Church and Gender Discrimination November 28, 2007Posted by Matt in church, gender, Rachel.
Tags: church, god, questions, Rachel, spiritual gifts
A few days ago, Rachel – my inquisitive 5 year old daughter – asked me an innocent question that she had been pondering over for some time and I have struggled with in times past.
“Daddy,” she asked, “Why are only boys preachers?”
I agonize to myself at times over how to answer questions like this from my girls – mainly because my own personal views tend to not fall in line with the status quo in our church. I thought about it for a few moments, running through various scenarios in my mind, before I replied to her with my sincere belief in the knowledge that my answer would most likely be contradictory to what she will hear in the Church of Christ.
“Honey,” I said, “Some people think that God only wants that, but they are wrong. They are very wrong.”
Her question really made me think, though. What have we done to our young ladies? We teach about spiritual gifts and how God has endowed each of us with them, but then we stifle our women at every opportunity – telling them that they have no place in the spiritual edification of men.
This stems from our mode of Biblical intrepration which, in many churches, remains steeped in modernity – where everything (or at least everything that fits a certain agenda) is black or white or right or wrong, and it is time to move forward. We must not continue to only shuttle our women to teach children below the arbitrary age of accountability. We must not tell them that their spiritual gifts are only to be used if no men are within earshot. We must pull back the Pharisaical hand of oppression that we have put upon our ladies and let them know that they are important to God – that they do have a place and a purpose in His kingdom.
This is one of the main reasons why I refuse to have my daughters participate in our church’s Lads to Leaders program. I actually wrote to the head of the program in Alabama in order to inquire whether or not it was true that, if Rachel participated, I would not be allowed to watch her read a Bible verse out loud at the annual convention. I quickly received an answer dripping with condescension from the organization explaining to me in no uncertain terms that this was the case and it would never change. So, needless to say, my daughters will never be a part of this if I have anything to say about it.
I could ramble on and on about this and perhaps I will later, but for now I have to get back to work. I realize that this is mainly a rant with little substance, so maybe I will try to clarify a bit later.