Throughout this summer series that I’m calling Let Her Lead, I’ll occasionally write a short “interludes” (like this one) to help bridge from article to article, provide context, or say something I think is timely but just doesn’t seem to fit elsewhere. Most likely, these thoughts will be far less organized than a normal series post.
Earlier today, a friend of mine–a woman–sent me a message wondering if I intentionally wrote the first post in the series at the same time that certain male leaders in a large North American denomination spoke out against women in church leadership. (They did this on Mother’s Day of all days.)
You might ask, “What was it?!” Well, I’m not going to link to anything, but I read some posts on Twitter and Instagram on Sunday that broke my heart. You can easily find them and if this conversation has interested you for a while, you have probably already seen what I’m talking about. Suffice to say that what was said didn’t strike the note of Christian charity.
Back to the timing of my post. The answer is “no” but “yes.”
What I wrote wasn’t a direct, flurried response to those very sad and disheartening things I read. I wasn’t on Twitter one moment and then pounding the keyboard the next.
That said, I began this series now because I had been considering it for quite some time anyway. The Christian social media subculture just provided the right opportunity for it. In the words of Dr. King, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
The heartbreak (okay, anger is what I felt first, let’s be honest) is what moved me to say Enough is enough! I have a wife who is so talented and gifted and full of zeal for the gospel and justice (if you know her, you already know this). I have two brilliant, young daughters who love Jesus and know more Scripture than I did at their age. I know many women who have influenced and inspired me at a very deep level. I work on a ministry team with some amazing, talented women. (I’ll share more on all this soon.)
So here’s the thing. Here’s why I started writing: how we talk about and relate to and labor with these women–all women–matters.
And if the Church keeps putting “women” in their “place,” we lose. Every single time. Why?
Because Jesus never did that. And that is where this all starts.
Wherever you’re at in this conversation, it must start and end with Jesus. I want to be like him. And I hope you do, too.
(It’s worth mentioning that not all people who hold to male-only leadership put women down. We’ll talk more about that, too.)
One last reason I’m writing this now. As a white, Christian man who has benefited from a theology of male-only leadership, I sense a holy responsibility to help my brothers in Christ consider a legitimate, biblically faithful alternative. I also sense a holy responsibility to empower my sisters in Christ who for far too long have been marginalized and (let’s be honest) flat-out ignored simply because of their gender.
Doing justice means that the advantaged stand up, speak out, and lay down their perceived rights to uphold and give advantage to others. Or, as Tim Keller has written, doing justice is giving people their due. In other words, what they are owed.
I’ve taken too long to realize this when it comes to women in the church.
But it’s never too late to do what’s right.