Can you help me with a book on women?

As most of you who have been following my blog for any length of time know, normally my blog looks at simple/organic church life. I started posting about women tied up with a book I’m co-writing/editing with a number of other authors. I’m hoping to have the manuscript complete by the end of May.

There are a number of things a blogger looks for to see what kind of response his/her posts are getting. These include:

  1. Subscriptions
  2. Bounce rate
  3. Comments
 Photo Credit: FutUndBeidl via Compfight cc

Much to my amazement, all three of these improved exponentially as soon as I started blogging about women. For example, check out the comments on this post.

What this indicates to me is not that my blog has suddenly improved in quality, but that this is a topic that is truly “scratching where people itch.” (I sincerely hope so since I’m writing a book about  the role of women in the Kingdom!) I believe that this is going to be one of the next major moves of the Holy Spirit.

I need your help at this point. I’m praying that the book will cover the questions people are most concerned about.

So… what questions do you have concerning the role of women in the Kingdom? Are there any pressing issues or Scriptures you’d like to see discussed in the book (or on this blog)? Any related topics? Do you have any stories that are pertinent to this subject?

I appreciate your help.

 

 

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • zisca v

    Dear Felicity

    One of the topics, I’m
    thinking about a lot lately is, how the role of women became the way it is
    presently.

    When I read Heiko’s guest post a thought stroked me. Not only was „a next generation“ not born because of women not being aloud to speak about what they have on there heart. But also ordinary man – disciples were not longer aloud to participate fully in kingdom ministry. At the moment I’m reading the book „Pagan
    Christianity?“ by Frank Viola. It’s impressing and sad to see the development
    oft he church of all disciples to one with a clergy leading through a service
    with a sermon and spectators observing everything.

    After reading the book “Why not Women?” by Cunningham and Hamilton I realized how the picture about women that we have now a days is influenced strongly by the
    Greco-Roman picture of women.

    My conclusion of these two ideas is now, that it could be that as the pagan ways
    of worshiping influenced church life, also the pagan way of seeing and treating
    women has influenced the mind-set of the people of God.

    This are only my thoughts, and it would be interesting to reading more about “how the world view on women in God’s Kingdom became what it is today”.

    I appreciate all this posts and comments so much! Thank you so much.

    Love,
    Franzisca Vattolo

    • felicitydale

      Franzisca, you are right when you say that the development of a clergy/laity hierarchy prevented men as well as women from being all they could be in the Kingdom. Frank’s book brings that out very clearly. Both men and women need to be freed into their destinies.

      But I think there is an added component when it comes to women. Sadly, they have been marginalized even more than the men. There’s a lack of dignity involved. Women are often disregarded, purely because of their gender.

  • Kenneth Dawson

    I’m not sure that this issue about women and their role in gods kingdom can ever be resolved as long as people use the bible to try and figure it out–whenever I have an issue that I want to get resolved concerning Christianity god always tells me to stop reading the bible and just ask him person to person what his opinion is then he always tells me what’s what.

    • felicitydale

      Kenneth, I love the fact that you listen to God. It’s so simple, but so powerful too. The Bible becomes a yardstick by which we evaluate what we hear from him.

  • Larry Bennett

    I have an observation from the practical perspective. Coming from a conservative Baptist background my view of women in major leadership roles, such as pastor or evangelist was not something acceptable. We clearly clung to the “women keep silent” passage. I saw no light theologically to change my mind. Besides it has been that way for hundreds of years. My mind was closed to the subject and anyone offering any scriptural proof was ignored by me.

    However, a funny thing happened when I left the pastorate and started training church planters in third and developing world countries. I began to observe that the some of the most successful church planters in NE India and throughout all of Asia were women. Now this really messed with my theological model. How could this be if women were suppose to keep silent in the church? When I related this to my peers in the states they said, “God had to use a woman because there were not any men available. That just didn’t make sense, even to a prejudice preacher like me, there were plenty of men available to be used by God. Had I been wrong about the role of women?

    So then I began to search the scripture and read as much as I could regarding the subject. I didn’t find much published information regarding the subject, but I did find in Scripture that God has always used women in major leadership roles. As a church planter I observed one of the most obvious roles was that of Priscilla in the New Testament..

    Whats my point? I learned the value of women in leadership in a practical way, in the field. My real world experience broke down my prejudicial barriers when theological arguments could budge my ignorance. And I must say, it has been a freeing revelation. To see and to know that God is just as active in using committed women as He is to using committed men is an exciting thing. Besides, I believe “more hands on the rope, steadier the pull”.

    Felicity, this book is important to publish, especially since it is coming from those of different backgrounds. The church needs this book, I will be praying for the Lord to greatly use the book for His glory.

    • Kenneth Dawson

      Wow Larry that is an impressive testimony–hopefully it will persuade some men out there to reconsider their stance against females

    • Angela

      I find it especially instructive that women are so mightily used by God in these far East cultures where women have been quite subservient. It’s not like they are culturally encouraged to do what they are doing. It’s far more radical for them than it would be for an American.

      • felicitydale

        Angela, you are so right in that observation.

    • felicitydale

      Larry, thank you. This is a great comment.

  • Linda

    Felicity,

    I believe that God is taking back His church. And this would include setting things right within the church. And this would very definitely mean the releasing of the one half that has been silenced for so many years. I think that is why people are itching. And I love that you and other bloggers are out there scratching where it itches! Just this past week another blog I read was almost identical to yours. (http://www.wadeburleson.org/2013/02/artemus-and-end-of-us-evangelical.html) Maybe God is telling ME something!

    I’m not sure what questions to give for you to answer. For me, the process of seeking the truth where women are concerned has been ongoing for several years. What’s hard for me is that on the surface those verses in Timothy seem to say one thing so very clearly while going against other teachings in the New Testament. I have a hard time remembering how to better understand what it is really saying (or what I believe it’s really saying, or better yet, what I am being taught that it is really saying!).

    One area in which I would like more discussion is the giftings of the Holy Spirit and how that affects the marriage relationship. That is to say where women/wives are gifted with prophecy or apostleship (is that a word?). How does that look in a marriage where the man/husband has other giftings (maybe teaching or something other than what the wife has). How does that work with the whole ‘the man is the head of the woman’ thing? I’m not sure if that is even on this same topic since it deals more with the marital relationship rather than women in the church. However, you asked for questions, that is what popped into my head to ask, and so I’m asking! Maybe you can deal with that in another blog post.

    I’ve enjoyed reading this series and appreciate the work and study you have put into it. Thanks!
    Linda

    • felicitydale

      Linda, thanks–and especially for pointing me in the direction of Wade’s blog. His post is outstanding. (This might be a better link: http://bit.ly/Wrlp13 I’d love others to read it.)

      Your question is a very relevant one. Earlier this week I spent time with a woman who is the more natural leader in their marriage. I’ll add it to the list of questions.

  • Randi :)

    What a hot topic & much needed book! I don’t really know how I can add to the conversation at this point – God is working on me in this area and I can’t say I’m at any concluding thoughts that can be put into words. I do have a general idea of my beliefs of women in church, women & the Church…… but I think what’s hard for me is knowing what that looks like in my life. The application of His Truth in our lives is always hardest, I believe – because it does look different depending on personalities, experience, role God has you in, the role God is preparing you for. Some bullet points for thoughts:
    * if the Church really lived out family life together, this wouldn’t be anywhere near the huge topic it is today. There are so many consequences for the way we ‘practice’ church now. :( Our relationships & the damage in them are some of those consequences. If our “church life” means a hierarchy of knowledge passers – primary through preaching & classes….. then there is concern about who is allowed to preach & who can be on what hierarchy. We want to make sure God is REALLY okay with who we put into positions of power. However, if our church life is simply a gathering of family, a belief that the Holy Spirit can use all people – the purpose being to build each other up to Christ – then there isn’t a concern about who we ‘allow’ to do anything. When we gather with our blood families, is there anybody who has rules against the women talking? hmm.. maybe there are some – but that is extreme & rare…. But my point is – how we relate as a Church & to the Church profoundly affects how we function as women (and men).
    * it’s so rare to find women & men who have a beautiful, submissive to each other, considerate to each other – marriage. there are so few examples. most of us have parents & friends as examples that were one was doormat, one was authoritative. which sets us up for needing a lot of training & healing of our minds & hearts to be able to trust another.
    * and to throw a wrench in my thoughts. I have found just this year that many times, God does call (a woman) to be silent. I personally have really felt the Lord asking me to quiet my lips and allow my husband to speak & lead in our church, in our family, in all things. My personality finds it very easy to talk to anybody, I talk a lot and I am quick. My husband is extremely laid back, intentional in thoughts, a man of few words —– and I have done a great job these first 7 years of marriage running all over him. I do feel the Lord asking me to surrender and yield & get out of GOd’s way as He builds my husband up to be a great leader. So we never know how it’s going to look. I do feel God has made my husband the leader of our home and it’s beautiful when we mutually submit to each other & how that plays out. Can I tell everybody that everybody should have exactly the balance and practices my husband & I do!? NO!
    We know our yielding is not subservience, done out of command or duty…. but done out of a humbled heart to the Lord…. given freely. I can’t tell EVERY WOMAN out there to do exactly what I am doing……. I have no clue what their personalities are, where their relationships are with their spouse & each with the Lord…. what GOd is asking of them. It looks different. If it’s not from the Lord – we are just created whitewashed tombs trying to be good enough …. But I guess my concluding thought there is that God has been faithful as He has FREED me from so much – to help me not indulge in my freedom. It’s not that women NEVER have to be silent. It’s that women don’t have to be silent because they are a woman! God will change us from the inside out!
    * really – this issue has been a battle for so many. It’s not even men against women or women against men…. but women against women seems to be even more common in my experience. Surely, the Lord doesn’t want us battling! This issue is only an issue of subservience because of a lack of surrender to our Lord. If there was a surrender of hearts to Christ – there would be a mutual meekness, respect & love to each other. There wouldn’t be a subservience issue…because both hearts would be surrendered – which would mean there was respect and love & each would be lead to meekness and yielding to each other. HE is the answer and healer of all that is wrong!!! I wish ‘we’ worried less about specific application of scripture to be applied to those all around us…. and worried more about surrendering our own hearts to the healer & savior. HE will present His Church to Himself!! He is doing it!!! :) I hope that HE is the message of any book on whatever topic in the church, including the topic of women in the Church. There is nothing wrong with the Church that a surrendering to the Lord wouldn’t fix! :)

    • felicitydale

      Randi, thank you for these thoughts. I agree with you that it depends on the situation. And submission to one another is key. So where a wife is a more “naturally gifted” leader then she does exactly what you describe. I love how the Lord is leading you.
      We don’t plan to cover husband/wife relationships that much in the book although I’m sure the subject will come up. It’s going to be more on women in the Kingdom.

      Thank you for the encouragement about the book too.

      • Randi

        Thank you, back! Look forward to learning more from you. I am struggling today with trying to “hold back”, “hold in” my passion & zeal and I wonder if I’ve let myself be TOO silent now! I know that most books are written for those lacking zeal…. most leaders are trying to reach those who don’t have the passion for Christ… but GEESH I think I need to write a book for those of us who struggle with TOO MUCH zeal and ARE fired up!

        I appreciate what you said, “where a wife is a more naturally gifted leader”…… I think that is true of me although I really wouldn’t have thought to say that before you wrote it…..so, in general, in those cases, you do believe the Lord calls her to ‘rein in’ for the benefit of those around her? :) I am having issues with my surrender today I guess and could use a nudge. <3

      • randirooks

        sorry if this comment comes up twice. i have problems with disqus for some reason.

        Thanks for the comment back! I look forward to learning from you more.

        I appreciate what you said about how sometimes the wife is simply a more ‘naturally gifted leader’… now that you’ve written it, I believe that is true of me… and I really felt God asking me to ‘surrender’ that – or be willing to at least…. but today I’m having a doubting day. So do you believe when God has gifted the wife like that, it is His calling of her to “rein that in” for the benefit of those closest to her (her husband and church primarily is what I’m thinking) and their development? I am just struggling a bit today and I’m doubting myself and what I have been feeling lead to do and I wonder if I went too extreme and I’ve been TOO silent… because now I can’t contain my zeal at all and I feel I’m about to bust and I don’t know what to DO with all this passion but be frustrated lol. I felt like the Lord was helping me rein in the ‘leading’ for more ‘loving’ but that was just a fail today apparently cuz now I’m just frustrated…. perhaps I wasn’t patient enough and need to continue on with what I’m doing… perhaps I need to find a better balance. I apologize for even rambling about this with you….

        GEEEZ somebody needs to write a book for us zealous ones. All the books I read are trying to light a fire in people or create zealousness, passion… what about us that are so full of it?! what about the fired up, enthusiastic, passionate ones who need some help knowing what to do with it…. and does it always look the same or will God mature it into something else… and what exactly is the best use for those personalities!? and how can you embrace reality when you’re the most passionate person around you always? and lets acknowledge how utterly exhausting passion, fervor is…and how can we learn to know when it’s time to retreat cuz you need a rest……. and really HOW do we continue to use that passion as fuel to LOVE and not be impatient with others….
        :) I guess I need to work on that book – for MYSELF! and the one other person in the world out there who needs that book!

        thanks for listening.

        • felicitydale

          Hi Randi, I think what you’re feeling is actually very common. Many women are married to a spouse who may be more of an introvert, while they are an extrovert, and a naturally more obvious leader. So what is a woman in that situation to do?

          The way the church thinks, the wife is supposed to hold back to make sure her husband is the one who is seen as the leader.

          Many of the men I know would not want to hold their wives back. They recognize that God has gifted them differently. I have a friend whose husband laid hands on her and prayed for her every evening that God would fulfill his calling in her life and he encouraged her in every way. He is the quieter one of the two. It doesn’t mean that he is any less passionate about the Lord than she is–just that he doesn’t express it so loudly. And she leads in many, many ways.

          Having said that, I think it’s a principle that we always encourage the quieter ones to speak out, valuing their contributions. And if that is your husband, then that is good.

          An interesting conversation…

          • randirooks

            Some more thoughts after your encouraging words:

            Agreed that “passion” or “zeal” expresses itself differently in different personalities. and I too am blessed with a husband who desires me to become WHOMever or WHATever God desires me to me. It is myself that holds myself back! That’s a constant theme & conversation I’ve been having with other women:

            HOW to sacrifice & serve & submit fully to others — and not lose your identity. The KEY is where your identity lies! My VALUE, my IDENTITY is not in others – not in how I serve them, what my love does for them or in them… but my VALUE & IDENTITY are in CHRIST alone. When we understand how to DIE TO SELF & SUBMIT because we have surrendered to the Potter’s Hands and know that our value is simply in being His clay — then we are wide open & free for HIS Spirit to live through us — His life that will call us to sacrifice and LOVE & SERVE freely — with a LOVE that isn’t looking for a return, a result or control… but A LOVE that simply LOVES!!!!! I have experienced His TRUE PURE love flowing through me and it’s SO not the same as MY LOVE!

            I wish I could say His LOVE flows through me on to others every day but it doesn’t. Myself gets so quickly in the way!

            A final thought on this —- I just wrote a blog on personalities….. and I thank you for helping me process out this topic. But my synopsis is that we actually DO keep our personality strengths! We don’t all melt into one same personality as we grow…. but we WILL keep our personality strengths and then CORPORATELY as a Body we are being built up into the one perfect personality – that only Jesus shared! I really believe that’s true. I believe He desires to keep us individually different with different strengths – and this has huge implications. It gives me the FREEDOM to live out my strengths — and use them for His glory & the good of others!! It helps me know that I can not be somebody else and I’m not expected to. I have to be ME! <3 His life lived through us will bring out the strengths of our INDIVIDUAL personality…. and those strengths collectively all together as His Body are the perfect strengths! Is it making sense!?

            Maybe everybody already knows this… but I didn't! This is huge for me!

            He will sort out what I just picked up along the way as defense mechanisms & habits… and what is my true personality. I don't even have to focus on figuring out what is what…. because He will do that, too! Through close relationships with the Church family…. that are full of openness & the ability to refine/correct each other through some sharpening… He will help me lose the personality weaknesses and know how to use the strengths properly! It will naturally come out….. but I am holding it back from coming out if I'm trying to be just like those around me and have equal strengths & same strengths…..or change what my strengths are, even! I have to know that He created me to be different than those around me. We are different & unique! and I have FREEDOM to be me.

          • randirooks

            oh and P.S. when u said, “The way the church thinks, the wife is supposed to hold back to make sure her husband is the one who is seen as the leader.”

            I’m not sure if you were saying that the *traditional* church would think that….. or the church-as-business “church” we see now……. so it’s a negative thing that the Church says that and you disagree with it..

            OR

            If you’re saying that THE Church & THE Word agree that the wife should hold back…… so it’s a positive thing that the Church thinks and you agree with it.

            ? :)

          • felicitydale

            I meant the former. The traditional church thinks the woman is supposed to hold back. I disagree with this.

          • felicitydale

            Randi, I love what you’re saying here. Different personalities do express their passion and devotion to Christ in different ways. I just read a post (can’t remember where) on introvert and extrovert strengths in leadership and the truth is that introverts lead differently, but just as effectively. The strength of the body of Christ comes in our diversity, not in our uniformity.

            You are indeed blessed to have a husband who desire you to come to your full potential in Christ. Go for it!!

  • Michael Fleming

    These may or may not help:

    1. How might the same gift of the Holy Spirit manifest itself differently in and through a woman than a man?

    2. Are there some gifts that are more often found in women than in men and vice versa?

    3. Although woman are free to function in a church body, are there any specific roles in the life of a church body that you have experienced should not be taken on by women?
    How about by men?

    4. Does the role of a woman in the church change if she goes from single to married? Why or why not?

    • felicitydale

      Thank you, Michael. These are very useful questions. I’ll add them to my list to try to make sure we answer them. I really appreciate the thought you have put into this.

  • Marion Clark Ingram

    Well, Felicity, since many, many women are moving forth affectively in the Kingdom at this hour, I believe that the Sovereignty of God is established in this matter. In fact, I shared samples of thirty years of Kingdom work/assignments in my book “Without Apology: On Call For God” (amazon.com). I still believe that “actions speak louder than words.” I certainly support your new book.

    • felicitydale

      Marion, thank you. I wasn’t aware of your book. Love the title. I’ll check it out on Amazon.

  • Karen

    My wondering is for women to rise up will it also require a paradigm shift of how we think of men. In Korean culture, traditionally men do zero domestic work, and many men never learn to cook a single meal, wash a single dish, or even set out/ put away the food, take out the trash, etc. I have seen this disempowers older men quite sigficantly and is not respectful towards who MEN really are.

    One teaching that is around to help modern women rationalize these kinds of extreme gender roles is the not just the idea that men are the leaders and don’t have time for such trivial matters, but are actually incapable and incompetent in the areas of practical living.

    So as a Korean American woman trying to find the balance in gender roles in my pretty great marriage to a man more culturally korean than i (but great at dishes and putting kids to bed, etc), i have recently realized part of my reticence to step up to be all God calls me to be is fear that my husband will be left helpless, hungry, etc.

    So just as my husband is learning to trust me more and make space to step up, i need to trust him more and do the same for him. We are called to be warriors in spiritual battle together,

    • felicitydale

      Karen, I just saw this post. Forgive me for the delay in replying. You make an interesting point and present a great solution, and I’m fascinated by your cultural insights. I’m often asked what a wife should do if she is more of a natural leader than her husband. I love your response–that it’s for both to do it together.

  • Maree Watson

    Hi Felicity, a bit of a story, some thoughts and a prayer
    When my friend Annette and I were preparing to facilitate a session on “Women in Leadership” for the Lk10 conference in Colorado last year a theme “Gods Hidden Army” kept popping up (another suggestion for a name for your book to compliment An Army of Ordinary People!?) and the words “identity’ and “exponential”. We didn’t actually do a “talk” on women in leadership but as a group we spent time sharing stories and listening to The Lord about our God-created Identity. We focused our listening around 3 questions 1.What have you been called out of? 2.What have you been called into? And 3. Lord who do you say I am? There were Confessions, testimonies, stories and prophecies. Many of the things we heard for ourselves and for each other were amazing affirmations of Our Fathers delight, passion and love for us. Many words came forth about our individual gifts, talents, position and function within His Army and as His Bride. It was NOT “mamby pamby” by any stretch, it was powerful, surprising, affirming and exhilarating. One of the beautiful experiences was that of the brave lone Male in the group repenting on behalf of Men in the Church and weeping as he joined in praying and listening for each of the women in the group. It was a powerful and humbling picture.

    I believe the freedom and wholeness we can experience by knowing who we are in Christ, discovering our true God-created identity and experiencing the intimacy and adventure that he invites us into as we listen and obey, follow and co- labour with Jesus is the game changer for Women in our time. Many women are prayerfully side-stepping the “issues”, on eg; Women teaching Men and ducking out of the “system” that wants to impose restrictions on half the “field force”. Many Women are stepping into the field where God is calling them and where there is a real battle and a real enemy, who would like nothing more than to distract us with fighting lesser battles and “issues”. A word of caution from personal experience, we are not called into a solo pursuit, although we have individual journeys, we are called into unity, relationship, community and one another-ing, isolation is a tool the enemy uses to keep us from being in the “game” and from effectively using our gifts, given to us by Jesus (Eph 4;8)and designed for the Body(Eph 4;12).
    My Prayer.. Heavenly Father that women and girls will be led and enabled to discover our true God-created Identity as your Daughters who You have designed lovingly in Your image with unique gifts given to us by Jesus to bless and build up the Body of Christ. Help us to bravely accept and take up our unique positions alongside our brothers as your Army of worshippers, lovers, listeners and obeyers of our King Jesus, led by The Holy Spirit in unity into the Harvest with power and the ability to teach others to do the same. In Jesus name Amen.

    • felicitydale

      Maree, how good to hear from you. This is a great story of your time in Colorado, and I know that some of my most healing times in this issue have been when men have repented on behalf of the church of their attitude towards women. I love the idea that freedom will come as women (and men) discover their God-given identity too.

  • MDarrell

    I have responded before to your request. However, today it was emphasized to me again through another’s post that there must be a differentiation between “submission” and “inferiority”. As I may have said before, “submission” is not a 4-letter word. Nor does submission imply that I am “inferior” if I submit according to scripture. The issue is not whether to submit to one’s husband or not. The issue is defining what that means. I struggled when my children were small. But finally one night at 2:30 in the morning, I said “Yes”! to that submission. We were married a total of 28 years before he died. Never–I repeat–never did any time arise when this became an issue between us. I did have to learn, however, that my attitude and response was not totally dependent upon his mood or demeanor–good or bad. If submission implies “inferiority”, then since Jesus was the most submitted person ever, He must have been the most “inferior” person ever.