women’s role

I’ve never really “gotten” the whole “women’s role” conversation. I mean, I understand why some want to have it, but it seems to me like a classic case of majoring in minors. Of straining gnats. Of making the Pauline epistles the “new Pentateuch.”

So far this summer, we’ve spent a considerable amount of time hanging out with the single moms and their kids from our neighborhood. We met them walking Damon, and we’ve begun to sit down and let the kids play with our dog, talk to the moms, throw around a ball, and just get to know these women. Last night, our doorbell rang and it was one of the moms with her two young children (she’s fighting for custody of her other 4) with a half-loaf of homemade banana bread for us. Because she mothers two young children (3 and 2, I believe), she can’t work — so she bakes and sells loaves of banana bread. (!) She wanted us to try it right then.

One thing I’ve noticed is that these are phenomenal women with far more strength than we’ll likely ever have. Their stories are heartbreaking. Our banana bread friend lived with her kids in a shelter before a townhouse in our neighborhood opened up. Chrissy’s going to court with her to watch her two young’ns while she takes care of some custody beaurocracy.

Back to the “women’s role” subject. Glancing through the comments of the recent discussion over at PreacherMike, a couple of things come to mind. First, how disconnected our “issues” are from the lives of real people, such as the single moms club in our neighborhood. Can you imagine what these fortuitous women would think if, when they are assimilated into the family of God, they are promptly told, “Oh, by the way — keep your mouth shut when we come together.” They’d tell you where you can put your epistles. The “women’s role” discussions (far too often a monologue) also remind me how much we have to gain from listening to these women’s stories, sharing in their sufferings and joys, and rejoicing with their accounts of the ways in which God is transforming their lives. Single moms who have been through hell have every bit as much to contribute to this family as any seminary-trained male, and it is our loss when we stifle these voices.

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (1 Corinthians 14:26)

… speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4: 15-16)


8 responses to this post.

  1. preach it.


  2. Amen!


  3. Our talk is embarrassing. Thanks for making sense.


  4. Our talk is fatiguing me.

    “Let justice roll down …”


  5. Posted by bpb on June 29, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Of course, there’s a role for women in the church . . . but that’s just it – there is a role. It’s not in the worship service.


  6. bpb,

    do you know how many things are wrong with the traditional concept of “worship service”?


  7. Posted by bpb on July 2, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    Explain to me the traditional concept of “worship service?” Maybe I am missing something.


  8. Posted by pk on July 5, 2007 at 10:38 am


    here is a great exercise: get a concondance, and look up all the occurances of worship in the N.T. If you can use the greek, so much the better. Then find all the places where the many words for worship are connected to a “service.”


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