When Women Speak, Men Ought To Listen

[I am so glad to host Laura Droege. She’s a wonderful writer who touches upon the vulnerabilities of life and the strength of faith, and I practically leapt out of my seat as I finished reading this piece she’s given us today.]

***

The Sunday school hour had just ended, and I sat in the church pew, seething.

After a year-and-a-half of searching, my family has landed in a conservative Presbyterian church. I like it—mostly. No church is perfect. But on this particular Sunday, I was frustrated. It wasn’t what had been said; it was who hadn’t said anything. The women.

The women remained silent. The men carried the entire discussion. With few exceptions, this is the norm for this church.

The night before, I’d been talking to my twelve-year-old daughter. “Do you feel comfortable speaking up in class?” I asked.

“No.”

“Why?”

“The boys might laugh at my opinion. Or interrupt me.”

“Has that happened before?”

“Yes.”

My heart broke. Here’s my child, who has all As, tests well above average, and is considered gifted by teachers and administrators, and she hesitates to speak because a boy might interrupt her. It’s the same treatment I received from my male classmates at a Christian college.

Interrupt.

Roll his eyes.

Use my ideas without acknowledging me, often to the accolades of the professor, who had ignored my previous comment.

As an insecure nineteen-year-old woman, it devasted me to have my thoughts swept aside. As a thirty-seven-year-old woman, still struggling with the fallout of my college years, it angers me.

So after this unsettling conversation with my daughter, the silence of the XX contingent in the room made me angry. But why hadn’t I spoken? It wasn’t fear. Finally, I realized this:

In this class, everything was designed by a man for a man.

Because most of the men in my area are engineers, that means the pattern of a class “discussion” is linear: logical progression from one idea to the next. If I’d taken notes, there would be a lovely, neat outline on my paper.

But my thoughts are not linear. I’m a lateral thinker: free-wheeling, diagonal or upside down, story driven. (I can always think of a novel to go along with any discussion.)

I can follow a linear discussion, but it’s difficult to enter it. From personal experience, I know that my blurted out thoughts tend to be considered incoherent or misunderstood by the engineer types. By the time I gather my thoughts into a form that they’d recognize, the discussion has moved on and my remarks are irrelevant.

(This isn’t to say that the linear/lateral thinking dichotomy firmly corresponds to a male/female gender division. Women can think in linear ways; men can think in lateral ways. But in my community, where most of the men are engineers and the like, this division is typical.)

So despite passionately wanting to share my thoughts, I remained silent, and so did the other women.

If there were women in prominent positions of leadership in this church, I wouldn’t mind quite so much. But the elders and deacons are male.

If there were women participating in leading the service, I wouldn’t mind so much, either. But aside from a woman playing the keyboards and a woman vocalist, the service is conducted by men.

Everything. Call to worship . . . songs . . . responsive reading . . . corporate confession . . . offering plate . . . sermon . . . communion: everything is led by men.

No wonder the women are silent. We don’t hear women’s voices.

No wonder I feel silenced. My way of thinking doesn’t mesh with theirs.

All week, I pondered this. I wrote in my journal. I ranted to my husband. I cried on the phone to my mother for two hours. I got a migraine more than once. I poured over egalitarian blogs. I reread all the pertinent Scriptures. I shook my fist at God.

“So, what do you want?” asked my husband. “This denomination isn’t going to start ordaining women. You’re just not going to see that. So what do you want?”

What did I want? There was no use complaining about a problem unless I had ideas for a solution. If I had to settle for less than my full desire—ordination of called and gifted women for all church offices—what would satisfy me?

“Well,” I began, rummaging through my thoughts, “I’d like women to be visible during the service. Read Scripture or pray or lead the responsive readings. Things like that.”

So now the question was this: Would I be willing to speak, or would I stay quiet, silencing myself more easily than anyone else ever could?

As always, fear crept into my heart. What if I speak and everyone rejects me? What if people misunderstand? What if I stand alone?

Years ago, I spoke up on an issue in a women’s Bible study. I never expected much of a response; I never expected to be attacked by this circle of women, all of whom knew me. But that’s what happened.

There were probably other women who agreed with my position.

There were even more who were uncomfortable with how vicious the attack became.

I was almost in tears. I was speechless, and I was definitely hurt. But other than my mother, no one was willing to stick her neck out, defend me, and risk generating conflict. That’s not what nice southern church women do, or so we’ve been taught.

What if I spoke now and that happened? Could I survive that response?

Yet suppose I stayed silent. I would be allowing my daughters, not just myself, to be silenced, sending the message that their voices aren’t as valid or valuable as men’s. I don’t want them to be forced into the mold of good little Christian girls who don’t stir up controversy, allow others to speak for them, and aren’t willing to stand alone against a tide of evil.

If I wanted them to be that type of Christian, I had a responsibility to model it for them.

If I didn’t speak up now, when the only consequence might be indifference or criticism or social ostracization, what would I do when the stakes were higher? When something else—when my faith in Christ—was challenged?

Would I be afraid and deny the truth? Or would I be afraid and speak the truth, even if it cost me everything?

I spoke.

To be more precise, I completely sabotaged the Sunday school lesson on corporate worship.

The teacher, our associate pastor, asked us to list some of the “distinctive features” of our Presbyterian worship service. The usual ones were trotted out: responsive readings, corporate confession, no altar call. I raised my hand. “This isn’t just this church, but all the conservative churches I’ve been in. It’s male dominated.”

Total silence. This insertion of gender into a church discussion was shockingly unpresbyterian.

I persisted. “Think about it. The singing is led mostly by men. Men pray. Men lead the responsive readings. Men preach. Men serve communion. Men pass the offering. As a woman, I feel like there’s no place for my voice.”

Finally, there was movement. Several men spoke, though I can’t recall all the twists and turns of the conversation that followed. One man, a former pastor in this denomination, responded, “In many metro areas, there are PCA churches where women are filling those roles. Not the ordained offices, but the roles.”

“So why not here?” I countered.

“Good point,” he responded.

Some of the twists were predictable, some not. Predictable: reading Bible verses. Unpredictable: respectful tones, honest questions, and men taking my concerns seriously.

Ironically, only men spoke. The women stayed hush. Besides me, of course. The atmosphere was tense. Among the leaders, there seemed to be dueling desires: discuss my concern and satisfy the tacit concern among the complementarians that the church was remaining firmly Scriptural in its teachings, wasn’t rebelling against denominational regulations, and wasn’t on that slippery slope toward female ordination.

After class, several men came to talk to me: an elder, two deacons, and the former PCA pastor, all leaders in this church and all men I respect. All were in agreement that the Bible doesn’t allow women to be church officers.

But all affirmed, to varying degrees, that women can have roles in church leadership. One said that he’d like to see women leading responsive readings or reading Scripture in the service. As he rightly pointed out, we have women CEOs, doctors, and others who have leadership skills, and pointing them toward nursery duty or casserole baking doesn’t work.

At one point, a deacon said, “I’m glad you brought this up. That took a lot of courage.”

I’m glad you brought this up. That might be one of the best responses I could have asked for: affirmation that my voice, my voice as a woman, matters.

***

71ac72bc4dce29e471f15efe1c931e1eLaura Droege is a wife of a rocket scientist, a mama of two daughters, and a novelist with three manuscripts in search of a good publishing home. She holds a graduate degree in literature and taught English as a second language for four years. Now she stays home with her kids, writes fiction, and blogs at lauradroege.wordpress.com.]

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to When Women Speak, Men Ought To Listen

  1. Erik says:

    Laura, this was a phenomenal glimpse into the minds of so many quite, hushed sisters in Christ! As I read it, I could hear my wife’s thoughts in year’s past, while we both searched for equality.

    When you wrote this: “But all affirmed, to varying degrees, that women can have roles in church leadership. One said that he’d like to see women leading responsive readings or reading Scripture in the service. As he rightly pointed out, we have women CEOs, doctors, and others who have leadership skills, and pointing them toward nursery duty or casserole baking doesn’t work.” I shouted AMEN!! That is the problem that will always remain unsolved. Where is “the church” and why do women transform when “inside” of it?

    Blessings on your journey and may your voice be magnified!!

    • Laura Droege says:

      Erik, thank you for the encouraging words! Good point about where “the church” is. If we think of the church in broader terms than just the church building–simply as the body of Christ, no matter where we physically are–then the question of denying women full equality seems even stranger to me.

  2. Pingback: When Women Speak, Men Ought to Listen (a guest post for Tim Fall’s blog) | Laura Droege's blog

  3. Jeannie says:

    It’s great to see you here, Laura, and your comments are so welcome! I’m glad you had the courage to speak out and that your words were heard and accepted to the degree that they were. The church needs women’s voices, women’s perspectives, women’s full involvement.

    • Laura Droege says:

      I totally agree, Jeannie. The conversation with my particular church is continuing, too. The senior pastor, my husband, and I will be meeting sometime soon to discuss this topic; yesterday, the associate minister, thanked me for bringing the topic up, speaking in class, and expressed a bit of frustration that the other women don’t talk very much. Apparently, this is a topic that is discussed among the leadership, but no one had brought it up publicly before. I’m so glad I did it!

  4. Tim says:

    Laura, I had a conversation just this past weekend with a couple of pastors about opening up to women taking on new duties. They said they are extending the invitation already, and I suggested recruitment in addition to invitation. I was gratified that they were completely open and one started taking down some notes on how he was going to do this. I hope it leads to complete inclusion in the work of the body, although I know these things can take time. Still, it was a step in the right direction.

    Thank you for your example of how to get these conversations going in the church.

    • Laura Droege says:

      That’s wonderful, Tim. Recruitment seems like a good idea. Even with an invitation, many women, myself included, would hesitate to volunteer for a new, “but-it’s-always-done-by-a-man!” duty, either from fear or insecurity. (“What if I can’t do it?” “I’ve never done this before!” “Am I really qualified for that position?”) But leadership (or other members) can sometimes see what our strengths are before we can, and encourage us to push out of our comfort zone. (At least, I see this tendency in myself; other women, particularly women in leadership positions outside the church, may not feel this way.)

      Thanks so much for having me here!

      • Tim says:

        Sometimes it can start with something as simple as, “Oh look, women and men together are passing the offering baskets up and down the aisles. I didn’t know women did that kind of thing.”

        It’s a shocker, I know, but at some churches that would be a positively revolutionary development.

        • Laura Droege says:

          I’ve never understood a men-only policy for taking up the offering. It doesn’t involve speaking or leadership, only responsibility: putting the money somewhere safe, usually under the supervision of a deacon. If you’ll grant women the task of being responsible for infants and young children, surely you can allow them to handle money!

        • Tim says:

          Exactly, Laura. And when it comes to opening these ministries up, it takes more than a bulletin announcement saying the church is looking for more ushers. If the only people who have ever been seen doing it are men, then there’s no reason for anyone to think that women are invited to take part. That’s why I think active recruitment is essential to change these things.

  5. Pastor Bob says:

    Right after the “R” word I stand so strongly on (and I mean VERY strongly upon!!) – I stress in an important word, starts with ‘B’ – Balance. On the one hand we see some clear scriptural statements on the roles of men and women. Some of these are cultural, some are locked in time and space, some are clearly misunderstood, and some leave room for discussion. Watch the fireworks erupt when these roles are discussed! Polarization is so apparent, and so painful. I hurts me to hear the words (or see the typed words) that border on bitter opinions!

    From a counseling session: She wants the man to support, help with the children, do some housework. She wants to have the freedom to have all the trappings of a nice lifestyle, and he needs to work more hours to support this, and STILL meet the needs identified above.

    He wants to spend more time with the children, do more housework and spend time with her. (House work was his ‘therapy!’) He removed her from his credit cards, cut off much of her spending, but still there is a surprise.

    This impasse is an allegorical representation of the conflict of the biblical roles we (heatedly) discuss. NOTE: the issue is NOT he/she does, it is deeper – what the expectations are without listening! Balance is lacking – parental role models are pushed, historical models (which lack biblical basis) are thrust on us, new ideas that are forced with non-biblical ideas of “fairness” are pushed with equal vengeance – we ponder, try and turn down the volume, consider each piece, take time to pray, but the voices press louder and louder and then finally………..

    Balance, each family has its unique methodologies, each church family has its uniqueness. Some procedure/polices/traditions are biblical in basis, some not. Of those that are biblical, some good, some not. Some that are biblical are not understood correctly. Change may not occur, or handled improperly. What to do, —- pray and wait for God to tell you – He WILL.

    I encourage all to pick the battle carefully. In this writer’s case she waited for the right time and handled it beautifully with grace and dignity. I trust she will have sought God fro further direction. never one to tell someone what to do in a case like this, I recognize the ultimate decision is to vote with the feet, for there are many Christ centered churches to attend and support.

    Can we seek the balance? Can we handle this calmly? It look like one person has addressed this as Jesus would.

    p.s. — the “R” word is respect.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Thanks for weighing in, Pastor Bob. I appreciate your words. Respect and balance are both needed in relationships, and I’ve seen what happens in a church when both are lost. It’s not pretty, and many people are devastated.

      I have been praying about what to do next. As I told Jeannie above, the senior minister, my husband, and I are going to meet to discuss the issue. The associate minister, though he’d probably disagree with my egalitarian stance, has encouraged me to keep speaking up in class, asking questions, and shown a desire for women to A) speak in Sunday school more often, and B) be involved in non-officer roles in church. Apparently, this is a topic that has been much discussed among the leadership but not in public . . . until I opened my mouth.

      As you can tell, this is an issue that I feel is important, so I want to be careful about how I approach the topic within the church. I don’t want this to be an issue that divides this church body, and I think there are definite solutions that can happen, prayerfully and gradually. I’ve been through 3 church splits, so I hate to see Christians behaving badly. It can be such a turnoff to Christianity.

      Of those issues where my church and I disagree, some aren’t as important to me. There’s no sense kicking up a fuss about those. Pick your battles wisely, as you say.

      • pastor Bob says:

        I see balance and wisdom in your approach(es). Each church handles these matters differently. To add a bit of muddle to this – many of the divergent approaches do have some biblical basis.

        Wisdom and discernment – the gift (and responsibility) of the mature in Christ.
        Can we “Blessed headache?”

    • KR Wordgazer says:

      I’m not seeing a lot of respect for the wife in the scenario you’re describing here, pastor– and wondering why you’re sharing this couple’s personal “dirty linen” in public, even without mentioning names. Personally, I think you should delete the couple’s personal story. Just sayin’.

  6. 2samuel127 says:

    Thanks for sharing your feelings Laura, and kudos for speaking up in your church. I am reading a book this week that deals with this exact subject. I think you would find it of interest:

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13332511-the-resignation-of-eve

    • Laura Droege says:

      I’ve heard of this title, but I’ve never read it. Thanks for the recommendation. I’m adding it to my “to-read” list (which is lengthy and growing longer! 🙂 ) Thank you for reading my story. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how the church has responded to my concerns.

  7. fluffybabybunnyrabbit says:

    “There was no use complaining about a problem unless I had ideas for a solution.” – you know, I always used to think this too. But I’ve changed my mind. The lack of a solution should not be an impediment to raising an issue of injustice. Especially in the Church where we should be working through such issues together. It’s OK to say “I don’t have the solution but perhaps you can help me”. Imagine if the suffragettes had known what they (and their successors) would have to go through as part of a ‘solution’? They didn’t all have ‘the’ solution, some probably didn’t have any idea how to achieve their goals. But I’m glad they tried anyway. Keep trying, even if you don’t know what the ‘solution’ is. Some one will. Others will reject it regardless of how much sense it makes.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Hi, Bunny (I hope it’s okay to give you a nickname!) Thanks for sharing this. I can see your perspective, and I agree to a certain extent. Not having a solution is no excuse for not protesting injustice! All too often, I’ve witnessed Christians (and other groups) look at big problems, not know a solution, and throw up their hands, saying, “I can’t figure out what to do, so I’d better not do anything at all. I don’t want to make things worse!” That’s not good.

      Here’s why I made that statement in the post:

      In my demographic, most of the people are engineer-types, and they like concrete solutions, and a solid path for getting from point A to point B; they’re problem-solvers by nature, so if presented with a problem, they immediately decide to figure out a solution (preferably one involving equations or technical gadgets or apps!) I was certain that if I raised objections, I would be asked, “So what’s your solution?” If I didn’t have thoughts about solutions, then I might have been more easily dismissed by the very people I wanted to influence. So I wanted to be prepared for that question and more.

      So while I can see (and agree, to an extent) with your point, for this particular church, in this particular area, it was better for me to dream up some solutions and/or ideas. 🙂

      • fluffybabybunnyrabbit says:

        Fair enough!

      • But I think Bunny makes a good point. They”re the engineers, why not ask them what they think would be fair. How would they live out “treat others as you’d like to be treated” given the situation? I think it’s ok to say, “I see a problem, and you all have pretty much limited my access to the channels that would allow me to solve it. So what do you suggest?”

        • Laura Droege says:

          Thanks for weighing in, Keri. At that particular point in time, I didn’t know that anyone at the church even saw the problem, so I didn’t think they would be receptive to hearing a question such as you suggested or even care about solving it, once it was presented to them. So while I can see the value of asking how they would solve the issue (and may try that in the future), I’ve received the brush-off from the engineer-types often enough that I did feel that I had to come up with some ideas before launching into “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” (There’s a whole history of my past negative experiences at various churches in my area behind this, too, so it’s even more complicated than I can adequately or wisely explain online.)

  8. Laura, I found your journey through this dilemma both inspiring and heartbreaking. Inspiring because of your bravery in speaking up, taking the risks which are very real, and yet having the courage to move out of the silence whatever the consequences.

    I found it heartbreaking that we are still seemingly stuck having to deal with such basics when the next generation are growing up around us observing and absorbing the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) mixed messages the Body of Christ is giving them on gender issues.

    I don’t want to see any more generations of silenced women. Those coming generations are among us now in our daughters and grand daughters. I have raised two daughters and have watched them battle with this issue, and now have a grand daughter in her late teens. I want freedom for my grand daughter and her grand daughters. I want them not to have to know this battle. I want them not to be afraid to use their voices.

    I recently wrote an article called When Generations of Silent Women Speak here:
    http://ishshahsstory.com/2015/01/30/when-generations-of-silent-women-speak/ which says much more than I can share here. When voices are silenced, whether it be due to gender, race, disability or any other characteristic, people are disempowered. Voices are intrinsically powerful. No-one should be denied the right to use them, and no one should be taught, directly or indirectly, that their voices don’t matter.

    Thankyou for breaking the silence, even if only in your own little corner. Every unsilenced voice brings us all, men and women both, closer to the freedom for which Christ has set us all free.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Thank you for sharing, Cheryl. As you noted, those mixed messages that women receive are confusing. On the one hand, I had a mother who wasn’t afraid to speak up, fought for equality at the Christian college (the same one I attended, though the school had become more conservative on social issues in the 20+ years between us), and tried to teach me to do the same. On the other hand, I got the messages from my churches/Christian college that I talked about in the blog post; somehow, their impact stifled even my mother’s best efforts. I think I lost my voice because all of us was at a crucial, vulnerable point in my life (ages 18-22, when I wrestled with both an eating disorder and bipolar disorder). So based on my experience, I worry the most about the girls and young women at those transitional points: adolescence and college. (Not that the rest of us don’t need encouragement, too.)

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your article with us. I’m bookmarking it! You’ve given me some ideas. 🙂

  9. Bronwyn Lea says:

    Laura! Hooray YOU!!!!! I am so dang proud of you for raising your voice! It matters and the church (universal, but particularly YOUR church) is SO MUCH THE RICHER FOR IT! Cheering for you from afar. For sure!

    • Laura Droege says:

      Bronwyn, thanks for cheering! I’ve been so encouraged by the response so far. I hope that we’ll be continuing this conversation as a church body. Our large group Sunday school is about to break into two sections: young marrieds and general adults (that’s me). I may not have a lot of women to encourage, but I know I’ll have lots and lots of older men, including a lot of ones with clout, as an “audience.” (Not that I’m going to be teaching or anything. . . )

    • amen to that! so glad you did. it makes me sad that the other women said nothing. Unfortunately, so many have absorbed the lie that their opinion doesn’t matter, or that leading is best left to men. I’ve even had women tell me that when you let women lead, there’s gossip and backbiting. If the women say this, good grief. I think it’s a smoke screen that women use so that they don’t have to step up and use their gifts. (Not to put too fine a point on it. I’d probably last about five seconds in your church but I totally admire you for trying to change things there. And yes, you totally need to read The Resignation of Eve.

      • Laura Droege says:

        “I’ve even had women tell me that when you let women lead, there’s gossip and backbiting.”
        How odd. I’ve been in many complementarian churches over the years, and there’s always some gossip, etc., amongst the women; it seems WORSE, though, when the women are supposedly “submitting” to their husbands and the husbands are supposedly the head of the household and all that. But I’ve also noticed that one can sense the emotional health of a church by observing how the women treat each other. If they mostly get along and love one another, then everything’s great. If not, then the church is in trouble.

        In this particular Sunday school class and at this particular church, I think the issue of why-the-women-don’t-speak is a mix of things. It’s a small church, so there are fewer women overall. Many of the more vocal women teach children or work nursery, so they aren’t in the adult class. So the ones who are left tend to be more reserved and older, and many older Southern-raised women in my area don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of groups of people of either gender. It’s not “proper”. (To which I say: phooey. I was born and raised in Alabama and Georgia, and I’ve never figured out all this traditional southern etiquette!)

  10. dpersson7 says:

    Great job, Laura. I find it easy to speak up with things I agree with, and easier to stay silent on issues I don’t agree with. Thank you for setting a good example and overcoming your fears to say something. A change in thinking is what usually leads to a change in practice; so who knows? This may be the catalyst that brings about change in your church. If nothing else you set a good example for your daughter! I can tell you from experience that what we model for our children will have a ripple effect on the Christian community. They are the people that we can have the biggest influence over, and while we may not enjoy the benefits of our efforts, they probably will. I have observed it in my kids.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Thanks for coming over and commenting. I’m with you: it’s so much easier to stay silent when I don’t agree with something. (Although I will say that I usually stay quiet on certain topics out of prudence; I don’t want to start an argument on every theological point where we see differently.)

      I hope this does set a good example for my daughters. I’ve tried to raise them to be unafraid of being different. They don’t have to be interested in traditional “female” interests or clothing or jobs or whatever, just in whatever God gave them an interest in. Thanks for the encouragement to keep going. I appreciate it.

  11. gerritsmom says:

    Can we just have coffee???? You helped solidify some things that have been rolling around in my head for a long time. I KNOW that I am called to teach and shepherd women first and foremost, because God has made that abundantly clear. BUT, I don’t want to feel that if men are present, I am disqualified from teaching in that venue. I’m increasingly frustrated because my gifts are not being used in my church….my church that I love! I am hugely supported by the leadership in ministry outside, but don’t feel supported to minister inside! Sigh…… Gonna need to ponder this some more……

    • Laura Droege says:

      Oh, wow, that’s a difficult situation: supported in ministry outside the church but not inside. What you said about not wanting to feel disqualified from teaching when men are present reminded me of someone (I think it was Kay Arthur, the precept leader) saying that she was called to teach. That was her primary gift, one that God had given to her, and if she was to be obedient to him, then she had to use her gift and teach. If men chose to show up and listen to her teaching, then that was fine with her. If they felt compelled to stay away because she was a woman, well, that was their problem and between them and God. Either way, she was going to teach God’s word! Your words brought that story to mind.

      Have you spoken to your church leaders about your feelings? Maybe if they heard your passion to teach, regardless of the audience’s gender, they might be willing to work with you. I don’t know. Keep going, sister, keep being faithful to what God has called you to do. 🙂

  12. This is extremely encouraging. I often feel as scared and angry and silenced as you do. But my church just ordained their first female pastor, something they would never have done 5 years ago, and I’m gaining more courage. I pray your church makes headway in hearing and seeing women!

    • Laura Droege says:

      Wow, that’s awesome that they’ve ordained a female. I’m glad to hear that one of my sisters in Christ gets to use her God-given gifts! I’m excited for her and your church. Thanks for sharing, Liz!

  13. Rebecca says:

    Good grief. If women at our church didn’t step up into leadership positions, a lot of stuff wouldn’t get done! I’ve served as lay leader, Sunday School teacher (adult and tweens), Treasurer and Financial Secretary. Good for you, Laura. That took GUTS.

    • Laura Droege says:

      You’ve been a hard worker at your church, Rebecca! I’m impressed at your guts: teaching tweens isn’t for the faint of heart. (I have a tween. I couldn’t handle teaching other tweens at church, too. 🙂 ) Thanks for commenting.

  14. Lesley says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and appreciate your courage so much. We are finally attending a church where women are given a voice. Last weekend, while a woman was teaching in the service, I was leading an activity for the preschoolers. I had four males assisting me that morning, two of which are in high leadership positions at the Christian college in our town. I couldn’t stop grinning. It was a beautiful image of the body of Christ. Rare, this I know, but incredibly encouraging. Keep speaking up! I will too!

    • Tim says:

      What a great way to do ministry

    • Laura Droege says:

      Lesley, that is so encouraging! I really, really like it when men work with little ones; my husband does nursery care at our current church, we taught four-year-olds as an engaged couple, and my father always assisted my mother in teaching preschool Sunday school, so it seems natural to me. I’ve never understood why some male leaders think that isn’t as significant as teaching adults! Thank you for sharing.

  15. Shalini says:

    Laura, your courage is inspiring! I am from India, which has a male-dominated culture, so it came as a surprise to me that the kind of things you mentioned here happen even in churches in the West. I believe with all my heart that women are called to lead in all kinds of ministry positions and it is so thrilling to read accounts of women leaders like Deborah, who were probably counter-culture in every way! The senior pastor at a church I used to attend was a woman (she became the senior pastor after her husband suddenly passed away. She is an ordained minister.) I consider her one of the most intelligent and committed women leaders I know. But I can’t help noticing that she is not taken as seriously by other men pastors on the staff as they did her husband. Which is really sad, because she is a gifted leader in her own right. Also, while we have women pastors in several denominations back home – as well as women evangelists, women who direct plays during Christmas and Easter programs, women worship leaders, women bible teachers, women guest speakers who preach in church in regular Sunday services, when it comes to serving at the table, one sees only men. Wonder why. Surely serving communion is not a men-only privilege. Anyway, hats off to you in doing what you are doing! May the Lord guide your every step in the days ahead!

    • Laura Droege says:

      Shalini, thank you for sharing. I don’t understand why serving communion would be a male-only privilege; it’s that same way at every church I’ve attended, and it baffles me. We’re all equal in the eyes of God, and we all partake of the elements as people who have been redeemed by the blood and body of Christ. No group of people is “more saved” by Christ’s redemptive work than any other group; we either are in Christ or we are not in Christ.

      Thank you for the encouraging words.

  16. Sarah says:

    I’m now (finally) at a church where women are frequently lay-readers for the Epistle reading. It’s small, but it actually says a lot. It is something to hear women’s voices in the worship service.

    My pastors have also, from the pulpit and in Sunday school, mentioned my training in Biblical languages and stated they would defer to my understanding in that area if I thought differently than them. That has meant the world to me in terms of feeling welcome in that community. My intellectual gifts and interests are not only tolerated, but encouraged and considered valuable by my church.

    • Laura Droege says:

      Sarah, that is awesome. I am so happy that your unique gifts are encouraged and valued at your church, and I pray that they continue to be. God has gifted you with understanding those languages and enabled you to study them well; Christ is glorified when you use your intellect for his glory. I wish every church family were like this! Thank you for sharing.

  17. I appreciate the steps your church is taking, but for myself, I just couldn’t bear the whole “roles” thing anymore. I now go to a church where women can be pastors, and husband don’t consider themselves to be in authority over their wives.

Talk to me (or don't)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s