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September 2, 2008

Why God Created Women

Growing up in what I realize now was a rather conservative culture, windows into female sexuality were pretty limited. I never saw a woman lead worship though I heard plenty of soprano solos, which I assumed was what a woman should sound like. My chocolate contralto felt odd and out of place. I didn't know any women with male friends without brow-furrowed conversations about boundaries and inevitable temptations. I wondered if I should question the profoundly nourishing relationships I had built over the years with members of the opposite sex. I have distinct memories of quilted Bible covers, Proverbs 31 plaques, and row upon row of books about praying women, strong women, bad women, beautiful women?you get the picture. All of these things fit neatly into Category A.

Then there was my mother: confident, beautiful, sensual, and ambitious. Mom knew which rules to break and which rules to bend if you wanted to get ahead. I often felt like a sloth in light of her clear-cut goals and pragmatism. The first woman to attain an executive management position at a luxury hotel in our city, she was a leader in a man's world. She was not afraid to use her beauty or her brains to move ahead. As a young girl, I remember watching the tender parts of her become calloused as she maintained what people called a "man's perspective" in business. It was here that I established Category B.

I went through a few years of trying to squeeze all the parts of me alternately into the two different categories and, in both scenarios, felt like a cheap copy of myself. My journals were filled with dark-inked entries wondering why God would create women to be fiercely intelligent if we couldn't lead outside of our seemingly innocuous circles. Why create women to be beautiful if we either must become resigned to being dis-integrated visual objects or be afraid of our bodies because of the "natural" temptation of the female form? Why create women to be the completers of his greatest creation if relationships with men were dangerous and tainted by our nature? I was angry. And I felt fiercely alone.

And then my (male) friend and high-school-buddy-turned-Catholic-priest encapsulated my frustration. "You've had the differences between male and female drawn out for you with the two distinctions existing in black and white. You can't live with yourself by the world's standard of femininity, yet you are convinced you must be distinctly female by the church's definition and you must worship a God who is distinctly male by the same code."

It was like feeling a wound for hours and then finally seeing the damage in the light. Yep, that'll need stitches.

God-as-man felt far away to me, and in many of the still-frames of my life, it even felt dangerous and oppressive. Yet I still had enough orthodoxy in me to cringe at the idea of God-as-neuter or the possible sacrilege of God-as-woman. So where could I find a doorway into my own sexuality and spirituality when all of the mirrors felt so foggy?

I'd been reading through the writings of the prophets for years, but almost stumbling. That's how I missed out on the framework that would have freed me. It wasn't the sum of my categories that was wrong - it was the fact that the categories even existed. To define sexuality, mine or God's, by a list of characteristics and behaviors was limiting my experience of myself and my experience of God; and, as a result, my ability to engage with God's work in the world.

The prophets saw this. They were the mouthpiece of a God described as a mother, as a lover, as a risk-taker. They embraced the mystery that God couldn't fit into our pre-designed social categories for gender. This seems so much harder for us. We love our boxes and the chance to say, "See, I fit inside this box. Therefore, I am feminine." We are created in God's image, our minds, bodies, our feminine essence. This is the beauty of mystery. And this is the challenge we face as women of God. Are you ready to take the risk?

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Heck yes!!!! :) Beautifully written. Thank you.

You use a lot of words but don't really say anything. We can assume however, that your conclusion is to live as you want to live, take the role in church that you want, and express your sexuality in the ways that you feel like. In other words, your "decision" amounts to nothing more than doing as you please, tradition, the Bible, common sense and decorum be d***ed!

So, be the woman, or person, God created you to be. We are as different as the prophets - from Isaiah to Amos and as different as women like Huldah and Deborah were. May God bless us one and all!

John, if you truly know Christ as your savior, then you can be healed of your mean-spiritedness. Jodi has written a heart-felt message of what many women go through, and you trampled all over it because it doesn't fit into your worldy view. I say worldly because many Christians believe that if they restrict and control women (by taking verses out of context), then they're following God. They're actually following the sin-filled view of women that the world has had for thousands of years, and still has in many parts today - even in the church. There's a lot of controversy over the issue of women right now, because we (and Satan) always resist when God pours his Holy Spirit over an issue.

Jodi, I have experienced these exact feelings and come to the same conclusions. It's a painful process, throwing off the boxes that tradition, society, and culture have tried to stuff me into.

I love your last paragraph. Brilliant.

thanks for tackling this issue. we need a lot more dialogue.

I have struggled with the stereotype of women in the church all my life. It's good to be reminded I'm not the only one.

And John, wherever did you get the idea that she's saying THAT? Or are you just hearing what you want to hear? 'Cause a woman that doesn't fit your stereotype can't be a Christian, right?

Lets All Pray for John. I think he needs a little encouragement!

The topic is quite curious, i must say

I LOVE being a woman!!!! It is a true blessing from the Lord above. Jesus came and destroyed many barriers for women. He wanted to show man that He sees us all the same. With the same love. Christ, man and woman are to fit together as puzzle pieces. Without the other there is no completion. You must never look to another women as an example, because guess what they always fail (as you and I). Only look to Christ and He will make you what He wants you to be which will always be something wonderful.

Men and women will always be at war with this until men start loving their women as Jesus loves the church. Which means without pride and willing to die for her. complete humility...

My husband often teases me that the word woman means wo unto man. The Bible teaches us in all of our ways to get an understanding. I suffered from low self esteem as a female growing up in the Body of Christ. Today, my self esteem is sky high after learning who created me, why I was created, and understanding my gifts. If I (female) through simple verbal influence can make a man turn against his God.......Wo! I see why God had to check me. Talk about always having the ace in my pocket (literaly) However, we have to know when to use our many gifts and how to use them. Women can not use our God given gifts to fight against our creator. Even a dog knows not to bite the hand of the one who feeds him. Women have to use our gifts for God's glory and honor by doing His will.

GOD created women to be with men. i am a straight man that would love very much to have a woman in my life to share with, but the biggest problem now is that there are so much more LESBIANS making it much harder for us straight men finding love today.

Mark, how do you see the article as speaking about lesbianism?

Also, I would be careful about slamming lesbians. We need to treat everyone with respect instead of blaming them for our problems.

it would be very nice if God could bless me to find a real good woman to meet to spend the rest of my life with this time around, especially after my wife of 15 years cheated on me with another woman no less which i was a very caring and loving husband that was very much committed to her as well. i did everything to be a real good husband to her but it wasn't good enough for her. now when i do go out i always seem to meet the women that are not nice to me at all, and sometimes i will even get Cursed at by them which doesn't make any sense at all to me. there are just so many nasty women out there these days, and i know other men that have been Cursed at by women too which is not very nice at all. so as you can see it is not just me that has this problem, especially after my wife did this to me. well back to why God created women, and it would be nice since i am a Straight man looking to have a love life again like i had just mentioned before. being lonely is no fun at all, especially when i see so many very blessed men and women that have met one another and have a family just like many of us good serious men would have wanted as well. why does God bless certain people to find love and happiness, and not other men like us that would certainly know how to treat a woman very well? if this was God's intention for certain people like us to be alone, then we shouldn't not have been born in the first place. it is certainly very unfair when i have to see so many families together having a good time and going on trips and just being with one another which makes so much sense rather than being alone and having no one. well it is certainly very true what they say, married men will always live much longer than single men which is very obvious. well now i will just keep going out and just hope to be at the right place at the right time with the help of God's blessing to find love again. Peace.

Jodi, I love this! If we dissolve all the stereotypes,
would we recognize woman as God created her? She was the
grand finale of creation. God bless you. Keep up the good work.

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