Monday, November 05, 2012

Women In Ministry: The Feminine Feel..and the World of Church

Posted by Hannah at 7:24 AM

I read an interesting article this morning about women in ministry.  To me it could also be women in leadership.  When you run a ministry – that is leadership.  It could be Sunday School teacher right over to Top Coffee Server!  Preacher to Janitor!  The leadership is in the serving of God and others.

A well rounded couple decided to take on their youth ministry together.  They trained together, studied together, and worked together.  He took the high school students, and she took the junior high.  Together it was THEIR ministry. 

In the world of ‘church’ its more like his ministry, and she helps…as a proper ‘help meet’ should.  Yes, she does the same job in a different age group.  She is a woman in ministry, and lets face facts here…in leadership as well.  I know.  I know.  How usurping of me huh?!

Why is that so hard to admit?  I’m sorry but it seems so childish to me.  Her husband is okay with it, but the ‘world of church’ doesn’t seem to be.

What stuck me was the paragraph:
I was also raised as a missionary kid, and had a front-row seat to the full-throttle partnership missionary couples brought to their ministry.
Yes, it was usually the man’s name on the paycheck. But the women worked too, often at great cost. Until recently, it was not uncommon for mission agencies to require children to be sent to boarding school, freeing the women up for full-time service. It was/is a crappy policy. But those women? They got the job done, paycheck, title, status, or not.
So I get a little prickly when people criticize, belittle, or get affectionately patronizing about the contributions of the "helpers": the hyper-involved homeschooling moms, the "controlling" church matrons, the ministry wives who seem to live at the church. I mean, I’d like to see a church try to run without those powerhouse women, women who have dedicated their whole lives to the service of God and others.
I’ll see your hot-shot pastor and raise you my grandma.
No kidding!
She made this comment after she told of a story of an encounter with one of the youth’s fathers.  He wanted to know basically what she does.  This was after she mentioned all that THEY have done.  Her husband appeared, and it seemed all was well with the world.  The father was able to speak with someone in ‘guard’ finally.
For some reason it seems women should be okay with a concept that is familiar in the business world.  We have all hear about it.  The lower status person comes up with a great idea, or does a great job at something.  The boss or the one in charge takes the credit.  The person responsible for the achievement is to be okay with basically keeping their mouth shut.  It’s a game in business, but it shouldn’t be the same game in our places of worship.  God sees the truth, and do we forget that matters? 
This type of ‘ouch’ approach is what hinders the church’s image, and makes women feel stepped on.   Its is seen as sexist, and lets face facts here – it is.  Preachers can parrot that women are equal in the eyes of God, but have differing roles all they wish.  How that statement should satisfy everyone.  When they see this attitude that is prevalent in the ‘world of church’…clue one that is why they don’t take you seriously!   Its not because they a feminist.  Men wouldn’t appreciate this attitude either.  This attitude is why you have to constantly back up and justify your beliefs.  The spin you place on how it isn’t wrong…isn’t working.  Your attitude – not beliefs – doesn’t line up with common sense and rational thinking.  It just doesn’t.   I mean lets face facts here if it was done in reverse?  It wouldn’t feel very honoring would it?  Would it help you ‘feel’ your role?
Yes, God is proud of the women that seem to take the backseat.  He knows.  Its not the back seat to him, and he sees the selfishness in it.  They know they will get the reward later on when it really counts.  If you mention appreciation of same sort towards these women of God presently?  Well, lets just say I’m glad SOME men and women know the real truth and don’t project this ‘religious’ brand of politically correct junk to heart.  If acknowledgement of sorts is somewhat pride for women – it’s the same for the male gender as well.  Yet we all know its not….
Just for a moment I will tell you no doubt her husband pointed out the browning points on her behalf.  I know my father would as well.  In the end it wouldn’t have made a hill of beans difference to this father.  That’s the attitude that creates a sinful atmosphere. Browning points for the men that stand up straight , and admit what is what on her behalf!  In some circumstances it seems not worth going to war over certain points at that particular time.  Other times?  That isn’t the case.  We have to discern those circumstances.
I’m not saying her circumstance with this one parent wasn’t the time to step out.  I wasn’t there.  I don’t know if it was or not.  I do know it hurt her feelings from the article she wrote.  I also realize that at times you need to ignore people that act like heels towards others, because the bigger picture of a child’s walk in faith is more important at that point in time.  Some families would yack their children out of the program if you stood to firm after all.  The attitude of justification is what I’m speaking about as well, and its sinful.
If the world of church’s culture was different?  It would have been okay to speak out on her behalf.    The fact that this reality is a threat to some because of its culture?  Pointing it out is asking for something ‘prideful’, and of course that is sin …is really ugly on the surface.  To me it is a matter of respect.  It’s a form of respect all people should receive.  It’s call encouragement!  THAT is a good thing! 
Goodness knows I have walked up to men preachers, and handed them encouragement…because it was the right to do, and they deserved it!  In the world of church if a reminder that women are deserving of praise is mentioned?  A motive is always attached most of the time,  and that should not be.  Kudo’s, Thanks you’s, encouragement, and acknowledgment should be for all.  We see it done all the time, but when you speak about it directly towards one gender?  Major OUCH!   If it is okay for a husband to do – then its okay for all to do as well.
She got a comment that really bothered me.
I love your threats for the male-dominant society. I’m sorry your name not being on the paycheck means you don’t get credit for the work.
The name on the paycheck really isn’t the point.  You can keep the paycheck in his name if it will make you feel better.  lol it goes into the joint account anyway!  Why is it we are trained to see such a small aspect of what is said, and miss the bigger picture in certain circles of faith when it comes to gender?

It’s the point that a Junior High Father had to speak with the husband – because he was the minister and she was just the ‘help meet’ that is belittling.  In the world of ‘church’ that makes a huge difference. 
The point being he couldn’t speak to her, because he wasn’t sure what she did.  How patronizing is that? 
It’s the fact that missionary wives are also just the ‘help meet’, but they require her to send her children off to boarding school so she can dedicate herself 100% to the mission.  That gives you a clue they DO KNOW what she does.  Like or not in the world of missionaries the wife is also a leader there.  Its just reality in that realm – unless you have some hyper controlling spouse.  It is what it is.
The bible tends to give credit to women in different ways than our world of church is able too today.  They are rejoiced in the bible, and we aren’t able to show this today.  Its not ‘biblical’ to do so in our cultural of the ‘world of church’ atmosphere presently.  It may look ‘usurping’ to some… can I say how dumb is that?  Its called contribution NOT usurping!
We get so ridiculous about this stuff, and how certain ‘males’ need to feel their leadership and authority.  Look at the expense?  That’s pride we are looking at.   They will mock her getting her feelings hurt over the disrespect she was given, but it okay to ‘feel’ your manly headship.  Opps.  You aren’t suppose to notice that.
People – and YES that includes women are leaving the church because for some reason they can see the disrespect that the world of ‘church’ TRIES to tell them isn’t there!  People are not that stupid.  Some feel they have to drink the Kool-Aid a little so the can participate in ministry.  I mean lets face facts – if they didn’t they wouldn’t be welcome there!  Trademark of the world of church!
Don’t believe me?  Check out the ugly conversations or debates of egalitarian versus complementarian.  You think men that stand for equality have a chance in ministry in some churches that seems to be okay with changing the definition of equality to ‘sameness’.  Equality always had its own definition, but in the world of church it changed so it would have an acceptable spin on roles.  Then its BADDDDD when people don’t accept the spin.
Some are willing to put it up with it, but so many others are not….and are leaving.  We blame the current wave of feminism, or how men don’t know how to be men….okay then. 
I will admit there are some nutcases in some realms of feminism, and YES we do have men they truly can’t fathom how to step up in LIFE in general! 
This doesn’t erase the disrespect that is clearly present, and how leaders take this concept personally…and divert the issue instead of addressing it.  I will also admit its hard not to be coward in a room of ‘world of church’ people.  You will get attacked no doubt!  Another clue why people leave!
I see pansies in leadership that drink in authority and headship in narcissistic ways, and I see women that drink their doctrine in thinking they don’t get disrespected for their role in God’s work.  Men seem to think they need to ‘feel it’, and women are manipulated into thinking they must accept it and NOT feel it.
Thank you LORD for all the GOOD men that praise women for what they are, and not some stupid ‘role’ in life!  People are so much MORE than THAT!
My Daddy saw some aspects of ‘roles’ for women, but when it was shown to him how it HURT us?  How we were custom just as he was?  How ALL people on the earth are?  A light bulb went on for him. 
He realized that he was being swept into something that maybe wasn’t so concrete.  I have to wonder if his stand in the civil rights movement didn’t help him.  He took the crap for standing against bigotry, because at that time?  Whites were worse than Blacks – if you stood on ‘their’ side.  They were worse than the race they were trying to keep down.
If you have seen the documentary The Freedom Riders?  For him standing with women would be a cake walk.  The quote ‘Christian’ ways of that time aren’t so acceptable today in the church.  Having the snot beat out of you, killed, etc. was acceptable once upon a time.  Being called ‘wimp’ because women are being disrespected and all the rest?  Yep.  Cake walk!  It hurts of course, but at least you don’t have to worry about physical harm.   You can also leave, and not worry about the risk to your family in most cases.
We still have to use discernment!  Martin Luther King did that as well.  There was times in which he took disrespect, and other times he fought against it.
The article was titled, ‘Women in Ministry Series: Why Ministry Should Have a Feminine Feel’  I hope most that read it won’t throw out the stereotypes.  The limp wristed, flowery, overly emotionally ‘feminine feel’ for ministry.  They use the adjectives because its threatening to them, and it shouldn’t be.  There is no threat there.
To me?  That is the same type of attitude that the Extreme Muslims in the middle east took when they gunned down a girl because she wanted to get educated.  They just use the ‘world of church’ rules  instead of bullets, and all get taught ugly attitudes that go with it.  The ugly attitude is the same even with no bullets.  They just have different ways of doing it.
Have we become ministry snobs?
Ministry Should Have a Feminine Feel

The women in ministry series

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