I’m a Christian woman, yet I tend to avoid anything labeled “women’s _______” within the church or realm of Christianity. I always risk being misunderstood when I express myself on this issue. But I find that women’s things (whether it be books, discussions, blogs, events, Bible studies, etc) tend to be: devotional or “light” in nature, emotional/relational, or focused entirely on a women’s “role” as wife/mother/housewife.
Yes, there are exceptions! And none of the above things are bad…We all need devotional thoughts sometimes. But not all the time! We are not going to make much spiritual progress without deeper and more challenging teaching too. And what about women who are not wives, mothers or housewives?? Not all women are you know! But more importantly, women are more than their “role” in life. There is danger in defining yourself solely by your role. Women need to be more deeply grounded in the Word and theology, and rest in their identity in Christ.
I know I am not the only woman who feels this way. I appreciated this post over on the Parchment and Pen blog entitled “Why I think women need to study theology.” Thanks to the author Lisa Robinson for sharing her thoughts. I appreciate her point that precisely because women tend to be more emotionally or relationally geared is why they need more objective teaching. “Instruction in theology proper will force an objectivity that I think might not otherwise be present, as Christian women strive to grow in their Christian walk.”
Recently I posted a note on a Christian blog site that I was looking for blogs with more depth and substance by Christian women. Unfortunately, the only responses I got referred me to light, devotional sites. Sigh. (Even sadder to me, was that the referrers thought these sites had depth!) Okay…sorry…I don’t want to get too negative!
I am ending this post on a positive note! Recently I have discovered several blogs/web sites by Christian women that do have more biblical and theological depth and substance. Here they are:
- New Life, by Marg Mowczko. This isn’t a blog exactly, but a web site where Marg posts articles and Bible study notes. She writes on gender equality issues frequently, but there are articles on a variety of other biblical and theological issues as well.
- Practical Theology for Women, by Wendy Alsup. I remember when I first found her blog, because the post was “The Terrible Sin of Eisigesis.” I remember being so excited (haha) to see a post of this nature on biblical interpretation. But don’t worry, Wendy is very down to earth and blogs on a variety of Christian issues.
- Tapestry, a Christian Women’s Collective, is a blog with many featured female writers and thinkers who have come together to engage culture from a biblical worldview. (It is a part of bible.org).
- Finally, while this is not a blog, I really appreciate Susan’s Book Group. Susan has lead the women at her church through reading many books of depth and substance, by authors such as R C Sproul, C J Mahaney, Randy Alcorn, John Piper, John Bunyan, C S Lewis and dozens more solid, biblical writers. She shares the discussion questions she used for the book discussions.
I hope these web sites might be an example and encouragement to women that it is possible to take women deeper into spiritual things. We need more women to lead the way.
I generally find women’s Bible study material to be rather weak theologically, if not outright shallow. However, my experience has been that men aren’t comfortable, if not outright hostile, toward women who try to participate in their heavier studies and discussions. And so many men and women want lighter material anyway. So there’s not very many options.
I relate! So many (male or female) seem to want lighter material. Christianity (in the US) seems a mile wide but only an inch deep. I’ve had similar experiences with men…they were either uncomfortable or patronizing to a woman participating in heavy discussion. My seminary experience has been positive though – the men see the female students as equals. I’m so thankful for that.
I relate to the limited options…I sometimes feel very isolated without anyone local for deeper study and discussion. I guess all we can do is encourage people to go deeper. And try to clear up misconceptions. Too many see theology as not practical, and it can unfortunately be presented in a disconnected from real-life way. But theology does relate to life, and it can be presented in a relevant way. What you believe affects how you live.
Thanks for your comments Jenny.
Sarah Brendemuehl Flashing said:
I couldn’t agree more, Jenny! That’s why I just stopped reading books written by women and immersed myself in theology. Now there are a few good women writers, one is Elyse Fitzpatrick. And I’m working on my first book right now, Putting On the New Self: Ethics & the Christian Life. This book is geared to women, so I can’t wait to get it done!
I can totally relate to the frustration you feel, but it has been so encouraging to me this year to see more biblically based books being published by women. I don’t read many woman authors either because I like to read theological books. But I am happy to see serious publications like Modern Reformation Magazine addressing the issue of women getting the short end of the theological stick.
Thanks housewifetheologian! I appreciate the encouragement. I’m also glad I discovered your blog. Hope some others might check it out too. I’m a seminary student and I have taken classes with several stay-at-home moms working on a seminary degree. Definitely not “who” people tend to think of when it comes to a seminary degree.
Breath of fresh air. All “women” meetings I have attended focus of women in their roles as wife, mothers, homemakers, or would-be all of these earlier mentioned. I have always avoided these meetings, and I can’t explain to our leaders that they should keep our meetings Christ centred, because He is our source. Our identity, not our kids, husbands or society. Thank you for this post, now i don’t feel weird anymore.
Thanks! I’d forgotten about this old post, and good to know it was encouraging to you. I seem to come in contact online with many women who are similarly frustrated with women’s ministry, but not so many in real local life. Many seem content with the status quo, and it hard to know how to rouse them.
Recently, a woman asked our pastor is a woman may be called to any of the ministry offices in Ephesians 4:11; her question was brushed aside and was not even answered. Your post gave me the courage to tell her “we are all called to be like Christ” and NT ministry offices were not gender based. Before I read your post, I would have kept quiet and felt “well, who am I to think differently?” Thanks once again.