Half the Church

I’ve read a couple of books by Carolyn Custis James. Her book,The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules is an unusual and inspiring look at the book of Ruth and how it communicates the truths of the gospel. It was of particular interest because it was through our church’s study of the book of Ruth that a Hindu couple committed to the Lord.

Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women is another book by Carolyn. It covers two major areas:

The loss that occurs when women believe there are limits on how God will use them. This loss isn’t just to half the church whose vision of God’s purposes for their lives is stifled, but also to the men who are carrying a weight of burden they were meant to share with us. God meant us to build his Kingdom together.

A global tragedy is underway as women and girls are suffering the worst kinds of injustices. The book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Krystof and Sheryl WuDunn graphically details some of these atrocities–sex trafficking, female genocide, genital mutilation and so on. In Half the Church, Custis James examines this further. What is the church doing about oppression and injustice to women? Apart from a few Christian organizations, most of the church is too busy and just ignores their plight.

Half the Church challenges us to search for God’s vision for his daughters. His plans for us are more far-reaching and life-expanding than we have yet experienced.  God is calling us to engage in the world, to right injustices, to stand up for truth. If the other half of the church would fully engage, we can impact the world for the King.

Those who have been reading my blog for some time will recognize how this well-written and thought-provoking book resonates with truths that I believe the Holy Spirit is bringing to the attention of the body of Christ. I highly recommend it.

Women cannot…

A recent fascinating article describes an advertising campaign put out by UN Women (a branch of the U.N.) that demonstrates that sexism and gender bias flourish in today’s world. The ad shows four faces of women with some of the most popular Google search terms. For example, on the search term,  “women cannot…” the most popular search terms were “drive, be bishops, be trusted, speak in church.”

So I thought I’d check this out. Scarily, it’s true. When I Googled “women cannot,” the popular searches (each search page has eight of the most popular searches for each term towards the bottom of the page) include “be priests, speak in church, teach the Bible, be pastors.” In this search, 50 percent of the issues mentioned were church related. In contrast, the corresponding search for “men cannot” had only one that is church related–man cannot live on bread alone;  that is hardly gender specific.

What’s with this?

I find myself almost without words to express my indignation that the church, the beautiful feminine bride of Christ, portrays herself to the world at large in this way.

What a turn-off for not-yet-believing women thinking about Christianity.

Jesus came to set people free. The one place above all, where people should fight against injustice is the church. And yet gender bias is accepted there. (And yes, I know some of you will point to the two Scriptures that apparently limit women, but they not only stand against the trend of the Bible as a whole, they can, with integrity, be interpreted differently.)

How can we change the world’s perception of the role of women in the church?

What do you think?

Photo Credit: J.Ōta via Compfight cc