Can we change their minds?

We’ll close this week with three publications I want to tell you about. This is what people are reading and what forms their opinions. 

The first is a condensed story under the section Good Reads in the October 2012 Good Housekeeping Magazine, which has a circulation of 24 million readers. The story is titled Does this church make me look fat?

“The issue of women in church leadership had long been a tender spot for me. It was one of the issues that had propelled me away from my church of origin 30 years earlier. In the early 1980s, the American Mennonites were engaging the issue, but their pace was much too slow for me,” so says Rhoda Janzen.  Then Rhoda met a Christian man who she is going to marry.  He gave her a GiftQuest questionnaire to determine her spiritual gifts.  In it she had a “near-total absence of the gift of Prophecy, or Perception.” She had expected at least a 91% inclination for her profession of choice.  She goes on to ask “Did God want me to use my gifts in the church body? If so, I was pretty sure the Pentecostals wouldn’t want to learn what I had to teach.” (I have no idea what she is talking about as the story does not indicate). Then her fiancé asked her a question that changed everything: “Honey, what if God ain’t callin’ you to teach in the church? What if He’s calling you to learn?” “I had been so focused on thinking of what gift I could give the people of my church that I had lost sight of the gift God was giving me….God was giving me a chance to shut up and learn.” 

A chance to shut up and learn?  What kind of a chance is that? Women have always had that.

The pastor of BBC (Big Baptist Church) pulled out an old joke he had previously put in the local newspaper and recycled it.  Men vs Women he called it.  “..men who kiss their wives goodbye in the morning earn higher salaries than men who don’t. One economist concluded ‘Women would be better off staying at home and kissing their husbands goodbye.’ Life isn’t always fair, but at least Maytag and Dyson (vacuum cleaner maker) have made it easier.”

In The Favored Daughter, (One woman’s fight to lead Afghanistan into the future) “When I arrived, the community leaders I was working with barely spoke to me. These were conservative men who had been Taliban supporters. In a few short months they’d gone from Taliban rule to the indignity of a woman turning up and telling them what to do. Gradually I won them over and after a few days we were all cooperating as if we’d always worked together. ..I truly believe that people change their opinions only from first-hand experience. And opinions on gender can and do change, even among the most conservative men.”

We’re still waiting! We are still waiting for our most conservative men to change their opinions.  As the pastor of the joke article Men vs Women said, “We don’t keep  our women silent. We allow women to teach Sunday school classes.”

Will you help them change their minds and allow women the chance to teach inside the sanctuary, instead of being holed up in a Sunday school classroom, or shutting up altogether in order to learn?

Advertisements

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Can we change their minds?

  1. Temperance says:

    Unfortunately there are many Christian publications out there that make reference that women should “shut up and——” and fill in the blank with something. There are times we should all pause to listen to what others have to say, but that is not gender specific. They sure don’t want to listen to any viewpoint other than their own. They only let a woman teach if she is saying what they want her to say. The majority of them don’t want to change their minds. They are getting too much payoff keeping the status quo. For others, it may take something major to see that their heroes are fallen people and can be wrong about what they teach.

    Like

    • Women must see for themselves that they are being denied equality. How do we get through to women?

      > Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2012 14:27:14 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >

      Like

      • krwordgazer says:

        First they must see that there’s nothing wrong with desiring full equality. Women get told that if they seek to do anything they are currently excluded from, they are being selfish and “demanding rights.” They need to learn to see that this isn’t about demanding rights– it’s about letting God be God, able to make women any way God wants them to be– including leaders of many.

        Like

      • Temperance says:

        I agree with KR. From my own experience, I had to lose the fear of being out of God’s will or worse losing my salvation altogether. That’s a hard thing to overcome without some sort of emotional support and much soul- searching.

        Like

      • What a sad thing to think that we can lose our salvation because we are women. Can men lose their salvation because they are men? The answer to that is no.

        > Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2012 14:42:06 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >

        Like

  2. Mabel says:

    Temperance, U have hit the nail right on the center of the head with this: The majority of them don’t want to change their minds. They are getting too much payoff keeping the status quo.
    I know of seminary professors who suffered greatly from men who have overtaken the Evangelical World, since Wayne Grudem and John Piper started the Council on (non)Biblical Manhood and Womanhood:
    Ruth Tucker: fired under false pretenses. She had enough documentation to prove that the seminary had lied. They agreed on a settlement only if she pledged silence.
    William Webb, author or Slaves, Women and Homosexuals, removed from the tenure track because he is an egalitarian.
    Sherry Klouda: fired as Hebrews professor since her seminary was taken over by hierarchal patriachs. They say that she may have to teach men in her class some bible while teaching them Hebrews. At a time she sold blood to make ends meet.

    I was asked one time that if egalitarianism is the truth, why is it not taught in seminaries, and why there are not more egalitarian theologians. Now you know why. Not too many want to be persecuted.

    Like

    • tommy9999 says:

      People have paid a high price to stand up for the truth, but you are right too many folks just want to continue to receive that steady paycheck. Shame on all of the people that intimidate others into being quiet and at the same time shame on those that know they should stand up regardless of the cost.

      Like

  3. Mabel says:

    tommy: people excuse their conscience by this: it is a CONTROVERSIAL subject, why bother? When you talk to them, they always say: it is controversial, i.e. no-one knows. My conscience is therefor clear. They do not realize that it is always the people under the hierarchal comp teachings that SUFFER greatly. No-one suffers under the egalitarian teaching. I constantly have this “this is a difficult subject” thrown at me. Constantly.

    Like

  4. krwordgazer says:

    As the pastor of the joke article Men vs Women said, “We don’t keep our women silent. We allow women to teach Sunday school classes.”Will you help them change their minds and allow women the chance to teach inside the sanctuary, instead of being holed up in a Sunday school classroom, or shutting up altogether in order to learn?

    It’s high time men realized that they don’t have the right to “keep” women a certain way, or “let” them do something, or “allow” them a chance. If the Holy Spirit is calling a woman, who do these men think they are, to decide whether they’re going to “allow” her to answer Him?

    Like

  5. tommy9999 says:

    Amen: If God calls a woman to preach, get out of her way and let her preach!!!

    Like

  6. pnissila says:

    RE: women being “allowed to teach” Sunday school classes (read, children), what intrigues me is that if women can teach boys but not men, then it’s another “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” debate. Does something magical and mysterious happen to a boy, say, between twelve midnight, Thursday, the last day he is twelve, and 12:01 a.m. Friday, the day he turns thirteen that makes a woman’s Bible teaching suddenly off limits? (Or whatever the age cut-off is. I’ve read it’s 13 in some groups.) But more precisely, if he was born at, say, 8:06 p.m., at which time he officially turns 13, is that the magical minute? And which Scriptures support this notion?There’s nothing like a little common sense and a sense of humor to expose some of the erroneous teaching afloat out there. I’m so glad Paul wrote on grace which trumps works every time :).
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

    Like

  7. Mabel says:

    Phyllis, good point. I said the same thing at one time, only I applied it to the practice of ordination: so, at I:30pm he (of course it is a he) was a minister, then at 1:35pm he was a pastor. What happened to him? is he any different? if so, why so, if not, why not? and why are the church not afraid to have women call “ministers” but afraid to have women called “pastors” because we do not “ordain” women, we don’t because some people will leave the church if we do, and why do these people leave the church if women are ordained? because no-one taught them about God’s will in gender equality. Educate, agitate, advocate.

    Like

  8. Katia says:

    That pastor and economist must be unaware of the scripture verses that talk about money not being the ultimate goal of life and to be cautious with it. They must also be unaware that money is no indication of happiness and that sometimes the happiest people are the ones who have the least money. They must be unaware that many (if not all) the most economically depressed countries on the earth are also the most repressive towards women.

    And I would love to see that spiritual gifts test Rhoda Janzen took, and know how it was created. How many and what demographics were the people it was tested on? There are very few personality and spiritual gift tests I trust. Very sad that it, and her now husband, made her feel like she could contribute nothing to the church. EVERYONE has something worth saying in the church, and a large part of the reason it is suffering today is all but a select few are forced to keep silent.

    Like

    • Amen and amen! I don’t know which one she took as there appears to be several. I guess this is what she was talking about: http://giftquestinc.com/?page_id=27

      > Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2012 16:09:09 +0000 > To: bwebaptist.women@live.com >

      Like

      • pnissila says:

        Gifts and callings in the church? Whatever happened to 1 Corinthians chapter 12?

        Most of these inventories remind me of business-based church growth programs and seem more about a fast, efficient way of finding who we can plug into what practical “helps” ministry in the church than about one’s true Holy Spirit anointing in the Body of Christ. And I loathe the kind of response the woman in the anecdote received who was “put down” for wanting to actually exercise her Corinthians-style gift, as it were, by her fiance who suggested she should really be learning, not teaching….how insulting….how rude…how disrespectful…is he the Holy Spirit?

        This reminds me of the preachers who, after praying for people’s gifts, used to follow up with a sermon on how often God calls us to give up the very things we love to do most. Yuck. In other words, if you don’t get to do what you love to do in this church, maybe God, Himself, is answering your prayers with a “NO.”
        So glad for my freedom in Christ Jesus! 🙂
        Phyllis

        Like

    • pnissila says:

      Katia,
      Re: your comments, “EVERYONE has something worth saying in the church, and a large part of the reason it is suffering today is all but a select few are forced to keep silent.”
      Spot on.
      Here’s my perspective as an instructor (special ed., middle school, high school, and now, community college). As an instructor, I am held accountable not just to my department chair, but to my students. The course syllabus serves as an informal contract, you might say, between instructor and student. In it, we state the course objectives, classroom behavior expectations, how grades will be earned, grievance procedures for students and so on. In other words, as the teacher, I can expect my students to behave appropriately in the classroom, do the work, etc., but my students also have a right to expect certain things of me, primarily to teach the core content of the class and, of course, to treat them fairly. If I do not do my job, they have the right to address my superiors. If I am teaching inadequately or giving out wrong information, I risk my job. In addition, my students get to ask questions during class if they need further clarification or if they wish to express their own opinions on a subject (hopefully, in the right context and with respect). In short, there are many ways secular teachers are held accountable, many ways we are kept to task.

      With all due respect, I have often thought that preachers/teachers up there at the pulpit are spoiled. The culture of most churches is that we, the congregation, come in, sit down, shut up, and only one person gets to teach/preach. Boy! Would I like THAT option in the classroom! 😉

      Can you ever remember anyone putting up a hand in church and asking a question, or suggesting that the information presented up front is not in alignment with Scripture? In most churches, an usher would come quickly and escort the person out! Now, contrast this with instructions for the brand new church in 1 Corinthians chapter 14, verses 26 on, where the gifts of several people are referenced as well as the need to judge the gifts presented. When is that last time THAT happened where you fellowship?! 😉

      Just saying…
      Phyllis

      Like

  9. Mabel says:

    The current way we do church has nothing in common with the early church in the NT. Nothing.

    Like

  10. Michelle says:

    ” He gave her a GiftQuest questionnaire to determine her spiritual gifts. In it she had a “near-total absence of the gift of Prophecy, or Perception.” She had expected at least a 91% inclination for her profession of choice. She goes on to ask “Did God want me to use my gifts in the church body? If so, I was pretty sure the Pentecostals wouldn’t want to learn what I had to teach.” ”

    From my scant knowledge of the Pentacostal tradition, I think the author means that, regardless of what it was she wanted to teach, if she lacks the gifts of prophecy and perception, Pentacostal folks would not be interested in it. Since those gifts are emphasized in that tradition. I do agree with those who wonder about the accuracy of a test.

    It turns out that article is part of a book about her journey into a particular flavor of christianity. So it’s to promote that book, is my guess. I was hoping that the article would be posted online, so that I could comment on it and mention Christians for Biblical Equality. The author has a PhD and teaches English and creative writing at a college, for goodness’ sake.

    It frustrates me when otherwise intelligent people fall for the “roles” rigamarole. Seriously: nowhere else does “role” mean your whole life, and encompassing all of your time (to mention but one problem with the “complementarian” argument).

    Like

Leave a Reply

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