Awhile back I had a post entitled “Be a woman of depth who leads the way.” In it, I shared my frustration with Christian women’s things…because they tend to be: devotional or “light” in nature, emotional/relational, or focused entirely on a women’s “role” as wife, mother or housewife. None of these things are bad, but women are more than this… and need more than this as well. In my post, I reference an article written by Lisa Robinson entitled “Why I think women need to study theology.” She also shares her frustrations with women’s ministry, and I appreciate her emphasis that precisely because women are more emotionally/relationally geared is why they need more objective teaching.
Recently there seems to be a number of other women speaking up in the blogosphere. Perhaps this can help turn the tide and push women’s ministry in a needed new direction.
Here is one such post: Why women don’t like women’s ministry. [Link no longer valid.] It is not that women’s ministry is all wrong, but that something is missing. The author highlights 3 things that need to be recognized in ministering to women. One is that we need to get better at focusing on general needs, instead of specific ones. Not all women are married with preschoolers. Not all women are going through menopause. Not all women are in college. We alienate many women when we gear our ministry towards a specific life stage. (Can’t we just come together as women and rest in our identity in Christ…instead of in our role or life stage?) I also appreciate her point that the women’s ministry shouldn’t be a rogue renegade in the church but should line up with the mission, vision, and values of the church. (Yes, it often seems like women ministries just do their own thing.)
Here is another post: Why traditional women’s ministry is facing a PR problem. This article contains some thoughtful analysis and offers some solutions. I particularly liked the suggestion to “diversify your program and focus on fostering authenticity” by offering classes that appeal to women other than SAHMs and empty-nesters. There are four great examples of classes that could be offered, and I love the idea to recast the vision and see women as strong, confident, defenders of the Gospel.
[On that note, there is always a risk of causing offense when speaking out on this issue. Some may see such concerns as condescending towards women. That’s not it at all. We are simply concerned that the traditional paradigm has not encouraged women to go deeper and serve in broader ways. Women are indeed strong and capable, yet too many women have failed to see their full potential for God’s kingdom because the status quo has limited their perspective.]
And, wow, check out this article: Why we don’t need women’s ministry. Please stop treating women’s ministry like a safe club for the little ladies to play church!
“…Is womanhood only about wifehood and motherhood? What about those among us that are not wives and mothers? We’re not all in the same season of life. We are – or should be – diverse image bearers of a Divine God. We need Jesus. We are seeking deep spirituality. We are seeking fellow travelers. We are hungry for true community, a place to tell our stories and listen to another, to love well. But above all, point me to Jesus–not to the sale at the mall.”
Finally, I recently discovered a blog called “Housewife Theologian.” Yes, this blogger is a traditional housewife and mom, but she is trying to take women deeper in the faith. Her blog actually is not a “Christian women’s blog” per se – but just a blog on theology and she happens to be female. We need to see more of this from women!
I mostly read blogs/books written by men because they tend to be general about theology and the Christian life (and not exclusively through the lens of fatherhood, being a husband, or masculinity) – and therefore applicable to everyone. Why is it that so few women are capable of this? Our identity should be in Christ and should flow from the Gospel. But it seems that for too many women, their identity is in their role and flows from their life status. Don’t misunderstand – there is a time and place to discuss roles. But too much women’s material is anchored only in roles or distinctly feminine issues.
Are you aware of other women speaking out with their concerns with women ministry? Please let me know.
UPDATE: I just found this blog called “The Ruthless Monk” by a woman working on a Masters of Philosophical Studies at Liberty University. Check out this post: Where Is the Voice of the Evangelical Academic Woman?. The comments that follow are worthwhile too! [Link no longer valid.]