Wednesday, December 07, 2005
It's Finals Week
I apologize for not submitting a new post in the last week -- it's finals week and I am deep in the midst of putting together a final paper for my class (are we having fun yet?). The heat went out in my apartment as well so it's tough to do much typing while wearing gloves.
The latest book I am reading is by an Anglican minister named Giles who writes about the impact of the doctrine of Subordination of the Trinity that has found it's way in quite a bit of conservative evangelical’s theology -- this particular theology has a direct impact on thinking regarding women's place in the church. It's fascinating stuff...and quite eye-opening.
Monday, November 28, 2005
Gender and Opportunities
I read an amazing statistic the other day -- in 46 countries in the world (there are only 193 total), girls are given no education whatsoever. That is 1 out of every 4 countries on this planet do not provide or allow formal schooling for girls. When you consider the vital role that education plays in most cultures to open up opportunities for economic independence as well as to provide a path for meaningful contribution in a society, the statistic is devastating.
In the book "Gender and Anthropology", the author writes "If you were born a male instead of a female, or a female instead of a male, how would your life be different? In other words, how has your sex defined, constructed, constrained, or expanded your opportunities and experiences"? I think this is a fair and important question to ask as followers of Christ -- followers of the One who is free of the sin of bias and prejudice.
As late as the 1880's women in the western world were not allowed in most universities because science had shown that women's brains were smaller than men's brains. This being a sure sign that women were of inferior intelligence so it did not make sense to grant them the opportunity to pursue higher education. Later, a more thorough and objective scientific study showed that the size of the brain had no correlation with intelligence. Soon after this, the barrier that prevented women from attended higher education in the western world came down and women entered universities in droves. Thank God that this bias towards was exposed.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Is This the Aroma of Christ?
I was doing my usual Saturday morning news reading when I came across an interesting dialogue in an Australian enews webpage. The author was blogging about a woman being appointed to the Australian high court. His point was that feminism has made a way for a woman to actually get appointed to this high level position. He then digressed into talking about the Baptist church that he attends and that wouldn't it be nice if the church would start promoting their women leaders. One of the commenters to his article nicely explained why "women can't rule over men" in the church. So it is not "right" for this kind of gender affirmative action to be displayed in the church. I couldn't believe that this guy came right out and said the bold faced truth of what does on in a good chunk of the church. I cringed to read how some of the non-church commenters would react: Here is a sample comment: I still find some of your contributions fascinating Boaz, if only in the same way I find fascinating the curling of a lizard's tail after it has been shed, or an orb weaver spider eating her mate. "There is a clear scriptural mandate for women not to 'rule over men'" Err... not to be in any way doubtful of their motives, but were the scriptures written by men, by any chance?
Needless to say the commenter said nothing to "Boaz" about wanting to visit his church because clearly Christ can be found there.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
During one of my on-line class discussions, a classmate who happens to be a missionary in Estonia asked me how I thought the North American church would respond to the people who are doing the majority of the churchplanting now in Estonia -- they are women. He also went on to say that by far in that part of the world where Christianity continues to grow, women are the leaders in their churches.
My best guess is that the response would be that it's great for "over there", but as soons as it gets here, theological concerns crop up. Rarely have I seen any thoughtful discussion of why it is ok for women to do it "over there", but not in our backyard. This is a dynamic that is as old as mud. Revival/renewal takes place in the church, God pours out His Spirit to empower women to do alot of His work. But when it gets time for a movement to move toward institutionalization (i.e. formalized training, developmennt of formal heirarchy) women are pushed out of the positions of leadership. It is a well-known and even better documented trend. Is that the Holy Spirit at work in our church?
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Leadership and Family
I've been thinking a lot lately about how leadership fits in with a woman's life as she gets married and has kids. Being a single woman, it's not terribly complicated. I watch my married with kids friends -- it's a big deal to figure out where to put their time and energy. I struggle because I've seen women passed over in the business world because their bosses were anticipating their inevitable departure from the work world to raise a family. (I've also seen bosses promote women despite the possibility that they could lose their female employees to the raising of children). Is it a good thing for women to devote lots of time and energy to raise their kids -- at perhaps the expense of not being able to give quite as much time to leadership activities? That is an easy yes. Is there a way that we have not explored where women can continue to grow in their leadership in the midst of raising kids? Let me know your thoughts.
Monday, October 31, 2005
What Could It Be Like?
I'm really excited these days...last Thursday we started a once a month meeting where we gather a good chunk of our young women leaders in our church. It was incredible to see all those women in Eloise's living room laughing and talking together, praying for each other. It was exciting to think of how our world could change if we keep moving forward together.
My favorite moment of the night was when my 50 something year old friend LoAnn talked to these young women about the true nature of Christian leadership: to take on the same attitude as Jesus did when he washed his disciples feet...in essence becoming a slave for them. I loved that my friend with all her years of experience and wisdom stood in front of these young women and poured out to them stuff that -- if they grab hold of and take in -- will change their worlds.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Women and Insecurity
Something that bothers me quite a bit these days is the experience of going into a bookstore -- especially one that sells Christian books. My interests are history, contemplative Christian life books, political and cultural current event type books. There are plenty of books on the shelf, many of them amazingly good but most are written by men. The books written by women generally are the relationship, self-help, focus on feelings kind of literature. Some of these can also be quite good, but few I would describe as serious and scholarly -- the kind of book that would end up as a classic decades or centuries from now. Please know that I am speaking in broad generalizations -- there are women out there who write serious stuff. But it's like pebbles in the sea...
Why is that? I know so many women who are so darn smart, articulate, full of life, brimming over with gifts and skills who could make a significant influence by writing down or speaking what is inside them. Again, without the benefit of good data to back me up, I would argue that it boils down to self-confidence. How many women have you been in a conversation with lately who has started off a thought by giving a million qualifiers to what she is about to say and why it probably should not be paid attention to anyway? In the last 2 weeks, I can think of at least 6 interactions. I'm thinking that there is a correlation to that dynamic and why we see so few women writing solid books out there.
Here is an invitation for you: I want to post on my blog your serious thoughts on leadership. Send it to my email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post you to perhaps influence or help any who read your writing.