Pastoring a Church and the Crossroads of Women’s Leadership in the Body of Christ

I woke up this morning, and after making sure the things I needed were in my backpack and packing a lunch, I sat down to my kitchen table and read the newspaper.

I read an article that told about a woman from my town who is currently living in Nepal, and was a first responder in Kathmandu to earthquakes there. This is the story: http://m.ljworld.com/news/2015/apr/25/lawrence-native-helps-following-earthquake-nepal/.

I read this story, and upon reading the last line, froze. “It is God that makes me take action,” she said. “I have given my life to serving him, and this is part of it. And he wired me this way, so that makes it OK.” What beautiful words.

My spirit is disturbed today. I’m disturbed because in a world where women are serving God, where women pour out their hearts and lives to follow him, many churches still do not welcome women’s leadership. I am bothered because I care deeply, and I see God moving in my life. I see him moving in the lives of the children I work with at church, through the elementary kids ministry. Why don’t we want more for our children’s lives?

I look around, at the concept of dating, and I am more bothered by how many people date in the body of Christ than outside of it. I do not need a man to lead me. Truly. I have Jesus.

Why do we believe that men have a greater connection to God? I have yet to see evidence of that. I have yet to see many guys my age step up, even though church as a whole is designed in such a way that they have greater opportunities. I have yet to see women’s bible study be just as strenuous and all-seeking as men’s. I have yet to see the body of Christ make good on it’s promises to the women to helped raise the Church. I have yet to see biblical scholarship and stewardship be just as encouraged in women.

Why wouldn’t you want your daughters, mothers, and sisters to be more educated about the Kingdom of God? Why wouldn’t you want more people fighting on behalf of grace? Why wouldn’t you want more goodness in this world? Stronger families? A stronger love?

The reason is obvious, and it doesn’t mince words. If women pour their hearts visibly into Christ, the men we are teaching to “guide” them will have to step up. They will have to become more like the men God created them to be. They will have to give all glory to God, instead of saving some back based on the chain of command. They will have to become more humble. More meek. More merciful. And with the golden image of shining masculinity we’ve fashioned to replace a real Savior over the years, that will not be able to happen without God.

How can a world with such overarching examples of women’s leadership still struggle to acknowledge the current state of affairs? Women have been part of this world since creation, and yet we assign spirituality exclusively to men who can skate by with lukewarm renditions of faith and stewardship they have neither earned nor worked to establish. Hard work. If you are really the man you claim to be, you should be happy to work on behalf of Christ, instead of resent the fact that with added participation, the stakes get raised.

Given the state of the world, is it more like the fall in the garden of Eden for Man to see women’s sin and blame her instead of working with her to reconcile, or is it more like women to elbow their way to the top and transform the world into a place of greater evil than it was before? We live with sin. Why does one gender receive more of the burden for righteous living, and then have no outlet to actually contribute to the Gospel when testimony tells otherwise? Why is it worth such handwringing? If you are going to serve God, you will. I just don’t understand why we keep practicing and preaching such fervent lies that diminish from the body of Christ instead of strengthening it.

Why can’t we accept help? Why can’t we collaborate to make a stronger body of Christ than was there before? If we come from a lineage of strength, why are our daughters resented for trying when our sons allowed to skate by and act as if the Gospel doesn’t affect them? Women are not so foreign. When it comes time to talk about marriage and what we want for the rest of our lives, do you really want a wife who will be the most easily led? Or do you want a wife who will work with you and strengthen God’s work by her actions and her understanding of God?

Do we want an easier path for ourselves, or for the Holy Spirit? Do we want equal evangelism, or someone to stay with the kids and pack us sack lunches? Why are the overwhelming options for women who love God so often to get unequally yoked in marriage, or to retire into serving in a permanently virginal life? There has got to be a better way. The thing is, to have men leading a relationship, men actually have to take the initiative and know what they want. For the most part, from all that I’m currently seeing, that is just not happening in today’s world. Would you be willing to split the difference? How can women equally receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the world tell us that we are not allowed to use them?

Gifts of the Spirit are not sin. They aren’t the apple. They don’t cause evil in this world. I don’t want to just volunteer with elementary school kids, I have dreams of building and pastoring a church. That shouldn’t really be a surprise, given how much I talk about Christ and the difference between good teachings and bad ones. I will find a way to serve no matter what I do or where I go, so wouldn’t it make more sense to have a streamlined acceptance of women that care, and are called into action? I believe in children, so I want to build a place where their various gifts of the Spirit are accepted and encouraged, instead of a shoddy rendition of yet another playground where girls have cooties and chase boys around, looking for affection instead of healing. I want more for this world. And I don’t understand how the body of Christ can accept so little of the help it desperately needs.

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haleylol

I am a teacher-to-be who loves people. I am not afraid of many things. I like to explain my thoughts logically on a very birds-eye view level--I was born thinking that way. I follow Jesus Christ, and I accept only that label to describe my identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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