I think it is possible to have healthy and meaningful and fun! conversations about “biblical womanhood” without attacking or getting defensive or assuming hurtful things. We need to begin a conversation with a big fat dose of respect for others. I’ve been reading books and articles and blog posts and watching sermons and talks online on the topic of “biblical womanhood” for several years, from all perspectives. Obviously, I also have my own perspective, and I want to share that here and engage with you in discussing the topic further. But, frankly, I am a teensy-bit fearful of being misunderstood and taken for something that I am not. In my vulnerability, I am inviting you to respond. And your response could potentially be hurtful.
Let me make you a promise. If you and I disagree about something, that’s ok with me. You’re still a beautiful person who deserves to be heard and understood. I want to know what you think and feel, what your experiences have been and who your influences are. That’s all fascinating to me. I can guarantee you Becky would say the same thing. And I want to assure you that I don’t think I have this all figured out. Sure, I feel strongly about my own point of view, but I am trying to hold that with an open hand rather than a clenched fist. So my request to you is that you in turn give Becky and me the benefit of the doubt. We are desperately in love with Jesus and are trying to be His faithful witnesses. We may fall short on a regular basis, but please be kind as you interact with us!
Let me tell you something that I’ve observed about people who change from a complementarian to an egalitarian perspective. They have unilaterally been influenced by a godly woman who was gifted in leadership or teaching. America is a patriarchy and many of our faith communities are even more so. You could read the Bible your entire life and never question whether Deborah was an exception to the rule or if there was ever a rule to begin with. But when you meet a real-life Deborah, that question slams you in the face. Why would God give a woman those giftings if He doesn’t intend for her to use them in the Church?
Growing up, I was socialized to view strong women negatively, but when I left home and began meeting Godly women who felt called by God into leadership in the Church, I had to examine my complementarian views. My stereo-type was shattered, because these women loved Jesus every bit as much as I did, and they reflected His love and grace and the fruit of the Spirit, and God was blessing their ministry. As Dr. Tim Keller often points out, our thinking is most often formed by our community and not from our logical deduction.
I love this verse: “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere” (James 3:17, NIV). As we consider others’ viewpoints on “biblical womanhood,” let us manifest these virtues.
I love you, Beautiful Kingdom Warriors!
Image Credit: sarahbessey.com and rachelheldevans.com