“Reclaiming our equality” gives you step by step ways that you can speak up for women’s equality and usher in a new day for women in the church and in their homes.
We have been without a plan. We have voices coming from all over, but we have not formulated a plan. Until we begin a systematic effort, it will remain voices calling out in the dark, with no focus and no direction.
We begin with prayer, because all things must begin with prayer.God, we pray for an awakening! Wake up your power! Come to save us! Restore us, God! Make your face shine so that we can be saved! Lord God of heavenly forces, how long will you fume against your people’s prayer? You’ve fed them bread made of tears; you’ve given them tears to drink three times over! You’ve put us at odds with our neighbors; our enemies make fun of us. Restore us, God of heavenly forces! Make your face shine so that we can be saved! -From Psalm 80 (Common English Bible)
Like the Psalmist, I, too, have cried out to God our Creator and asked him why he has withheld his favor from women. Why has he put us at odds with our fellow Christians, and why has he allowed our enemies to make fun of us? Many of you have also pleaded with God and have poured out your hearts to Him.
Monday through Friday we will lift up our voices in unity and pray together. Pray earnestly, but remember that God uses our hands and our feet, our voices and our minds.
Monday. Pray for those who are actively working for equality, that they will not be discouraged in their resolve. Pray that God increases their vision, and that they (we) will speak up at every opportunity that God gives us. Stretch our minds, Lord, that we will see a possibility to speak out in the most ordinary encounters with people sent our way. Open our mouths so that words of equality spring forth. Put in our hands materials that will pave the way to speak out – by giving us knowledge, and by passing on that knowledge to others. Action: Send someone who is working for equality a note of encouragement.
Tuesday. Pray that some of the leaders in the two largest and most influential Christian denominations (Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists) will begin to sense that what they are teaching and preaching against women is not the message of Jesus and love. We know that God could change everybody’s heart in a flash, but God doesn’t work that way. He changes the heart of individuals and then that person begins to speak. So today, pray that God will speak to some pastors, church leaders, and to some priests and bishops and that their eyes will be opened to the injustice against women. We pray for that crack in their armor to grow and to widen. Action: Write a letter to a Baptist leader or Roman Catholic bishop. Or the Pope! Let them know that what they do affects Christian woman and ultimately the kingdom of God.
Wednesday. Pray for those who write church literature, Sunday school lessons, mission magazines, blogs – anything that will be read by church leaders – that they will feel uneasiness in their complementarian teaching, and that they will respond to the urging of the Holy Spirit. Pray that in their research their eyes will be opened to the injustice against God’s female creation. Pray that their eyes will be opened to the part they play in keeping women from achieving what God has for them, and for denying and limiting the gifts of women. Action: Reply by email to one of the writers in a Christian magazine, blog, or Sunday school book, and ask them to focus on women’s gifts in ministry.
Thursday is a day of sadness and we reach deep into ourselves as we recognize the price women pay for male headship. We pray for those hurt by this teaching, recognized in two groups: the rejected and the abused. Pray for those women who feel called to preach, who attend seminary, and who then can find no church that will accept their calling. Pray for those who left their church because the church loved boys more than it loved the girls. Now pray for the abused. Pray for women and girls who have been physically and emotionally hurt by men, and for those who recognize that the church itself perpetuates this abuse. Bow your heads and pray for those who had rather just talk and argue the scriptures than to get up and get out and do something about it. Today is a day of sadness as we ourselves see no immediate solution to abuse of women. Isn’t it also abuse of women when we deny their calling? Action: Write a letter to an unknown, or known, female seminarian and express your sorrow that she can’t fulfill her calling. Write a letter to an unknown, or known, female who has been abused due to male headship. Then send, or tear up the letters, or keep them, but remember the need to reach out to these women.
Friday. Finally, we come to the largest group of all because it takes in all those for whom we prayed Tuesday through Thursday. These are the Indifferent (those who don’t have a clue and are unconcerned); the Believers (those who sit under male headship and have swallowed all of it); the Traditionalists (those who think that because men have always had charge of the church and family that it must be God’s plan); and then Deceivers (those who have read the bible and know that the Word of God does not give women over to the charge of males, but who have a vested interest in keeping it that way). Direct your prayers today to the Indifferent, the Believers, and the Traditionalists. Pray for their eyes and hearts to be opened to the whole message of redemption and love. Action: Take or bake some bread, tear off a piece and drink some juice as a symbolic action that these are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and that one day we will be reunited as equals.
Next week we will discuss other actions. Tell your friends! Involve your Sunday school class, your Bible study group, facebook friends, twitter, and other social media. Start anytime! The important thing is to start.