It really bugs me when the church tells me how to be a woman and then tries to tell me that there’s only one way to be a good Christian woman – I especially get a little bent out of shape when Proverbs 31 gets invoked to do it. Although to be told it’s more likely to be 1 Peter….
It bugs me when women feel hesitant about living life because of the judgment they might face over their decisions not being “feminine” enough. All three of the professions in which I have been trained were until the last couple of hundred years the sole domain of men. Does that mean that I am not fit for their tasks? Does being a woman make one less able as a lawyer, a military officer, a tutor and lecturer?
It’s possible some reading this will answer Yes to that question.
I relish the extraordinariness of the woman in Proverbs 31 – she’s a seriously kick-butt gal. I certainly don’t have the hours in the day to do as she did (and i don’t have a husband or children).
So when “there is neither jew nor greek, slave nor free, male nor female,” was that a paint by numbers, choose your own adventure scenario?
Why is it (ironically) that these extremely culturally anachronistic words (in first century Jerusalem) are so often forgotten? and in there place exists a watered down version of that equality before God. I’m increasingly wary of cultural standards being syncretisticly co-opted by the church and then rehashed in a rather oppressive way.
I think the issue is what is at the heart of the way you express yourself. Are you trying to prove your value to others and make sure they notice you/remember you/respect you/etc? Or are you genuinely passionate about the topic at hand or excited about the circumstance or what God is doing or inviting people to join you?
Gosh, like Miss Britt, I wholeheartedly believe that God made me this passionate, this excitable, this logical. There’s a beauty in that acknowledgement. God loves you. All of you. He’s not waiting for you to tame that bit or knock off that rough edge. You are loved! You are free to explore your gifts and talents. You are free to love those around you…
In relation to the “Quiet and Gentle Spirit for the Pushy and Loud” post I received the following question:
How do you practically live out a quiet and gentle spirit in a world that expects and encourages masculinised females?
It seems at times that being content and humble is viewed as a weakness, rather than a desired attribute. Here in ———– there has been some discussion about young females acting and wanting to be like one of the boys, in manner, speech and activities. It disturbed me and when I spoke to a few friends (non-xns) and they really didn’t see and problem with it…
okay. You’re right, contentment and humility can be seen as weakness, but you can be content and humble and still seek after god’s best and excellence in all you do. It’s about whose approval you’re after and your end goal.
I think there is a sense in which there’s great power in women being aware of her significance and singularity as a woman. At the same time, there are lots of different kinds of women and it’s also problematic when the institutional church imposes an idea of womanhood and manhood that actually takes more from culture (albeit 50 years ago or more) and says society has it wrong because women should dress, talk, act, and only be involved in certain things. Gosh, my mother is no less a woman because she’s not really into baking and she’s brilliant with her hands and making/inventing things!
It’s a difficult balance – it’s more important to get at the spirit of the biblical text (1 Cor 7 and women’s heads always being covered for instance) rather than assert things always be one way only in terms of a woman conforming to a certain cultural set of behaviours or standards.
Indeed, you or I would be considered prideful by many Amish communities because of the amount of time we’ve put into educating ourselves and the care we take over our appearance. Everyone exists on a spectrum when it comes to asserting the importance of Christian cultural standards of behaviour, dress etc. These things matter far less to me now, than having a clear conscience and heart about what would please God.
As for your friends who are not Christian. Why would they see a problem with the way they speak, or behave? You cannot expect others to want to live in a manner worthy of a calling to serve and worship God if they a)do not believe in God or b)do not feel that believing in God compels any such thought or behaviour. It does not mean that I think it right, but these things are for God to judge. Your job is to love your friends. More than that, though, your calling is to honor God with you heart, soul, mind and body. The Holy Spirit guides in matters of conscience such as these. Seek not to conform to the standards set down by your church, but by the law written on your heart!
So what do you think? Am I being a little “sensitive”? or does this bug the heck out of you too?
Image: Composite image created by me.