I did not see in the Bible that women are second class citizens in the body of Christ.
So then, why it is such a power trip?
I have been in churches where women serve as sisters with their brothers in Christ. I have been in churches where the “rules” are archaic. It’s like a woman serving outside her duties (i.e. women’s ministry and children) is destroying the headship of man (ugh…give me a break).
I don’t think it is. Women are more than teaching children and women, having tea together, sitting pretty and silent while the “man” does God’s work. We have other skills. We may not be gifted in everything but we are gifted in some things.
Biblical Women of Service
Not just the Proverbs 31 woman…There are women in the early church who were in involved. Here are some:
Phoebe: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.-Romans 16:1-2
Priscilla and Aquila: Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches.-Romans 16:3-4
Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.-Acts 18:24-26
Mary (not mother of Jesus): Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit. -Romans 16:7
Junia: Greet Andronicus (husband) and Junia (wife), my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.-Romans 16:8
Active. Teaching People. Preaching. Prisoners. Hard Workers. Risk-takers for the Gospel.
No delicacy there. These women were sisters for the kingdom respected by their brothers serving alongside them.
Spiritual Gifts And Roles
I know what you are thinking: 1 Timothy 2:8-12—
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.
I used to hate this verse because some Christian men would twist this verse to say women should not preach but be quiet and submit. A woman who does not follow through is not of God. I have to remember that God’s Words are not to hinder and belittle but are for a greater purpose. But look at the verse again through The Message version Bible:
Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.
Work and pray with humility. Doing something beautiful for God and being beautiful doing it. Not to overstep for power but be obedient to God’s word. God may call us to have a quiet spirit, to be wise, and to discern. But God may call us to something greater. It all depends on Him. We don’t always need to talk but don’t always need to be silent if God gives us a Word to share.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.-2 Corinthians 12:4-11
Different strokes for different folks. God made each of us with distinct gifts. Not every man is not meant to be a preacher. Not every woman is meant to do women’s ministry and teach children. I am not discounting women who are called to women’s ministry and children’s ministry. You all do great work for the Kingdom but not every woman is gifted in that. Respect our talents no matter what our gifts are. There is no male role or female role. God gives each gift from the same source and for the same reason. There are some people in the Church who are not called to certain gifts. Nothing is man-designed but God-ordained.
Christian Men…Not All but Some
A vivid memory I had was in a Sunday school class where the male teacher said “Feminism is a sin. A sin of the world to disrespect men and their authority”
Ummm…excuse me. I bravely took him on. And yup..I got weird looks from our group.
I was raised to respect and be respected. My dad is one of the rare ones. He wanted his daughters to be strong women of God who were smart, well-spoken, educated, and respectful to authority. I never heard my dad say “Women can’t do that. You are better silent. That’s what men do.” My dad was comfortable as a Man of God to value his skills and the skills of his wife to serve in her God-given capacities. The same goes for his son and daughters.
My dad encourages me with these words: “You are a human being and a helper but you are not to be abused and mistreated.”
On the opposite end, I have encountered “Christian men” who are sexists, who believe women should be silent and do as they are told, who feel disrespected when a woman stands up to them, and who twist the Bible to demean and degrade women. There were moments in my life where I did not want to marry Christian men. I did not want to be disrespected a marriage. I even wanted to give up on Church because I did not fit into the archaic sexism.
But I reminded of Galatians 2:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. There is no superior gender but a Superior Savior we all follow. My brother in Christ should respect me as his sister in Christ. Working to be lights in the world and winning others for Christ. There is an equality in the body of Christ even though we are different.
So that is what I do. I respect my brother but I deserve respect too.
My mom, not a women’s ministry-nursery lady, but God has given her the gift of medical knowledge and care to many. Not to be biased (but I am), my mom is a dynamite woman. She is strong, kind, and warm. She is well-spoken and bold. She is also wise and meek. She is a light to all she meets. She is respectful. No sticking it to man but she demands respect.
I can’t fix every Christian man to respect me the way God sees me. There will be men who are archaic, insecure dinosaurs who treat women as second class citizens. And there is some who are my brothers who I work alongside for the Kingdom. It can’t be helped (all are sinners).
But here is some encouragement for both parties:
To my Christian sisters, know who you are and whose you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose. You are not second but first. God has gifted you with talents and abilities for His glory. We don’t all need to be the same. God will call us to be meek or speak but we are not lesser than.
To my Christian brothers, respect us. We are all striving for the same goal: To bring glory and honor to God. Sharpen us, encourage us, challenge us but don’t look down on us. We are His workmanship too.
So that’s all I got.