Okay, I stole that title from a post that I reference below! I thought it would get your attention. Did it work? Recently, several posts I’ve read by other bloggers have got me thinking and I enjoyed spring-boarding from their thoughts.
The author of this post has restrictive views on the role of women, but I agree with some points she made. At a recent women’s group, many thought that women should have full freedom to serve in the church. Yet when she asked them for biblical reasoning for their view, they had none to share. None. They were completely unable to interact with the Scriptures. This is a problem!
She goes on to say: “The dangers of female leadership are countless, as are the dangers for males, and as of right now I am not sure women are ready to humbly and meekly lead without having anything to prove.” – I agree with this statement. Although I believe women should have full freedom to serve in the church, I think many women are not ready. We should not be seeking to put women in leadership just for the sake of it or to prove ourselves. Leadership is a serious responsibility that should not be taken lightly.
Don’t misunderstand the title of this post: Why do female preachers suck? as the author is egalitarian! Until recently, the author “hadn’t come across any female preaching that was especially good. It was either too (for lack of better phrases) stereotypically ”girly”–hyper-sentimental, over-emotional, etc.–or stereotypically “manly”, where the woman treated it more like a college lecture and seemed to be trying a little too hard to validate her right to be behind that pulpit. I never heard a distinctly “feminine” sermon delivered by a woman that felt like it truly carried with it the authority and strength I thought that the feminine side of the Divine Image would.”
– Keep reading the post and he shares how he was exposed to a gifted female preacher that was neither “girly” or “manly” but simply expressed the feminine side of the Divine image. That’s what this is ultimately all about…
Men and women together reflect the image of God. Not just men and not just women. Both are needed in order for us to get a true image of our Creator. We each bring something different to the table. I think a mixture of men and women together in church leadership is the ideal. How can a church properly reflect God, when women are so restricted? (And of course, the same goes if you replace the word women with men in that sentence.) This isn’t about women taking over!
But, why do female preachers suck? (This isn’t completely true as there are very gifted females out there!) But there is truth in it. There seems to be a lack of women who can preach/teach/write for a mixed sex audience. Is it because women are incapable? Is it because women are nothing but emotional twits? Of course not! But what’s going on? Some brief analysis:
- There are a number of problems with the traditional paradigm for women’s ministry at local churches and within the evangelical subculture. One problem is that so much has focused on the role of women as wife or mother. This encourages women to find their identity in their spouse or children, rather than in Christ. Instead of being encouraged to look to Christ and grow in their knowledge of God and his Word, everything is through the lens of being a wife or mom. This is not the full gospel, and creates narrow or truncated vision. This has wide and rippling effects! Women can get stuck in this paradigm, unable to even see beyond it. Or when a Christian woman writes a blog, book, or is given opportunity to preach – it does not appeal to the body of Christ as a whole (ie: women and men) but only to women because it is through the narrow lens of being a wife, mother, or is otherwise distinctly “girly.” Instead of expressing God’s truths as a female, they can only discuss distinctly female issues. I hope you see the critical difference there.
- We’ve been living in an echo chamber for hundreds of years with men holding the positions of leadership in the church. Women, for the most part, have not been encouraged to step out and try serving more broadly. We need a season of encouraging women and resourcing them to hone their gifts. Positively, I do think we are entering such a season. Yet, this season will be awkward and have some tension. We will encounter female leaders and preachers that are not up to standard. This should not reinforce unfair stereotypes about women. When you begin to give a group of people opportunities that they have formerly lacked, it will naturally take time for them to come up to standard, and some may need to be weeded out who seek leadership for the wrong reasons. When we give people opportunity to try new areas of service…it either: 1) reveals that the person has a gift that needs development or 2) reveals that the person does not have the gift and should try something else. As we open up the doors for women, it will reveal some “have it” and others do not. (Just like for men!)
- Women are often accused of lacking theological depth and a knowledge of the Scriptures that is sufficient for leadership, and unfortunately this is sometimes true. Yet, women who seek to go deeper, whether through personal study or through official channels such as enrolling in seminary, often face a tough and lonely road. They are usually not encouraged. They are patronized. At worse, they face very real prejudice and discrimination. Isn’t their something ______ about this?? (I can’t think of the right word!) Think about it: Women are accused of lacking theological and biblical understanding, yet are discouraged and patronized when they try to go deeper! Talk about being between a rock and a hard place!
Finally, it seems we need a whole new narrative!:
“You know, we need a new narrative. We didn’t come to seminary because we are women any more than men came because they are men. We came because we were, we are, passionate about something, gifted at something, because we have loved the Lord and been compelled by that relationship to enter into the shepherding ranks of the church. We are more than ‘women in ministry,’ if only they would let us be, and if only we would set new terms for the conversation and for our presence.”
Thanks for letting me share. Any and all thoughts are welcome.