This post is a follow-up to my 9/22 post, plumb line.

Excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

In keeping with the culture of the time, Huldah…was identified as both a prophet and a wife when first introduced in Scripture. This would seem to indicate that she successfully lived out both her role as prophet and her role as wife…

When considering what exceptional women Deborah and Huldah were in light of the culture in which they lived, it is important not to overlook what exceptional men Barak and Josiah were. Both men were unique figures in the history of Israel due to their willingness to submit to the leadership of a woman…

Josiah intentionally seeking spiritual counsel from a female prophet during a time when four male prophets (Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habbakuk) were living is nothing short of amazing. What is even more amazing is that King Josiah not only sought the counsel of a woman, he acted on it, instituting very radical reforms. Josiah must have seen something in Huldah similar to what Barak saw in Deborah. Scot McKnight, in The Blue Parakeet, states “Huldah is not chosen because no men were available; she is chosen because she is truly exceptional among the prophets.”

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The following excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough has been on my mind a lot the last several days. I don’t know why. Maybe someone needs to read it, so I decided to share it. Here it is:

When an individual gives his or her life to God, that individual becomes part of God’s family. The Holy Spirit then comes to live inside that believer and endows him or her with spiritual gifts. A spiritual gift is an ability or talent that is given to an individual by God when he or she becomes part of God’s family. The Apostle Paul discussed spiritual gifts in his letter to the church in Corinth (1 Corinthians), his letter to the church in Rome (Romans 12), and his letter to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 4).

 Important Point: There is no reference in any of Paul’s letters to gifts being distributed according to gender.

As I walked with Jesus I gradually came to the realization that I had been given the spiritual gift of leadership… As I tried to live out the purpose God had called me to, using the gifts he gave me, I ran into intense opposition. I crashed right into the stained glass ceiling. I was told that I was controlling (a bad thing) and that I was too strong of a leader (another bad thing)…I studied the difference between controlling and leading. I studied the difference between leading and managing.  I studied the difference between anointing and ordination. I read books on gender equality in the Church, and I studied the lives of women in the bible. As a result of all this I came to the unshakable conclusion that God is color blind and gender blind. He does not distribute gifts and assign purposes based on race or gender.

… as we grow into the people God created us to be, we become comfortable in our own skin. When we are comfortable in our own skin, we are able to unreservedly allow the people around us to be comfortable in their skin, to be who they are, who God created them to be. When we are not comfortable in our own skin, we often try to control our external circumstances and the people in our life in an effort to achieve that comfort. In her book Men and Women in the Church, Sarah Sumner, a noted author, international speaker, and dean of A. W. Tozer Theological Seminary, describes a time when she was impacted by people around her who were not comfortable in their own skins. “When I was a student at Trinity, one of my professors called me into his office and said to me in a warm, fatherly tone, ‘Sarah, do not show the full color of your plume; it will intimidate the men.’ She further stated ‘… every Christian woman is told not to lead too much.’”[i]

As I look back at the times I was told I was too strong of a leader and think about the people who told me this, I now understand that they were not comfortable in their own skins. If they were, they would not have been so threatened by me growing into the person and the leader God had anointed me to be.

[i] Sarah Sumner, Men And Women In The Church (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003) pp. 26-27

I don’t want to convey the message that I believe men have been solely responsible for this situation regarding women in leadership, or rather not in leadership, in many of our churches. I do not believe this. Women have also played a very significant role in keeping themselves in subservient positions. According to J. Lee Grady, “… many Christian women today … defend these views, either because they are intimidated by a male-dominated religious system … or because they have swallowed the lie that tells them they are second-class citizens in Christ’s kingdom.”

Though I can readily see how Grady would draw such conclusions regarding why women put themselves or allow themselves to be put, in subservient positions in relation to men, I would like to expand on it a bit. In my personal dealings with Christian women who believe that it is wrong for women to be in leadership roles over men, it seems to me that they hold onto these beliefs as a way of sidestepping responsibility for their lives and avoiding being held accountable for decisions.

In conclusion, if Christ is truly to lead the church through the Holy Spirit, both men and women need to examine and possibly change their belief systems and behaviors. The “this is what I was taught growing up” rationale simply doesn’t hold water. Many of us were taught incorrect theology growing up. Part of becoming a mature Christian and walking our own walk with Jesus involves making our own decisions about what we believe and what we don’t believe, based on our own study of Scripture. If we make these decisions based on what someone else feeds us based on their study of Scripture, we are not walking our own walk.

Excerpt: When the Glass Ceiling is Stained