WOW. Scrolling through social media today, I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster. First of all, I am a woman (so clearly I am pro-women) secondly, I’m a Christian. I’ve never felt the two worlds collide so much…but I’m not incredibly surprised.
Our country has made huge strides in women’s rights. We’ve proven that women can work just as hard and climb just as far as men can in nearly any field. Women flock to the US for these rights.
I’m freaking proud of America and how far we’ve come.
Yet, as a Christian nation, one filled with evangelical believers, I find that we have a long way to go in the area of honoring women.
Oh boy, Anna is about to go all feminist on us. Shut her down, right now. Good Lawrdy, she’s become one of those marching, sign-holding liberals.
Smile. We’re on the same side. I promise.
(I’m grinning a bit because, that’s just one of the problems. We’ve been taught there are two sides on this issue and God-forbid we choose the wrong side. But, listen. There’s no them versus us. There are no sides to be chosen. We are all in the same people group. All of us are God’s sons and daughters. Period)
I love all of the feminist marchers.
I love all who didn’t march.
HEAR ME. I LOVE YOU ALL.
SO DOES JESUS.
Although I may not agree with EVERY reason behind each person’s personal reason for marching or how it may have been funded, there is still GOOD in women’s movements.
A whole lotta good.
Especially as a Christian woman.
When I look at most churches in American Western culture…my stomach sinks a bit. Because, we have a long way to go.
I’ve lived it.
I’ve grown up in it.
And equality for women is not the norm.
Yes, women can work in churches…very easily as the kid’s director, nursery worker or secretary. But, as one of the lead pastors? Well, you better hope there isn’t a man up for the same job, and you better not be divorced or (God-forbid) be unmarried.
And, if you do land that position, be very careful of how you dress…we can’t have you up there causing men to stumble (don’t even get me started. It’s ridiculous).
Now, there are churches who are bravely embracing women pastors, even ones who are single. I worked at one and it was awesome. But, as a whole, we have a mountain ahead of us.
(I feel like I may be ruffling feathers?? Am I?? It’s not my intent, although some of our conservative Christian feathers may need a little ruffling…Jesus had a knack for stirring up all kinds of controversy in this department. It’s one of the reasons I like him so much) 🙂
When I look at Jesus and see the way most churches/Christian behave, THERE ARE SO MANY QUESTIONS. LIKE SO MANY. (Not gonna go there. Not today)
But, I have to ask why?? Why is this such an issue still inside of the American church?
I believe the answer is wrapped up in one verse. Yes, ONE VERSE. A verse that has been used very much out of context, but none the less is used over and over on this issue.
All of us ladies know it.
Here ya go:
And be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body…(Eph 5:22-23 NAS)
This passage has put a lot of weight on women. A LOT. It has been used to control, manipulate and silence women in a way God never intended.
But, out of “submission”,
Women stay in abusive relationships.
Women allow abuse towards their children.
Women who are qualified to lead, stay silent in the background.
Women don’t speak out for fear of being unsubmissive.
Women don’t follow the calling on their life.
Women stay silent. They stay in the background. They stay unknown. They stay in their “place”.
None of this looks like Jesus.
NONE OF IT.
Not every Christian woman falls into this category. But, friends, it happens. It happens a lot more than people realize.
I have personal experience here.
It’s ugly and it’s real.
What was meant to be a wonderful illustration of Christ and the church, has been misused as a tool to instill fear, control and insert pre-supposed gender roles.
I’m no theologian, but hear me out.
*I didn’t reference a translation that used the word “submit” in this passage, but most translations do.
Ironically, the word “submit” doesn’t even appear in the older, better manuscripts. They came to use that word from the previous verse where Paul’s calls for mutual submission (like with all believers, not just inside of marriage). This entire passage of Ephesians sets the tone with a call to mutual submission: Submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Christ.
So, submission was meant as mutual submission.
That was the context.
Then, we get to the whole head part.
Many people read the word “head” and interpret it as “leader” or “authority”. Yet “head” rarely had the metaphorical meaning of authority in Ancient Greek. Paul used the head and body metaphor as a picture of unity. He uses the example to encourage husbands to love their wives just as much as themselves, by referencing the unity between Jesus and the Church.
Paul doesn’t mention authority or leadership once in this passage. Male leadership or a gender hierarchy is not being taught here.
The message that should be highlighted is the message of Christ and the church’s unity. Not a gender defining role.
But, it has been. And still is.
But at the end of the day, I sit down with my favorite. (Did I mention Jesus is my favorite? Like favorite guy bestie in the entire universe?? Yeah, he’s amazing)
I look to him as the example to be followed. And, he sets the bar pretty high…
- He defended an adulterous woman (like she was about to be put to death for her crime of adultery. CRAZY)
- He looked a Samaratan woman in the eye and talked to her as an equal (He was a Jew. That wasn’t done. Like at all)
- He honored a woman and treated her as an apostle (yup. Mary Magdaline)
- He chose an unmarried woman to be his mother (the virgin Mary. NOT society standards)
- He entrusted two women with the message of his resurrection. (He could have revealed it to his male disciples, but he didn’t. He chose to trust women with the message)
Jesus had clear standards when it came to women.
HE LOVED THEM.
FOUGHT FOR THEM.
TREATED THEM EQUALLY.
He viewed women just as capable, valuable and necessary as men in a culture that was loudly opposing.
As Jesus followers, we have no option but to defend, honor, protect and support women as equals. And I believe this should not just be in the workplace, voting booths or marching down the streets of major cities.
This should start with men and women in Jesus loving homes, in churches and in organizations that claim to know Him.
Jesus was never gender focused. He was and continues to be heart focused. He looks at character, integrity, motive and story-line. He always has. We as the church cannot afford to do anything less.
So, whether you marched in the streets for women’s rights or not, ALL Jesus followers should be marching for women to be seen, heard, honored and highly respected. Our churches need them. Our world needs them. Our homes need them.