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October 26, 2007

Let Men Get the Door



Last weekend, I marched on the streets of my town in support of the giftedness of women. Okay, so that's a bit of a stretch, but I DID take advantage of one of the most glorious fall days ever to walk the half-mile or so to my church to attend a "town hall" meeting to share my thoughts on women holding the offices of elder and deacon.

As I crunched through newly fallen leaves and enjoyed the warm wind that blew through the cooled air, I prayed - a lot. I asked God to bless my words, to keep my nerves at bay, and to help me speak clearly. I prayed that I be a little bit funny, disarming, yet convincing, and not come off as some raving, fringe feminist hell-bent on empowering women at all costs.

I prayed that he'd help me share my story of my high school catechism teacher (at this same church) who told us it was a sin for women to go to college (what a waste if you're meant to stay home, he said!), and how much it shaped the teenage me when my church immediately barred him from teaching and affirmed and valued my gifts and gender. And I prayed that God would use the men who currently sit on our church's counsel and who will be voting on this issue to hold open the door for the women of our church.

I thought of how it was Carolyn Custis James, one of Gifted for Leadership's editorial advisors and author of Lost Women of the Bible, who put these words into my head: that it is very often enlightened men who hold open "doors" for women to walk through (and that we need to appreciate what they have done for us). When Carolyn first threw this thought out there, I couldn't help but smile. My mind flashed back to my, well, raving, fringe feminist days in college and early in my career when the idea of a man holding a door open for me - literally or figuratively - actually offended me. We can open our own doors, thank you very much! (Since then, I have tempered my emotions - though not necessarily my beliefs - and realized how silly it is that good manners could be offensive.)

As I walked, I realized the power of her wisdom in - and also the necessity of - showing gratitude to the very men who've held doors open for me - and all women. They've been instruments of God and should be recognized as such. Plus, it keeps us from focusing on those whom we see as "roadblock" in our lives. So as I got closer to church, I thanked God for my dad, my husband, my teachers, professors, bosses, friends - the list goes on and on of men who've helped me get where I was meant to be by opening doors of encouragement, wisdom, and opportunity.

But my "thank fest" stopped abruptly when I saw what was up ahead: my old catechism teacher - holding open the door for a group of people. I knew then that God was not only listening to me - but smiling at me! As I approached, I prayed, Very funny, God! But he can go in now. But he didn't. He stayed to hold the door for me. And I walked through and thanked him.

Later I realized that this wasn't even the first time he'd held a door. Twenty years ago when he uttered those ridiculous and misogynistic words, he opened another kind of door. (Incidentally, Carolyn Custis James' telling of a similar experience in her other book, When Life and Beliefs Collide, helped me realize this.) His words sparked a fire in my heart - a longing to know just what God wanted from me as a girl, a daughter, and a student, then as a woman, and now as a wife, a mother, a writer, an editor, a colleague, a friend. His words opened the door to my discovering that - and trying to live accordingly. So I need to thank God for him too.

But I'm curious: How has God used men in your life to open doors for you?

Comments

Thanks, Caryn, for your temperate response to a difficult issue. I'm one generation ahead of you and it isn't so easy for me talk about this issue without rancor. But you are helping me do this. There have been many men who have encouraged me and held the door open--my husband, my pastors, and others in our church leadership who have invited me to serve on committees and to lead ministries. I am thankful for that.

I enjoyed reading your post and would like to add that even as we ask doors to be open for us in leadership positions we must not forget the doors God has already opened for us to be leaders of... and that is wives and mothers. Many of us get consumed with the obsession to be a CEO of a company or leaders/preachers in the church but we must not forget what is and is not appropriate for women biblically.

I myself am co founder/President of a very successful online business, but my first priority is being my husbands partner and mother to my children. I consider those two to be the biggest and most challenging leadership positions in a woman's life.

We must as women hold leadership positions within our church BUT must not cross the biblical line for which God has set. There are appropriate leadership positions for us in the church such as Sunday School teacher, women's group, and charity/fundraising... but Deacon/Elder is not one.

"Let your women be silent in the churches, for it is not allowed to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as also the Law says. 35 But if they desire to learn anything, let them question their husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in a church. 36 ¶ Or did the Word of God go out from you? Or did it reach only to you?" (1Co 14:34-36)

Good luck to you. It is wonderful to see women in such positive light. God Bless!

Thank you for this wonderful post. I have been thinking a lot recently about all the men in my life who've held doors open for me: my dad, my brother, my husband, my pastor. I am blessed to be surrounded by godly men who affirm women, and see them as equals. I know this cannot always be said for every woman. And it's a shame. I am who I am, in large part, due to the men in my life who've pushed me and encouraged me to be who I am today. Let's not forget them.

Christine.. your use of scripture to support the idea of women being subject to men and only being eligible for certain roles in the church is not Biblically accurate.

That particular scripture refers to women talking among each other and making noise so that they were disrupting the Corinthian church. If you study the context of 1st Corinthians and the culture of that time you will see that the scripture has been taken out context to support the very posititon you are holding.

I had the privilege of doing this in Seminary and my eyes were opened as I began to understand the true meaning of this passage. God has created us as equals and it is His intention that we use all the gifts that He has given us.

Thanks, Alicia, for writing the words that need to be said. I have come out of years of wondering why God gifted me with the ability to lead, but I could do so only in the context of the business world. I cannot sing, I am not very good with kids (although I have often served there), and I really do not have many normally-feminine skills or hobbies (sewing, scrapbooking, flowers, etc.) So for years I have felt out of place in the church world and so very lonely. I thank God for three men in my life who opened doors - first, my dad, who never once uttered a word about this, but only encouraged me; my husband of 35 years who always encouraged, always supported, and continues to do so; and to the pastor of our church who teaches about how to read the Bible and to apply context, and historical perspective, just as Alicia mentioned. I also applaud and thank all the other pastors and Christian men who told me I couldn't do things, that, as a woman, I was not fit, equipped or appropriate for something in the church. I thank them as Caryn did for her catechism teacher - without them I would not have searched for, and found the relationship I have with God today. They helped me find myself, as a woman. (one of the most balanced presentations of this sticky subject I found in the book entitled, Finally Feminist, bu John Stackhouse. Presents both sides of this in a really fair way...most books on the topic are biased heavily in either direction. worth the read.

Thanks, Alicia, for writing the words that need to be said. I have come out of years of wondering why God gifted me with the ability to lead, but I could do so only in the context of the business world. I cannot sing, I am not very good with kids (although I have often served there), and I really do not have many normally-feminine skills or hobbies (sewing, scrapbooking, flowers, etc.) So for years I have felt out of place in the church world and so very lonely. I thank God for three men in my life who opened doors - first, my dad, who never once uttered a word about this, but only encouraged me; my husband of 35 years who always encouraged, always supported, and continues to do so; and to the pastor of our church who teaches about how to read the Bible and to apply context, and historical perspective, just as Alicia mentioned. I also applaud and thank all the other pastors and Christian men who told me I couldn't do things, that, as a woman, I was not fit, equipped or appropriate for something in the church. I thank them as Caryn did for her catechism teacher - without them I would not have searched for, and found the relationship I have with God today. They helped me find myself, as a woman. (one of the most balanced presentations of this sticky subject I found in the book entitled, Finally Feminist, bu John Stackhouse. Presents both sides of this in a really fair way...most books on the topic are biased heavily in either direction. worth the read.

Thanks Alicia,
I get so tired of complementatians taking that passage out of context.
I think of the number of women Paul lifted up who held leading roles in the church like Phoebe. He not only identified her as a deacon (there's no Greek word deaconess) but also a "prostasis" (Gk-overseer, guardian, protector) to many INCLUDING HIMSELF.
I am thankful for men like my husband, my son who wrote in a 4th grade paper about growing up (he's now 23) "and I won't say women can't be pastors," and the many men in the denomination I'm ordained in (ABCUSA) who cheered me on, defended my call, and encouraged me all the way through college, seminary, ordination and the 2 churches I've pastored so far.(Our 25 year old daughter was also a staunch supporter) I am also thankful for the men outside of my denomination too who encouraged me to follow God's call on my life. I'm especially grateful for the support and encouragement I've gotten from the pastor who married my husband and I 27 years ago. He used to be in the no-women pastors camp for years, but God opened his eyes and showed him otherwise. When he heard me preach he had no doubts about my call, and it was an honor to have him participate in my Ordination ceremony.

Caryn I hope your church is now including women who feel and demonstrate a call by God to serve as elders and deacons.

Thanks, Caryn, for your thoughtful article, and for your leadership on this issue.

My first job out of college was for a large corporation in a very male-dominated industry. While there were a handful of terrific female role models, there were also some great men who were "holding open the door." Those men helped create a strong mentoring environment for everyone - male and female. Not only did they hold open doors for me, they also helped coach me through them. Many of the leadership skills those men modeled for me are the same ones that I draw upon today in my staff position at church and in more informal leadership roles.

Caryn,
BRAVO! I appreciate your words so much. It has been a struggle for me as a female minister to find my place in many instances. Like some of the other readers, my leadership skills would be stunted, left to the narrow possibilities to which women have been historically relegated. It is understandable that there is some confusion on this topic scripturally. However, a study of the Greek will open a new understanding for some concerning a woman's role in the church. Assemblies of God has an excellent position paper on this issue (http://www.ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_4191_women_ministry.cfm). I recommend it!
I want to encourage you Caryn, and all other ladies in ministry to continue steadfastly in the call of God on your life. He is faithful who has begun the good work, to complete it!

This is a subject that causes the swords to rise between many believers. So, I shall present the Sword as well. We are after all the People of Scriptures and we must be very cautious to not build fences around them for any of our "pet" theories.
All throughout the written Word we see women in positions of proclaiming the message. Not just to the women and children, as some of our parts affirm. If we read the Scriptures, without knowing ahead of time what it says, it becomes so evident that positions of authority as well as positions of responsibility have always been placed upon women, even from the begginings of the Church.
Yes, as one has stated before, there were decons among women of the early Church. When Paul and company left Ephesus and went to Caesarea, Acts: 21, they entered the house of Philip, the evangelist, who had four DAUGHTERS who proclaimed the Word, KJV says prophesied; that's foretelling and forth-telling, that's preaching. There are many such accounts that we fail to notice.
It's unfortunate that when we mention "women in ministry" that the conversation always gets to this facet. It's like mentioning the "gifts of the Spirit" and immediately the focus is on tongues speaking. As if tongues is the only "gift". It would be nice to broaden our vision to see the complete subject. Not to accept new truth, but to see what's been written since before we got here.
To the subject, there have been so many men in my life who have opened doors of opportunity for me. So many men who have been encouragers to me. Maybe there have been more men than women who have cheered me on. I state this without hesitation, The Man, Jesus Christ called me to preach! You see, Jesus wants servants. Yes, in the pulpit, He wants servants whose mouths are His posession. That servants physical presentations has nothing to do with God's Word nor the proclaiming of the Word. Now Jesus is a man, I fully agree that God is spoken of in the Scriptures as a male figure and I would not agree with any who try to feminize everything including God.
God made animals inferior to man, (man-kind)we female bodies are called "man" also in the Scriptures. Thanks to all the wonderful males who hold the Word of God in truth.
I repeat as I have before, in is inside the home, within the family, that the male takes a position of authority and the female takes the role of being subject based on gender.
It is difficult to sweetly present on this subject. There is a lot of guff that women in ministry share with male counterparts, but add to it the stigma of other believers against women in ministry and all I can say is that Our Father provides the continueing strength.

The verses that people quote to exclude women from positions of power refer to paticular instances where the women were not educated, as Jewish women of the time were not allowed to be. The early church actually went against the culture of the day and had many women in positions of power. Over time, though, people began to see these verses through the culture or through their own prejudices and limited women from leadership positions. This is what usually happens when people are not following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Please remember that Christ himself ordained a woman to be the first preacher. At the time, a woman could not even give evidence in court, yet Christ chose a woman to teach men the most important news of all time. Good enough for him, good enough for me.

I have to smile when I see the posts debating whether or not women can have leadership roles in a church while at the same moment, both the commander of the International Space Station and the commander of the space shuttle currently docked at the station are, hang on to your hats, women!

Due to Carolyn Custis James' point about men opening doors, I re-wrote my first book dedication (Ruby Slippers: How the Soul of a Woman Brings Her Home) to read:
"To the men who opened doors for me.
My grandfather who opened Grace.
My father who opened Truth.
My husband, Dale,
who propped both doors open
so we might run through them together."

Thank you, Caryn, for helping us remember that God thought men and women working together was a good idea.

Great article! It caught my eye, and I'm glad I read it. Reminds me of how the same Hebrew word to describe Eve as "helper" to Adam in Genesis, is also used of God Himself (e.g. Exodus 18:4). Clearly God intended men and women to work together, mutually put each other first, and love one another just like it says in 1st Corinthians 13. As a young man striving to enter into my ministry, I am _delighted_ to see God empowering like never before my sisters to do the same, because I believe He is restoring that original vision through Christ to us which He established in the Garden of Eden! It is only humanity driven by darkness that looks at the beautiful differences between men and women and tries to turn them into weapons.

I would like to raise an emphasis on an important point, however. Caryn expressed gratefulness _to God_ in her article for her Catechism teacher. Not to the teacher! Such words and actions deserve no thanks, as they were not spoken in Christ's love. Gratitude should be directed toward God in these matters, because it is only Him and His grace that brings good out of it. And when I am doing that, then I am enabled (just like Caryn was) to love my enemies out of a basis of gratefulness for God's love to me, and to all, in Christ.

One other thought: as I'm growing, I'm realizing just how much responsibility before God leadership really is (James 3:1). Let's not get too excited, or worked up, that we forget what's really important!

I find it *ironic* that a post which is supposed to be about the sinful, non-scriptural basis of men excluding women from leadership positions in the church turned out to be a patriarchy-worshiping session on how much men have "helped" women.

Men should be encouraged to take responsibility for their sinful misogynist attitudes toward women.

It's far too early for praise. This post seemed to me like a "feel-good" message for men.

Hey Daniel:

Thanks for the kind words about my article. Good point about my thanking God for my teacher. That does seem like a stretch, perhaps. But I do thank God for the good that man's ridiculous words did in my life. (Of course, those words could've had a much more devastating effect on the other members of my small class.)

But for me, it really was the beginning of an important journey. So it really is hard NOT to be thankful--no matter how weird it seems. "In all things give thanks..." I guess.

Blessings! Caryn

True, men (and women) who perpetuate misogynist attitudes should renounce those attitudes, but only by focusing on the positive example of those men and women who question the status quo and ask whether God might call women to places human tradition has designated to be for men only. To focus on the men who have asked these questions is to emphasize that the movement to include women in leadership roles in the church is not just one of radical women who want power for themselves, but of both men and women who recognize that God can call whomever He chooses so it might be wise to examine whether He adheres to the traditions and rules that church holds, or whether these traditions are more the product 1st century Mediterranean culture and the prejudices of centuries since than of Biblical truth.
I for one find it hard to beleive that while women can be leaders in business, science and politics (even in the bible there are many examples of bussinesswomen, Lydia in the NT and the Proverbs 31 woman for example), they cannot use those gifts for eternal significance in God's kingdom many forms other than being a mother or teaching other women or groups of children. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things and they are in fact good and nessecary, for many women, myself included, who don't have the desire to work with children and/or don't posses the traditional interests and talents that women "should" have this makes church a very frustrating place.

Good morning,

I am an orthodox believer in a mainline church. I have mixed feelings about this issue, but this is one that needs to be addressed. Most mainline churches (United Methodist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ come to mind) allow women to be ministers. They are also all suffering significant declines in membership. In Acts it says that God added daily to the number being saved. Acts 2:38. He doesn't seem to be doing that now in those churches. Could this be one of the reasons?

Mike C.

I do not envy any man tasked with the responsibility to help decide whether women should be allowed to be Pastors or Elders in their church (assuming the church government made these decisions amongst its Pastors and Elders). I think Caryn's first sentence suggested how a decision in the negative might be taken (ie: that women aren't perceived to be gifted). A decision in the positive may similarly disgruntle the other side. Given the repercussions of either decision, it would be nice if there were some scriptural certainty on the topic to give some comfort, but there isn't.

Two things appeal to me. 1) that there are many women in leading roles mentioned in the book of Acts and in the Epistles. 2) that despite this observation, the prescriptives seem to discourage or even appear to forbid the same thing. We do not believe in a contradictory Bible, so there must be an explanation.

Personally, I hate appeals to "context". I hear them so many times, but no one has ever shown me how we *know* what is the right context. I'm not saying they're wrong, but unless you can show why we should believe in a context, then it is no better than speculative rationalization.

For example, I have heard people say 1 Timothy 2:11-15 when taken in context is about a problem in a specific church. Yet it is offered as a prescriptive to Timothy, with the rationale based on no other problem but Genesis 3. This passage troubled me a lot, but I wondered if maybe the Greek word in verse 12 "to allow" might also be translated "to entrust" or "to turn to" which share the same root. That is more of an action than a prohibition. It would suggest it is merely not Paul's custom to ordain women, because of his fears in Genesis 3, but leaves open that he might affirm a woman called by God. This would seem to handle the contradiction, but I'm no scholar.

Exit question: If it is contextual for a woman not to hold authority over a man because of her education or what-not, how is it not contextual for a husband to have headship over his wife? Could it not also be a role determined by context, like education?

2nd exit question: A brain-twister... if a husband is the head of his wife, then does Christ lead a church pastored by a woman through her husband?

I hope this only serves to incite thought and discussion, not anger. I actually appreciated Caryn's more general sentiment.

Caryn this was a good article. It shows taking what could have been a situation that left you bitter, anixous, feminist, etc. and seeing the positiveness of what was necessary in your particular situation. There is a different situation for each church, denomination etc. Applying the Word of God within its correct context in all situations will not leave room for pride, arrogance nor prejudice, instead love will exist and cover a multitude of sins. Keep up the good work!

Caryn: Of course! I heartily agree with your gratefulness to God on the matter, and it doesn't seem weird to me at all. I hope I didn't come across like that! And it's not a stretch, either; it's awesome! My aim was to affirm and encourage you. This article is a beautiful example of being grateful to God in all things, just like you said in your comment. And I am delighted how your thankfulness gave rise to practical action!

I have had some similar experiences, in concept, as a man. God has taken the hurtful words and actions of other people, which were intended to sabotage my identity as a godly man, and turn them into a means of growth and transformation.

For anyone who’s interested, I think Adam Clarke’s commentary on 1st Corinthians 14:34 is particularly informative, and shows why context is so important. It also explains the apparent contradiction Matthew pointed out. The truth is the way Christians conducted their services in those days is markedly different from anything any Christian church I know of is doing now; for example, when was the last time you questioned your pastor during a service?

One final sentiment. James 1:26-27 (KJV) "If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man's religion is vain. (27) Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." A lot of us should be a lot less worried about women leading, and a lot more concerned about how we're living this passage out.

Note to Mike C.: I have to refute your statement, Mike, that 'they are all suffering significant declines in membership' regarding United Methodist churches at least, as I belong to a very actively growing United Methodist Church that utilizes women pastors and we just finished building a new larger church to support our growth, and we are already 75% full in the new larger church (actually about 85-90% full at the 11AM service). Growth is about dynamic spiritual leadership, and has NOTHING to do with the utilization of women pastors!

This may not fit in the context of the current blog, but I needed to write!
I am a leader of women in my church. I belong to a denomination that does not ordain women or allow women elders or deacons. I have wrested this through and have decided that this is what is Biblically correct to my understanding. I did not come to this easily, as I feel God has given me a pastor's heart. I teach, counsel, exhort and lead women. There are many times, though, that I don't feel affirmed or acknowledged by the church male leadership. I feel as if I am just "out there" trying to do ministry. The leadership gave permission for this but I feel as though they "pat me on the head" as they are doing the "real work" of the church.
I am discouraged to the point of cutting way back on involvement and volunteering outside of church. Maybe my attitude needs a real adjustment.....Words of encouragement, exhortation or insight would be appreciated, as well as your prayers.

I have to agree with g. I too attend a growing Methodist church. In the last 3 years, we too have almost out-grown our new, and very large facility. We have women in all levels of leadership. As God sees neither male nor female, the gender has not influenced our growth, but our true teachings have. We have invited the Holy Spirit into our church, and we're benefitting from that.

I pray that God pours his Spirit on this issue because there are issues that Paul and the early Christians faced that we don't.

Daniel, thank you for refering to Adam Clarke's commentary. It appears to be a helpful explanation of certain customs of various cultures at the time, with references to their writings.

That being said, I read his commentary on the relevent passages, and I don't think it really helps to make judgments on how to deal with these passages today. His commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:34 emphasizes the accepted customs at the time. It's possible this means the teaching was to "not rock the boat" of the local culture. Yet his commentary on 1 Timothy 2:13-14 emphasizes Paul's argument from design and from the Fall. If you read his commentary on these two verses, it would seem to disarm any attempt to relegate the position of women merely to the inspiration of culture, but rather to these two events.

I think he says it this way because his commentary in verse 15 suggests that the birth of Christ by a woman may have redeemed women from the full force of the original penalty. But, I think he and the scholar he quotes have mis-associated the subject "she" in the first half of the sentence, assuming her to be Eve. Since it is linked with the conditional "if they" in the second half, I think this association is wrong. Adam Clarke quotes from the KJV, but contemporary translations seem to favour the translation of the Greek "she" here to "women" in agreement with the second half of the sentence, meaning that Paul is referring to the hypothetical woman in the Church (his original subject), not to Eve or women from Eve until Mary.

Mr Clarke appears to insinuate in his commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 that until Christ, women did not prophecy, or teach, or anything that required the Spirit of God. He makes this suggestion based on Jewish custom at the time, and drawing an implication from a verse in Joel. This does not appear to be a good hypothesis as there are examples of women doing those very things in the Old Testament. Women as a whole apparently had a more limited role in Scripture before Christ, but Clarke's assumption is that Jewish custom was in accordance with God's Will for women, and so here I think is an example where context has negatively influenced the interpretation of Scripture.

It is my belief that after Christ, God's Plan for women began to become better realized, and I think we enjoy some of its fruits now, but it still remains a confusing issue to me. Paul gives his reason for his teachings about women in 1 Timothy 2:13-14. He is not appealing to culture, but to Scripture. We also know he affirms and lauds women in those same roles. There are evidently principles in God's plan for men and women which we don't yet understand, even after 2000 years. It's good that we still talk about these subjects, but we should not be too comfortable with our own conclusions. Consequently but respectfully, I just don't think discounting verses because of changing contexts is the right thing to do.

Based on Mike C.'s comment re: the decline in the Methodist Churches.
Mike, there is renewal in the Methodist Church. True, not all the individual churches are growing, but the denomination is growing again. I too am presently a Methodist. I'm more evangelistic in the way I function and in truth, denomination is of no concern to me. I've had membership in all the mainline Churhes; and no I am not a Church hopper, I'm just old enough to draw social cecurity and I've been around a few days. The past decline of the Methodist Church was not due to ordaining women, which they did in the early Methodist days in the U. S. and grew like wild-fire. At that time Methodist were very much evangelistic. The decline was due to leaving out evangelism. They never leave out missions and social involvements to be salt in the Earth, but they got away from the question of "are YOU saved?" in whatever way it should be asked. There is a new emphasis on evangelism within that Church although some die-hards still don't like the word "evangelism". It has not been the inclusion of women; it has been the omission of confrontational preaching. John Wesley said, "When you preach, men ought to get saved or get mad."

To Linda: as a leader, I think we must all be cautious of why we are serving in the church. If the reason is to be noticed and praised by others - men or women - then we might need to reconsider our purpose for doing what we are doing. If it's not to serve God, to further God's kingdom, then why are we doing it. As a leader, whether of men or women, either, or both, our hearts need to be like Jesus', who did not care what people thought of his actions, but wanted only to please his Father. I have been in just the place you describe - wanting desperately to be acknowledged, valued, by those in authority. May I offer some advice that was given to me by my mentor in business: "own the power that's already been given to you." In business, that meant to take hold and authority over what's been assigned to you to accomplish. In ministry, I believe, it's the same. God has given you a place to serve, to lead. Now do just that, without need for anything else. If the men in authority choose not to acknowledge you, that's their choice, their problem, their accountability to God. But for you, in leadership. Own what God already gave you to own. Just a thought...

I've been thinking about this article since it was posted and while I find it delightful that the author is honoring the places that men have had in her journey in and through leadership, I find myself thinking about the nature of doors and of the people that go through them. First off, in order to go through a door one must first walk up to that door. No one else does this for us. Secondly, as we get to the door there may be those who open it for us. My husband almost without fail opens the car door for me when we are out and about together and I love it. But what if he does not open the door? I would not stand there waiting and waiting. I would open the door. And the reality is that in the depths of our hearts we approach doors with the intent to open them when we get there. In this there is a trust of God's provision regarding our lives and the callings of such. There is risk in this, for what if the door is too heavy for us to manage alone? Yet, it is this very place of risk, of stepping up to a door that may refuse our tugs, that God delights to send door openers our way. The thing is, he won't send door openers until we are at the door.

This is a very hard hard decision process. At the root is not really the women in leadership issue- the real issue is do you stay with people you love and care about, the community God has placed you for now or do you go to a community where you can use the gifts God has given you? THat is not an easy answer. This is the everyday dilimmas that people in the pew experience-and it is not easy.
I also would like to comment on the idea of placating the men is easier than handling the anger of women. The Vineyard has recently stepped up to allowing women in leadership and ordaination. But it also seems to have stalled out over the issue of how do we "protect" those male pastors who do not support this decision? It is almost comical that so much time and energy is going into protecting those pastors-they never gave it a thought to care for all those women they have oppressed for all those years-not letting them use their gifts or be in leadership! How ironic!

For Linda:
I am with you - serving a group of women by pastoring them and teaching the Scripture to them. And hopefully, mostly by living God's love out toward them. I have strong confidence that my calling from God is to teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, pure, keepers of their homes, good, and respectful of their own husbands. And the purpose for this kind of teaching and living is that the Word of God will not be dishonored. (Titus 2:3-5) This is one place in Scripture where older women (I'm turning 60 tomorrow!) are instructed by God what our task here on earth should be. Because of the firm conviction God has given me that this is my purpose, I can do this whether anyone else notices or not. I know God notices. And He knows better than anyone my heart to please Him.

Caryn,
Thank you for this always controversial subject matter. As I was told by one of my fellow Preacher friends, there are some things that we as christians just will not agree on down here.
I find it interesting that when I announced my calling to preach my Dad was happier for me than my Mom. I have grown up in the NBCUSA and the acceptance of woman in the pulpit, no even to mention Pastoring, is a very challenging subject. I am blessed that the church God sent me to 8 years ago has a Pastor who came to beleive that God does allow woman to Preach the word. However, he is slow to beleive in ordination of woman, eventhough he has a sister who is a Co-Pastor with her husband.
Some of Pauls teachings mention that woman should be quiet and subject to their husband. However, not all woman are married. God did not say that everyone was suited for marriage. Not all woman can have children. So, how then would you apply this scripture to those woman. The contextr of the scripture is indeed clear and is applicable to those woman that it applies to. However, please note that it does not apply to all women only to those who have a husband. So, lets stay focused on the subject of woman preaching the word of God and being leaders in the church. I beleive that if Paul so beleived that woman should not preach or teach he would not have told Apollo to follow Priscilla (the preacher) and her husband Aquila. He names her first. God used a woman from the cradle to the cross from the beginning to the end.
I am greatful for God calling me, for Jesus leading me, for my Dad encouraging me and my Pastor for beleiving in me. I pray for all of those other men and women who do not accept my calling to Preach Gods word.

Hi..
It is tough discussion that there exist God or not. It is self believe matter and not to forced to anyone. I am blessed that the church God sent me to 8 years ago has a Pastor who came to believe that God does allow woman to Preach the word. Thank for sharing this nice post.

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