Tony, my husband, and I used to have a dog called Sugar—a faithful and loyal companion, though of dubious parentage and limited intelligence. Sugar had one major character flaw. She loved to wander. We live in a house with a fenced yard and an electric gate across the driveway. Sugar used to hide, lying in wait until a car went through the gate. Then, just as the gate was closing the final few inches, she would make her bid for freedom. She would return several hours later, exhausted but very happy.
For various reasons, not the least of which we live on a busy road, we decided to put a stop to her adventures, so we installed an invisible fence across the driveway. When a dog approaches too close to an invisible fence, a little battery on their collar gives them a small jolt of electricity. They soon learn their boundaries.
After a couple of, shall we say, shocking experiences, Sugar learned to stay within the confines of our yard. In fact, long after the battery in her collar had died, Sugar would sit, wistfully gazing at the liberty that lay on the other side of an open gate without making any attempt to escape. She had become conditioned to her limitations.
As women in the church, we, too, have been conditioned to live within boundaries. We have learned to live with limitations in the church. Even when we have the freedom–for example to lead, to teach or to take a strategic role, our previous experience of what a woman was “allowed” to do can prevent us moving into all the freedom God has for us.
Have you found ways to move beyond your boundaries?
Photo credit: Matt’s Flicks (Creative Commons)
Subscribe to Get Simply Church Updates
Join our mailing list to get occasional updates from me!
8 replies on “Lessons from our dog…”
“Sugar used to hide, lying in wait until a car went through the gate. Then, just as the gate was closing the final few inches, she would make her bid for freedom.”
Sounds like her intelligence wasn’t too limited!!! : )
Felicity, I found in the traditional, institutional churches I was in that it was the women who were there the most, and served the most. It was in spite of the fact a false doctrine held them back from being fully empowered to do other things like teaching or speaking. Of course, I believe the IC in general holds everyone back to a very, very large degree. I call it a Flea Circus where church fleas are trained.
Flea training? Yep, you can train fleas very easily. Take a mayonnaise sized jar, place hundreds of fleas inside, and put the lid on. Come back three days later, remove the lid, and viola – the fleas will not jump any higher than than where the top of the jar was. Nor, outside where the sides of the jar were. They’re trapped by mental conditioning, brainwashed, to think that way the rest of their lives. Their offspring will follow suit, and behave the same way until they die.
Sad fact is the man speaking behind the pulpit week after week ad nausea is the flea trainer, and his pulpit is the lid of the jar. He keeps his church under an imaginary lid, and no one is to ever dare think they can ‘jump higher’, or accomplish more than him.
We have to stay clear of church systems that are little more than a flea circus. We have to remove the imaginary lids, (boundaries), that may have us thinking like flea brains. That keeps us, male of female, from being fully empowered, and reaching our greatest potential.
Pal, as you suggest here, the problem isn’t just limited to one gender, although my experience is that when the boundaries are removed, men tend to step up to the plate more quickly. Women have to overcome centuries of “Scriptural” indoctrination that they are only there as a support to the men. Your observation that subsequent generations are also affected is a sad one too. We need role models who will demonstrate a different way.
the last 3 posts, are making me sad and glad at the same moment. You write daring true words. Also about lonelyness of women thinking in a different way than the ones living (more or less happily) inside of the pre- designed space women are “aloud” to move. So fast people are putting a stamp on me: feminist. I’m not. But I believe that women and men together can achieve more than only men. In fact I believe it is one of the devils meanest strategies to cut out women workers from God’s Kingdom and to let men workers be proud of their being better than women. double attack. I have the dream that my husband and me can be living signs for an other way of living kingdom of God, than most christians here in Switzerland believe is The Right Way of living church. Thank You Felicity for your words I feel how sad my heart is about these facts, but I feel encouraged to read words of somebody believing the same than me.
Thank you for your encouragement. I lived the frustration of what you are experiencing for many years. Thankfully, like you, I have a husband who is willing to think out of the conventional church box, and together we try to demonstrate a different way.
I believe that one of the next moves of God’s Spirit will be to release women into their full potential. Already the signs are there–at least here in the States.
Felicity, I really needed to read these two last blogpost. It actually felt like a prophetic message to me. I just wanted to tell you its the second time God uses your blog like this in my life. And this time it was so clear I actually burst into tears while reading. I struggle with these questions and I really needed to see that I am not alone. Thank you! / Maria
It’s a huge encouragement and personal blessing that God has used what I’m writing in your life. Thank you for letting me know.