I’ve continued to ponder women and the church after finishing up with Half the Church (see my blog post from yesterday for a chance to win a copy of the book!) When I was little, I was taped singing a Helen Reddy song – I am Woman Hear me Roar. Apparently it was one of my favorites – and indicative of the way I was raised. The lyrics go like this:
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong (strong)
I am invincible (invincible)
I am woman
My father supported (and even began) my journey into witchcraft and paganism so when I met Christ in college, he was furious. Furious enough to consider disowning me completely. But after the fury settled down, I began to realize what he was really angry about. He had raised me to believe that I could do anything. To be strong. Intelligent. To be able to take care of myself even though I was girl. In fact – witchcraft and paganism taught me that too. He felt like joining the church was me “selling out” on everything I had believed. He was proud of me when I was a witch. But as a Christian, he was ashamed of me. He told me that I had “given up my brain” by becoming a Christian. He saw the church as a black hole that would squelch and kill who I was a person, as a woman.
Now as I mentioned yesterday. I love the church. God designed the beauty of what the church is meant to be. But obviously it doesn’t always function as it’s “meant to be”. We live in a fallen world. And I’ve been reading some of the other reviews of Half the Church which are as interesting and varied as you can imagine. Churches are different. And I know that my experience with the church is limited to those churches I have personally engaged with. But the fact that women are considered second class citizens in any church is a shame to all the gifts and talents and beauty that the Lord put within women.
I am no theologian and don’t plan to become one. (I should make that the tagline for this blog!) All these terms of complementism and egalitarianism and all the other -ism’s – that people are debating (and James brings up in her book) – I don’t advocate for us to apply a framework that man invented to try and decide what God intended. What I do know, is that what my Dad saw looking at the church from the outside is as much of a problem as what occurs within it. It’s the same thing that many pagans also see. It’s why, I think, they don’t want anything to do with us. It’s why so many bright, intelligent and amazing women are feeling disconnected from the church. Not from God – but from the church.
Makes me think of that new wineskin thing. If we try to put fresh new wine in old wineskins, they’ll burst. But hanging onto the old wineskins means no new wine. What will the Church do? We were meant to function as a body and yet much of it is fractured into a million little pieces.
Change is hard. But change can be good.
my two cents,