My friend Kathy Escobar has contributed some beautiful and challenging thoughts to our conversation about John Piper's call for a “masculine Christianity.”
“Change in ‘the church’ is coming,” she writes, “a holy stirring is happening and many people are starting to call it for what it is–oppression, sexism, and a fear-based theology that perpetuates injustice. However, it has become so innate that merely trying to shake it out of our system isn’t going to cut it. We’re not a few awesome blog posts away from changing these deeply grooved systems of injustice.”
Kathy reminds us that rather than simply protesting and pushing back, we must work together to plant something new. We can try pruning away the patriarchal elements of American evangelicalism or we could try a scorched earth approach, she says, but the most effective thing we can do is participate in the life-giving and subversive act of planting new trees:
trees that have the roots of equality from the very beginning.
trees that gain nourishment from a free-er gospel and soil that is enriched with freedom and hope instead of fear and absolute certainty.
trees that have men and women and rich and poor and educated and uneducated and black and white and gay and straight all tangled up together from the beginning.
trees that are tended to gently and naturally instead of pumped with unnatural growth agents & pesticides that try to advance the progression of development to “catch up faster” to other churches that will always have the advantage of time and power on their side.
trees that get their strength from the beatitudes not the latest and greatest how-to-grow books and conferences.trees that are well-watered by people who are tired of talk and are ready for action.
trees that over time will flourish and bring shade and fruit and all kinds of other goodness for generations to come in the communities & cultures where they are planted.
a diverse ecosystem of trees that more accurately reflect the fullness of God’s image.
This challenge has been really stirring my heart and mind this weekend, and I’ve found myself trying to sort through what kind of tangible, practical seeds I could plant here on the blog and in my day-to-day life.
A few came to mind:
1. Join a faith community in which women are valued as teachers and leaders. (Since our own faith community fell apart last year, we’ve been struggling to find a church home. This certainly helps narrow things down!)
2. Encourage my sisters who are in seminary or in church leadership – write notes, pray, offer to help babysit, prioritize speaking at seminaries and churches that promote female leadership. Find out what sort of online resources/communities these women need to say connected and encouraged, and help create them.
3. Use the blog to feature “women of valor” (and men!) who are planting trees around the world.
4. Use the blog to publicly thank and honor men who value and affirm women in the church. (We’ll be doing this in a big way on Tuesday.)
5. Continue partnering with World Vision to raise awareness and funds for child sponsorship, women’s education, and women’s job training.
6. Use the blog and “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” as humorous, disarming conversation-starters within the evangelical community (and beyond). Use them to educate readers about those passages of Scripture that understandably make some Christians hesitate to embrace a more egalitarian view of gender. Be careful of questioning their motives. Know my audience, and be a better teacher to them.
Some questions for you:
1. What sort of seeds will you start planting in your life on behalf of women in the Church?
2. Do you have any ideas for how I can do this better on the blog? (Note: I am decidedly NOT interested in refocusing the entire blog on women. If there’s one thing I know for sure about my writing habits, it’s that I don’t like to be tied down to one topic. I’d get burned out in about a week! Still, I want to make sure that my efforts in this area are practical, encouraging, and life-giving...not just angry rants against John Piper and Mark Driscoll.)
Can't wait to hear what you come up with!
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