One Voice for Change is for Our Daughters (And Our Sons)
April 30, 2013 4 Comments
Today is the first day of the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. One of the things that One Voice for Change, which I’ve blogged about over the last couple of days, is advocating for is the inclusion of women as keynote speakers at such events. I want to affirm that stance as an appropriate and proper stance. There needs to be women included as keynote speakers beginning in 2014. The time is now.
“The time is now.” I’ve been asked why I keep using that phrase when talking about 1V4C. Here’s one reason: Our churches will continue to die, numerically and spiritually, if we do not follow God’s leading and affirm the gifts and callings of all of our fellow Christians. Any Church that does not follow where the Spirit leads is a Church that cuts itself off from the One who gives life.
I can’t count the number of people I know who have left, or who are considering leaving, churches of Christ because they have had a daughter. Indeed, after my initial blog post on this topic complete strangers reached out to me on social media to say that they left churches of Christ for exactly this reason. They often leave quietly, because they still have a love for the Church and its people, but they do leave. These people consistently say that they refuse to raise their daughters in churches that treat them as “less than”: less than their brothers, less than their friends, less than their callings, less than their worth to God, less than they are treated in the world. Many people who have remained in churches of Christ for years refuse to stay when staying would mean raising their daughter in such an environment.
Our churches form us. They train us how to see and live in the world. And too many of our daughters have been formed to believe that they are not worthy of being in a position of spiritual leadership simply because of their sex. They are being mis-formed into believing that they do not bear God’s image in the same way that males do. They are being mis-formed into believing that their words are less significant than the words spoken by men. They are being mis-formed into believing that their gifts are not meant to be used in public.
And it’s not just our daughters. Our sons are being mis-formed as well. They are being mis-formed into believing that their sex makes them superior to their sisters. They are being mis-formed into believing that there is something inherently wrong about women’s voices being heard in public. They are being mis-formed into people who will silence and subjugate women in the future. Martin Luther King Jr. once said that Jim Crow hurt white people as well as black people. Just as it wrongly taught black people that they were “less than” and inferior to whites, Jim Crow wrongly gave white people a false sense of superiority, entitlement, and led them to believe that they had a right to treat others unjustly. Jim Crow, in short, taught white people to be sinners who regularly hurt other people. Sadly, many of our churches and institutions teach men to be sinners who hurt other people (their sisters) as well.
Our daughters and our sons are being mis-formed by our practice of silencing our women. It is because of them that I insist that the time is now. It is not tomorrow, next week, next year, or twenty years from now. The time is now. Our daughters (and our sons) must see women leading in their churches (and speaking at events like lectureships) if they are to be formed into people who can recognize and affirm whomever God chooses to call. If they do not they will continue to be mis-formed. And people will keep having daughters (and sons) and rightfully choose to have their children formed elsewhere.