and very eye-opening.

    At the end of the book, they list several pages of "practical suggestions" for those sympathetic to the cause of women in evangelicalism. Suggestions range from offering moral support to taking an active look at the gender assumptions within organizations and beginning to change foundational thinking. I've made copies for my pastor... :)

  • At 9/29/2006 11:00:00 PM, Blogger juniper

    I see that half the people in my bible college classes are women. I see that even though the pastorate at my church is largely male, there is a woman who has the largest sort of sub group at church and that there are many women who run a lot of the day to day affairs of the church. I know and have known women who have become worship leaders and received licensure. I am hoping this will be like the legal profession where there is a swell at the bottom and a gradually widening hole in the glass ceiling. I think we need to help and encourage the ones who come after.
    If anyone's interested, there's a good book that does some exegesis on the subject of men, women, and equality in the Bible called, "God's Women Then and Now." cheers all.

  • At 9/29/2006 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Ann

    Amen. Yea for feminists, men and women.

  • At 9/30/2006 01:30:00 AM, Blogger bfine107

    I'm glad this post has created a lot of conversation. I'm the commenter currently reviewing and thinking through my blogroll.
    It's interesting to hear a few mentions of "affirmative action" in reply to this post. I'm curious if that's what you think I'm leaning towards.
    I think my thought process and feeling on this is an acknowledgement of some societal sexism that is probably a part of my own thinking, regardless of how much I deny it. Knowing this reality exist, I think there is a good reason to intentionally and purposefully expose your mind to bloggers and authors you might not have happened across had you not been intentionally looking.
    Does anyone see a problem with that logic?

  • At 9/30/2006 08:41:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    Congrats on your first post, lynnette.

    And yes, we can make a difference. As cynical as I can be sometimes, I can't deny that fact. :)

  • At 9/30/2006 10:23:00 AM, Blogger Amy

    bfine107 - I think you're approach is terrific. Affirmative action can carry a particular set of assumptions and baggage with it and I don't think it describes what you're doing.

    A significant part of changing views of women in the church is exposure to capable women. Your awareness of the potential (or reality) of sexism encourages you to address that situation and do so with purpose. Nothing at all wrong with that...actually a lot right! Thanks so much!


  • At 9/30/2006 01:59:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    great post. thank you for bringing up the issues and for providing such great resources.

    I have no issues with what some here are calling "affirmative action". Most of the ideas mentioned are about being aware of women. Yes it takes going out of ones way to notice the contributions of women if you have been basically blind to them before. As someone who has been (and still is) guilty of that I realize that proactive action is necessary. We have to buy the books, attend the sessions, request equal time in order to be heard. Experience and talent does not speak for itself when it comes to women. There needs to be action at first to get the ball rolling and equal out the playing field.

    Thank you also for bringing up the issues with emergent. There are some who deny that there are still issues and pressure those of us who think there are to shut up and stop spreading poison. I'm against hate speech and a also realize that people have different experiences, but if there are still some women who feel like they are not welcome or valued in the emerging church - then there are still problems.

  • At 9/30/2006 02:00:00 PM, Blogger Blakely

    I definitely like this conversation... it needs to be had. Women need to find their voice but I don't necessarily want my voice to be the same as the men. I am in the middle of the struggle as well to balance the expectation of being too much, too bold, too opinionated with all the male leaders I'm around (since I'm the only female in ministry around me). But I had a profound experience recently that didn't necessarily solve the issue or make it easier, but some insight to it nonetheless. While at a regional conference of pastors, church plants, lay-leaders, etc. There were all these men leading their churches, preaching, talking,networking, etc. But they had invited the organizations national intercessory prayer team. It was 8 women who were profoundly and powerfully called to pray for this body of churches. The network they had developed throughout the region was effective and binding. It occured to me that the ministries these men were leading would not exist without the prayers of these women. The support, the protection, the pulse of the whole thing came from and was supported in the prayers of these women. By no means am I saying that all the women should be shoved to the closet to pray while the men's faces are on the posters and at the pulpits. BUT I am saying that these women's voice, their called place, their influence, was not ignored and was profound. Granted it was not celebrated to the degree that I do in this post, but that is OK too. Instead of being frustrated recently about the places I'm not heard or valued that I wish I was in a male-dominated place. I've started trying to maximize the differences in men and women. I wasn't called that weekend to pray, I was sitting with the men trying to figure out this "church" thing with them but there are ways we can relate, connect, communicate to people (both genders) that men from a pulpit never will. I don't feel like it's a power struggle anymore. I feel like it's God empowering women to step up to fill in the gaps that makes communities whole. God did create them male and female. He intended from the beginning for there to be profound, significant differences. I don't want to be like the men. I want to pour into, develop, challenge, pursue, engage, set free the hearts and minds of people in the unique, strong, courageous, innovative way that God created women. I'll fight for equal pay alright, but as a whole I think the feminist movement took something away from women. I think it minimized the beautiful reality that God created two genders with inherently different wiring, desires, passions, strengths and weaknessess. I truly believe the voice of women will rise from the inside out in our communities when some of the boundaries on our involvement and places of influence are dropped, but the true power and strength of God in the heart of a women is a force to be reckoned with and will continue to influence the kingdom and it's people for eternity!

  • At 10/01/2006 10:04:00 PM, Blogger Charlotte Wyncoop

    I'm all for more women involved in the leadership - speaking as a woman involved with guys in leadership. However, despite my experiences which have included being excluded on the basis of my gender (how's that for a tongue twister!), I'm finding that stepping up to the plate and not letting others tell me "no" is the best path for me. As men in leadership have gotten to know me, they are more willing to listen and less likely to attribute my voice to my gender - more likely to attribute my voice to me. Will I hit a glass ceiling - I'm sure I will again. But there is a sense of freedom that we have in Christendom, that does not extend to the outside world. God is our boss and He is about making us who He intended. There is no glass ceiling there. The only limit is on how far we will follow him.

  • At 10/02/2006 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Sarcastic Lutheran

    Thanks. Sometimes we have to hold the hope for each other when we don't feel it ourselves. I was raised in a church that didn't even allow women to pray aloud in front of men...or help pass the collection plates, so as a seminary student I feel like I'm sticking it to the fundamentalists...not to mention that I'm heavily tattooed, out spoken and 6 foot 1, so no one really messes with me any more.

  • At 10/03/2006 08:07:00 AM, Anonymous soldiermom

    I have been a Christian my whole life, but I remember the day not too long ago when I felt like I might truly be a Christian for the first time. The emergent church philosophy has changed me. It has brought what seemed to not make sense to me into a place that no longer demands it. I can breathe easier because I have let go of my desire that others think and be like me. I can let God be God and me be me and stop getting those two so confused! I can welcome other people’s opinions because I am not so damn sure that I have all the right answers. In fact, I welcome my wrongness. It is a reminder that I no longer need to live in my security, but have faith in God through my insecurities. And the love that flows for others from this change is the most amazing evidence that I will ever need.

  • At 10/03/2006 08:57:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    I wholeheartedly agree. Your comment could have been written by me. I, too, have experienced the same thing.


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