I am joining others on this day to mark International Women’s Day and in this small way, contribute to the celebration of their voices, gifts, and presence and highlight the need for continual justice.
Each year on March 8 the world takes time to observe International Women’s Day. It is a day dedicated to the celebration of women’s social, economic and political achievements worldwide. In the United States, this official day of observance is rooted in women’s efforts to campaign for rights to work, vote and hold public office, culminating on March 8, 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter work hours, better pay, voting rights, and an end to sweatshop conditions and child labor. In the early 1910s, the concept gained recognition in the international community and grew momentum as women across Europe continued to fight for the right to work and protest against ensuing world conflict.
There are also others on the blogosphere also highlighting the voices of women in the Bible. One female voice that has recently spoken to me in surprising new ways is Lydia from Acts 16:11-15. My church is currently going through the book of Acts and I recently preached on that text [mp3] covering Paul, Lydia, power, and transformation. Paul went to Phillipi and likely sought out the synagogue [and men] but it did not exist. He went outside the city gate to the river – again expecting and hoping to meet men since that was his strategy. I love this passage because we see how it wasn’t Paul’s intent, strategy, or plan but God surprises and blesses him nevertheless by introducing him to Lydia who if you read through the text, can safely assume that she was an entrepreneur, a businesswoman, and someone who was a “worshiper of God.” The Lord convicts her and she not only responds to the gospel of Christ but her whole life is transformed from one particular worldview epitomized by the power of purple to the power of Jesus. Her whole household comes to faith through her. And eventually, she works alongside Paul and his cronies to plant a church in Phillipi – at her home. Pretty amazing.
May we commmit and re-commit ourselves to welcoming the voices of women to the Church.
The reality is that we need to be investing in all our young boys and girls but in many parts of the world, the balance is skewed in such a way that being born a girl is to trek uphill your entire life – like the story of Shamia who had acid thrown on her face because she dared to go to school. This video, entitled Girl Effect, is a good reminder of the positive influence we can have on young girls and beyond.
Last year, I posted two entries that may be of some interest: Ultimate Fighting Jesus and Conversation with Rob Bell [re: women in ministry] and while we’re at it, I’m re-posting the infamous 10 reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained For Ministry . It’s just too funny not to share again.
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.
8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.
7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.
5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.
4. Pastors need to nurture their congregations. But this is not a traditional male role. Throughout history, women have been recognized as not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are prone to violence. No really masculine man wants to settle disputes except by fighting about them. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was betrayed by a man. His lack of faith and ensuing punishment remind us of the subordinated position that all men should take.
1. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the church roof, and perhaps even lead the song service on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.
25 Replies to “women’s day, girl effect, and 10 reasons”
wow, hahahahaa..did you you write this? i like #7.
Well, You had me ready to fight before I read this, but now I find you to be very wise and insightful . I believe that God is definitely speaking to you on this important subject Pastor . ;)Jen
Thank you Pastor Cho. Excellent, encouraging word. Continue to be a voice.
#5 is my favorite. And, I can only conclude that your ponytail an attempt to negate the effects of your roguish good looks on your female congregants. How very noble, PE.
Lots of good stuff here. I would be interested in knowing what you think of my take on the story of Martha and Mary. You can find it here: http://gracerules.wordpress.com/2009/03/08/mary-and-martha-a-story-about-gods-radical-hospitality/
Thanks so much for this great post, and for using your voice and platform to make others aware of the importance of dialoguing about these things!
This is an excellent post and one that i struggle with. Not the notion of women in church or the validity of their voice…that should never be in question, but that it tends to be a subject not dissimilar to your recent post on the homeless — sure we talk a good game, but how many ‘progressive’ churches have their own version of the man show every sunday. sure, women sing or offer a standard greeting replete with announcements but how many truly listen? is it enough to simply suggest that a group of pastors’ listen to their wives or have the obligatory woman children’s pastor? i’m beginning to think that even in the midst of some the ‘liberating’ verbiage and ‘action’ some churches take, it’s simply a means with which to control their voice.
‘yeah, yeah, yeah, but we gave them a set at the conversation, but nobody said we have to take them seriously.’
well, that’s how i’ve experienced it. for most pastors, especially in youth ministry, girls or women have been relegated to an after thought or filler. never first on the programing agenda…and that’s a major issue and another area where pastors pay lip service.
the number of guys that have posted on this topic might be a clear enough example of this…
Man, I went back first and read the rob bell interview and was like, Amen! These are questions I’ve been pondering myself as we see now that many people are being raised up like Rob Bell and unfortunately none of them are women, and/or of any other color than caucasian/european. Since i am a mix of both and a woman and was both of the world and am now of His kingdom, I’ve struggled with this personally, searching scripture and seeking God’s advice on how men & woman can seriously encourage and sharpen one another, instead of what we so often see. Maybe that’s why things have gotten so out of balance in the church, because we’ve chosen to counter act the worlds advocacy towards equality between men and woman by affirming men’s authority and leadership over us or the sanctity of marriage and our male/female roles in marriage? A couple of people come to mind that have a strong voice in this family friendly arena.
If we are the hands and feet, then definitely a hand or foot is cut off from the body as a whole when woman aren’t asked to participate, outside the nursery. So, i just want to thank you for bringing this topic and also for being what you’ve not seen and being willing to be a voice of reason that is scripturally based. We’re (the church) spending a lot of time talking about physically where a church should be, building vs. home…but maybe we should be looking at how we operate as a body of believers including both men and women first?
I was thinking the other day, about my job in the world and how i’m asked to give input and expected to contribute my experience and expertise; with the goal being that we’re collectively as a team making decisions. Why is it when i enter into ‘church culture’ that this changes so drastically? Continually wrestling with these things, but knowing that I also have to be a voice and not just wait for a man to do it for me….right? Although, I think it should be a team effort.
hey eugene, i am glad your voice is out here. good video. i do hope we keep pouring into those that normally wouldn’t have a chance, whatever that looks like, and see what can happen with a little love, support, and encouragement in a really intentional way. i think it can change far more than we can imagine. thanks for the work you do! kathy