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Thursday, April 10, 2008
Emerging Men
Hey, ladies - question for you, from the perspective of a single gal with a knack for somehow messing this up:

How can godly women best encourage their brothers in Christ to be the strong leaders that God has made them and called them to be, without becoming doormats in the process? And is there a way for single women to be in on that for their single brothers (as we don't just magically become good at playing the roles we'll play as married folks by simply saying "I do"), or should we just steer clear of men altogether?


posted by Happy at 2:18 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 4/10/2008 04:07:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    I propose that the way to avoid becoming a doormat is to change one's understanding of what "leadership" or "headship" means. Doctrinally, the definition of headship is all over the map.

    Perhaps the reason that some married women don't do submissive so well is because domination and submission don't fall into God's vision of headship/leadership. In other words, maybe women weren't created to be doormats any more than men were created to wipe their muddy feet upon women.

    Just a thought (and predictable, at that, coming from my corner).

  • At 4/10/2008 04:26:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    I not sure I understand what you are asking. Are you asking if encouraging men as leaders looks different than encouraging women as leaders - and so do we as women know how? Are you asking if there are set standards for how leaders should be encouraged and responded to? Are you asking if women can learn from and be led by men without him dominating her? I guess I need to know what your definition of leadership is before I can understand what you are asking...

  • At 4/10/2008 06:34:00 PM, Blogger Happy

    well, now that you've asked, i kind of wonder about all those things... :)

    ok, a bit further explanation then...

    i've always approached most of my relationships with guys (friendship or otherwise) with a bit of an old-fashioned bent. i like it when they get the door, pay for dinner, etc. - it makes me feel treasured, i guess. stereotypical, i suppose, but these are little things that they can DO that communicate their care for me, and allowing them to make decisions that DON'T honestly matter all too much to me (like where we're going for dinner, etc.) is a way i've let them lead. small things, not a big deal at the end of the day, but, there they are.

    i'm also a pretty verbal person - as evidenced by the time i put in to blogging. :P so i tend to SAY "thanks", "i love you", "i really appreciate you" - things i mean to build others up. but sometimes all of that can get misinterpreted, whether i want it to or not.

    so i guess this is more of a "relational dynamics" question... maybe less religiously put - how do you just be friends with a guy without him reading stuff into it?

  • At 4/10/2008 06:41:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    I am of the opinion that the most important thing single women and men can practice with each other is to be fully present -- to see one another -- which is to respect one another and honor all a person's facets, weaknesses, strengths, vulnerabilities, visions and all the beauty and wonder of a human being that is seen for who they are (as opposed to who they think they should be,) accepted, believed in and accompanied on the adventure, without ever claiming (or controlling) another's adventure for oneself.

    I tend to feel that roles hinder authentic intimacy. I think that while functions can be delegated ad periodically evaluated in a flexible dance, roles can force a person or people to live a life that is based on who they think they should be instead of on who they are created to be.

  • At 4/10/2008 07:06:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • At 4/10/2008 07:08:00 PM, Blogger medium guy


    I'll put in my $0.02, seeing that I'm a man who used to be a younger man! :)

    In terms of how to be able to create and maintain good healthy friendships with males, especially at your [and their] stage of the game [if I recall correctly, you are an undergraduate, right? forgive me if this is incorrect], I would start with being honest with yourself. If you are involved in a friendship with a man for whom you may have some level of romantic interest, this will probably come across to him in your nonverbals. So, if you do feel conflicted - ie, you have some interest but you don't feel you are led to pursue anything besides friendship, accepting your own feelings and being completely honest, wherever that goes [even if the season of the friendship comes to pass], in the long run is probably the way to go. In the case of not having any interest whatsoever in a male friend, make sure the boundaries are clear and unambiguous, especially if sharing a meal or having a personal conversation or any one-on-one interaction that could be construed as flirting or interest. No, you don't have to micromanage every interaction with the opposite sex, but just be aware of how hopeful, hormonal young men might interpret or wish to interpret how you interact with them.

    Unless you join a convent, you're not going to be able to avoid men, so just be clear about where you're at and continue your journey and your walk!


    Medium Guy

  • At 4/10/2008 10:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Jemila, I couldn't have said it better.

  • At 4/11/2008 07:29:00 AM, Blogger Happy

    Jemila, I have always been a pretty big fan of your opinion and I am remembering (again) why. :) Thanks.

    m.g. - thank you SO much for your advice. and for thinking i'm an undergrad. :) (i'm actually pretty much an eternal grad student.) i've hit my 30s (and there are moments when i think, how old ARE you, Hap, and why haven't figured all this stuff out yet?!) - but i haven't got it all figured out yet, so thanks for your $.02! :) It was *incredibly* helpful.

  • At 4/11/2008 11:40:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    Aww Hap, you're giving me the warm fuzzies :) I hope you can be easy on yourself and let life come alive where you are.

  • At 4/11/2008 05:57:00 PM, Blogger R.L.Scovens

    I'm a single female and have really enjoyed reading this post! I won't throw my $0.02 in though. I'm happy to hear what others think on this! Enlighten me!

  • At 4/12/2008 10:45:00 AM, Blogger John

    Hey Happy,

    I want to address your first question quoted here:

    "How can godly women best encourage their brothers in Christ to be the strong leaders that God has made them and called them to be, without becoming doormats in the process?"

    I think that it has to happen that way first of all. In other words, it is your encouragement that brings out the level of "leadership" that you want.

    Be leary of the kind of men that want to "give" you leadership without you asking for it.

    I like the idea of being fully present with each other, but keep in mind that though this is a fantastic goal, that it is really more of a process that will play itself out over the days, weeks, months, to come.

    That is not to say tnat you cannot be fully present from the begining, but you can't guarantee that others will come to the relationship that way.

    For most people, they usually can't help but to try to put their best foot forward in a relationship at the begining, then the "fully present" eventually comes out.

    So, if you have a male friend that loves to open doors to you, but also likes to tell you "jokingly" that what your wearing looks a "slutty," when your peers are just fine with what you are wearing, be leary.

    I think leadership is over-rated when it comes to relationship. Look at most elderly couples that have been married for 40, 50 years. It may not be immediately evident, but generally the reason they are still married is because they at some point achieved the fully present ideal.

    They accept each other, and neither seems to be the "boss." If anything they both come off as a little bossy to each other. It's basic respect.

    Wow, I didn't mean to write so much. I myself have been married for 21 years, and my wife is as much a leader in our relationship as I am. I think the best word for it is partnership.

    She does the sorts of things I like, and I return the favor. :)

  • At 4/14/2008 09:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Is it really necessary for everyone to have leadership qualities?
    God has given us many different gifts.

    A leader is someone who has been down a similar road before, someone who has tried some new ideas, made a few mistakes already, and knows what types of pitfalls to look out for. They make decisions about what to do next, where the group is header next, etc. In my experience, good leaders emerge out of necessity.

    A good manager is someone who keeps a group organized and functioning. Some people are forced into this (parenting is a good example). A good manager is a godsend.

    I think a person can be highly skilled and indispensible without being a leader or a manager.

  • At 4/15/2008 06:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous

    I woke up this morning still thinking about leadership. That first comment by wilsford "understanding of what "leadership" or "headship" means is right on.
    Not withstanding, I would like to add to / correct my previoius comment ;)
    I see that I didn't really respond to the question. How are we to encourage leadership in our prospective or current mates?
    More important than experience and skills to leadership would be a sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
    So..encouraging your mate to nourish that sensitivity (scripture, prayer, meditation, worship, fellowship) would be helpful. Also, I've found that we all need to have "wiggle room" or the freedom to get the message wrong now and then.

  • At 4/17/2008 09:10:00 PM, Blogger wilsford

    Also, I've found that we all need to have "wiggle room" or the freedom to get the message wrong now and then.

    can most Christians take the risk of being wrong every now and then? Is that why the incredible emphasis on knowledge and intellect—because if you have it all figured out, then you don't have to mess with defining the borders of "grace" which is anything but intellectual?


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