I don’t know whether I am helping or hurting my theological stance, but I was sent a link to the conference named below this past week. I at least appreciate the graphic with a man bowed in prayer. The difficult thing is that the posturing I have personally seen, read or know by reputation of the majority of these men is anything but quiet, humble and prayerful. It has been brash, misogynistic and couched in scripture being wielded like a club. It is not just my being female and my gut reaction of feeling the need to defend women that makes me respond with such angst. It is my being Christian and a deep concern for men and women, boys and girls. For the church and those who need years of therapy after being abused emotionally and spiritually. I have written in several spaces on this blog about another organization that speaks strongly and regularly in favor of strengthening our young men so this is not an anti-male kind of thing either. (BTW- for the reminder, check out The Heroic Quest for Boys!)
Being treated as “less than” seems to come in waves in my life. I am currently drowning from the waves that keep coming. I have learned to let them wash over me knowing that isn’t God’s truth but…it is exhausting being told verbally and through body language or simply by being cut off in a theological conversation that I am not welcome. I hear from young women, some I know others I do not, weekly telling stories of their own struggles and wishing that this conversation would stop! That this were no longer an issue IF women should be at the table but that we are and that is God’s intent. That we have something to contribute and it pushes way beyond decorating or volunteering in the nursery (both of which are fine…just not the only options).
I have all kinds of gut reactions to this PR piece. I have all kinds of questions given you have to sign up for updates at all and there is very little information beyond who is featured. Certain lines can be drawn based on their leadership and roles within the Acts 29 Network and statements in their own contexts. I am curious what others “see” in this and what you might “hear”?
I also imagine what a similar conference might hold were it titled Act Like Women. Talks on how to lead, to share the gospel, to live radically for Christ, to fight for justice, to speak out for the voiceless, to offer care and nurture, to proclaim the gospel, to study scripture, to develop networks for marketplace ministry, to be a woman of valor, to adopt children in need, to be the “help mate”- the strong partner God intended, to be thoughtful in all household and family decisions, to write, speak, sing and stand beside other men and women knowing that acting like a woman means that we show the world a glimpse of the image of God. Even more importantly for me at this point in life, that we should young women and small girls (mine included) that acting like a woman is much more about who God created us to be in partnership (ministerially speaking as well as sexually speaking) with really great men also created to be in partnership with us.