Sharing a Letter to Young Christian Feminists

While I’m on hiatus finishing up the editing on my book, here’s a great read from Cheryl Bridges Johns at The Junia Project. Beautifully written and spot on. With my book off the to-do list soon, I hope to be writing on several of the topics she so eloquently summarizes. Until then, blessings to you.

A Letter to Young Christian Feminists

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Just a Thought – On Gender Issues and the Church

If we are going to take The Curse as our guide for male and female roles, women should never have been allowed to work in the fields of agriculture – in any capacity. That would be the man’s role.  It would emasculate him to have her take over any of his duties in that God-assigned arena, just like her taking a job outside the home would today.

Menopause and Nurturing by Lisa Womble

A friend of mine has a great blog as “an exercise in female writing” and I was honored to have her share a post from me. I’m looking forward to seeing what others submit.

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I’m not sure when I first heard the word menopause, but I’m sure I never heard it referred to in anything other than a negative sense. It was something horrible women were to dread.

As I grew older – again not remembering any specific conversations about it, just a general impression gathered – it came to mean a time when women “lost something.” In menopause, you would lose your youth and vitality. You would be subject to a body out of control. (Insert picture of a woman swooning onto a “fainting couch” while suffering “the vapors.”) You would be a “dried up” old woman.

You would never again be able to procreate, and even if you were past the time in your life where you would desire to do so, it still would be a horribly sad day for you. Something to mourn. A part of your identity so precious…

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My First Year of Blogging – 2014 in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. See what’s happened since Lisa started her blog on May 8, 2014.

Here’s an excerpt:

The busiest day of the year was October 16th with 81 views. The most popular post that day was 5 Controversial Statements about Race and Gender I’ve Really Wanted to Post on My Blog but Haven’t – Until Now.

Click here to see the complete report.

One Aspect of Male Privilege Actually Surprised Me When I Became a Pastor

After reading Dr. Jeremiah Gibbs’ excellent post on “Women Pastors and Male Privilege”, I was compelled to add one additional category to his list of the ways male privilege is manifested in this setting.

I have been surprised at the number of people who question my role in counseling male congregants. In the almost 30 years my husband has served as a pastor, I cannot recall anyone questioning whether he should offer pastoral counsel to the women in our churches. There have, of course, been seminars and workshops on setting appropriate boundaries, and I agree completely. But there was never a suggestion that he should pass along the women who came to him for prayer or advice to a female counselor. Since we started co-pastoring together in 2009, I’ve had numerous people advise me to refer male members to my husband, even though they have come to me and not him. Interestingly, even though we are now tag-team pastors, no one has yet to say he should send the women to me.

Adding to my surprise at this attitude is the fact that it has not occurred in any other setting. When I served as principal at a Christian school and also while on the faculty at a Bible college where I was responsible for the spiritual formation program for our students, my ability to meet with and counsel fathers and male students was never questioned. In fact, I was the one who had to insist that windows were built into my office doors in both settings.

I’ve never heard a discussion about whether a female therapist should take on male clients. Why the church has such a hang-up on this has taken me aback.

“A Book that Cannot Be Ignored”

Book reviews and a link to a chapter excerpt from my husband’s book 95 Theses Which Dispute the Church’s Conviction Against Women. This book is a thorough work on the subject, including exegesis of key passages, theological framework for discussion, as well as more pragmatic implications. Scot McKnight calls it “a book that cannot be ignored.”

A Christian blog by T. Scott Womble

My book has been reviewed in at least five places now.

1.  Stone-Campbell Journal (Spring 2009).

2.  Scot McKnight’s blog.

3.  Jeff Miller @ Emmanuel Christian Seminary

4.  Priscilla Papers (Autumn 2010).

5.  The “God’s Word to Women” web, where you can find part of chapter 5.

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5 Controversial Statements about Race and Gender I’ve Really Wanted to Post on My Blog but Haven’t – Until Now

If you’ve read much on my blog at all, you’ve probably noticed I’m a promoter of peace. I encourage people to look at all sides of an issue and strive for healthy dialogue. You’ll see on my “About This Blog” page, that one of my goals from the start was to bring people “to the table” and let their voices be heard. Among the six goals I list for the blog is the following:

Conversation – I believe the best solutions come when we do life in community. Whether we’re looking for answers to global problems, theological debates, or just day-to-day conundrums, we’ll take a look at varying opinions and develop an ear to really listen and hear what others think and feel about the issues at hand. Open-mindedness and civility will be part of our core values, but that doesn’t mean we’ll tip-toe around the issues.

Tonight I’m wondering why I’VE been tip-toeing around the issues that are very important to me. Why am I not really letting MY voice be heard?

I can come up with several answers that sound good on the surface. For instance, I’ve kind of prided myself on the fact that as much as I’ve written on the topic of Ferguson/Mike Brown (nine posts), I’ve not tipped my hand to let people know where I stand on the particulars of the situation. In this case, I’ve viewed myself more as the moderator than the debater. But I do have some definite opinions on the matter (get ready, they’re coming below).

Then there’s the issue of gender equality. As a woman pastor, I have experienced much opposition, discrimination and even hateful behavior in my life. And yet, I have only one post in the category of gender issues here. For that, I really have no excuses.

After writing those last two paragraphs, it seems obvious to me why my blog has not accomplished the goal of creating the dialogue I had hoped. How can I expect others to be comfortable expressing their opinions if I’m not comfortable expressing my own? So, with no more ado, here’s my list of controversial things I’ve wanted to say on my blog but haven’t. It’s a partial list, but it’s a start.

1. “Stop snitching” is no different than cops covering for cops. If you hate one you have to hate the other. If you oppose one, you have to oppose the other. If you protest against one, you have to protest against the other. They are the same thing. Both hide the truth. Both give preference to the perpetrator over the victim. Both hinder justice.

2. I am sick of the hate mongering of racists and sexists, especially from those who profess to be Christians. You might be a racist or a sexist if …

  • The only social media posts you make are about how despicable the “other side” is. Can you seriously not see one valid point your “opposition” is making?
  • You post ugly stories about the other gender or another race to justify the ugly stories you see about your own. You don’t post these stories to show how sad the situation is, or to foster discussion with the opposition. You do it to stir up your side in anger. You do it solely to prove this is why your side is “provoked” into doing the ugly things it’s doing.
  • Your side has done absolutely nothing wrong, ever.

3. Wal-Mart is not the same as Woolworth. The sit-ins at the Woolworth stores in the 60s made sense. Woolworth had a policy of denying blacks the right to sit and eat at their lunch counters. The sit-ins there showed courage and took action against the actual perpetrator of the injustice. It is not the same with Wal-Mart and the shooting of John Crawford. Wal-Mart just happened to be the location where a terrible tragedy occurred. If you want to stage a protest that actually convinces the other side to hear you out, do it in a location and a manner that makes sense. Shutting down a business that was an “innocent bystander,” and creating loss of income for the employees, only furthers the annimosity of those who are prone to turn a deaf ear to you in the first place.

4. To completely throw your support behind Officer Darren Wilson before all the facts are known is just as incredulous as throwing all your support behind Mike Brown before all the facts are known. Yet, again, both sides see the injustice on the one side, but not on their own. I am flabbergasted.

5. I will not have my “role” in the church, society or home defined by the curse found in Genesis 3. I do not understand how the ONLY result of the curse which is defined as “God’s creative order” or “original plan” is the one line that says man shall rule over woman. In every other aspect of the curse – the serpent will now crawl on its belly, woman will have pain in childbirth, man will have to struggle with the earth to get his food – no one will say those things are God’s original plan or desire. They are all seen as the results of sin and the fallen state. Yet, man’s rule over woman is not? I understand that a full theology of the roles of men and women must encompass the whole of Scripture, but how can we even move on to further discussion if the foundational premise is this flawed?

I was wondering how I was going to conclude this seemingly hodgepodge list post, but as I wrote that last sentence the connection of all the points became clear to me. The basic issue behind all of these controversies is the inability, or unwillingness, of one side to concede ANY point to the other. Likewise, there is a failure to recognize ANY common ground.

One place of commonality for those active in the causes of both gender issues and racial equality is supposedly a call for justice. So, let’s start by talking about justice itself – with open minds and open hearts – with a true desire to have justice for ALL. It might start by asking questions like the following and really listening to the perspective of the other. Where do you feel like I have been unjust? Do I come across as saying justice for me is more important than justice for you? How can we work together more effectively for the cause of justice? What will a just society really look like?

And more specifically in the realm of Christian dialogue on these matters, our common framework is supposed to be the love of Christ. So, the questions to start with might be … How do you feel I have been unloving towards you in this debate? Is our approach to this issue showing Christ’s love towards each other and to the world?

Now that I’ve overcome my hesitations and thrown all this out there in the blogosphere, I’m sure I’ll have some follow-up posts. I hope you will join me at the table today and in the days to come.