I’ve been engaged in some other conversations regarding women in ministry - one of which was prompted by the Together for the Gospel document I commented on.
I’ve been mulling over what I want to talk about regarding this issue because it’s not as nice and clean as I personally would like it to be.
First of all, I want to emphasize that my definition of egalitarian does not mean “same”. I do not think men and women are the same. I do not support any attempts to make women “like men”. I recognize fully that women and men are different. We have different strengths and weaknesses that can be attributed to our gender.
Second, I HIGHLY VALUE the roles of wife, mother and manager of the home. I am a wife of 7 years, I am a mother of 2 daughters and I have been the manager of my home without an “outside job” since I was pregnant with my first child. I am an outspoken advocate for the honor and beauty of being a wife, mother and homemaker. I am grateful for the opportunity to stay at home with my children. I am honored to love, serve and respect my husband (as he is me). I take my job seriously and do not discount its value.
Finally, I know that I read the “gender verses” through a lens. I am fully aware that my understanding of certain scriptures and my study of them has and will always be tainted by my cultural preconceptions and personal bias. My husband and I have not come to the conclusions we have without caution and fear and much prayer. After study, research, prayer and much conversation we have landed on a point of belief on this issue. We know that God honors a pure and contrite heart and that as we strive to maintain that before Him, His grace is sufficient for any shortcomings we may have in our interpretation of these verses regarding men and women in marriage and in the area of women’s roles in the church. I am very aware of both sides’ arguments on this issue. I have vacillated on it for some time because brilliant scholars on both sides (men and women) make compelling arguments for their own conclusion. Both sides, and several opinions along the spectrum, come to conclusions that are possible. I have landed on the one that seems to me to be the most plausible and the most consistent with God’s character overall. But I agree that I could be wrong…And I fall on Grace.
Having said that, I do not believe that God pigeon holes women into certain roles simply because they are women. I think saying that women have strengths that help them in the roles of wife, mother and homemaker is different than saying that because someone is a woman, she is left with only those options in life. I also do not agree with anyone who asserts that a woman who does other things, does so because she is rebellious or not satisfied finding her place in those roles.
Being a minister and leader in the church (and yes, I do lead men) does not mean that I want to be like men. It doesn’t mean I’m not secure in my femininity. It doesn’t mean I burn my bras and think all men are pigs. It doesn’t mean I’m not satisfied as a wife, mother and manager of my home. It doesn’t mean I boss my husband around or “wear the pants” in the family.
God made me a woman, it is part of who I am. But being a woman does not define who I am. My identity in Christ defines who I am and in Christ there is neither male nor female. I am not proud of being a woman because I don’t feel I can be proud of something I had nothing to do with. First and foremost I am a servant of the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. I have been graced with certain gifts and I use those gifts as the Spirit leads and provides opportunity for. I have served in the church my whole life. Sometimes I have been in leadership roles, sometimes I haven’t. I have the opportunity to serve with my husband as co-minister of college students and young adults in our church. I am honored to have that opportunity. But neither does it define who I am. Being a minister is no greater than being a teacher, a garbage collector, a coffee shop owner or a seamstress. Nor is it greater than being a mother, a wife and a homemaker.
Christians are called to use their gifts in the service of the Kingdom. We are called to serve one another, confess our sins one to another and exhort and equip one another. I see myself, above all, as a servant. I am not an overlord. I am not a commander. I am a servant. When I am called upon to lead, I lead with fear and humility as does my husband.
If you must judge me, judge me by my fruit and let God sort out the rest.