I have been so blessed by the caliber of men who were willing to contribute chapters to The Black Swan Effect: A Response to Gender Hierarchy in the Church. Here’s a quote from the book by missiologist and author, Michael Frost.
But it is pretty hollow when we guys say we stand for the inclusion of women in leadership roles, but then belong to teams of all men, attend conferences at which only men speak, sit on all-male committees, and exclusively read books written by men. One of the important ways male leaders will encourage change in our churches is to model such change in our own lives and ministries. That means more than verbal or written affirmations. It means submitting to the leadership and insights of women and exhibiting such submission in the ways we speak about our lives and ministries. If people hear male leaders say we are encouraging women as leaders, they will understandably look for evidence of that in our lives. Are we learning from women? Are we being led by women? Are we modelling a more inclusive stance on gender in the church?
Or should the age of chivalry be abolished?
Twice over the past few weeks I’ve read from different sources that it’s somehow demeaning to a woman if a man opens the door for her or pays for her meal. In both instances, the people concerned were offended if a man held the door open for them because it somehow made women inferior. They felt that a man being chivalrous towards a woman was in some way discriminating against them because it was rooted in the idea of a female being helpless. (The idea comes from the age of knights and dragons and heroines in need of rescue.) One in particular made it clear that chivalry is basically kindness and should be practiced by both genders towards others.
Those who read my blog know that I believe women can be very strong, warriors for the Kingdom, able to do and be anything that God asks of them. They can make disciples, baptize them, plant churches, teach and train, give communion etc. There are no barriers in the Kingdom of God for women. But what about at a cultural/social level?
I guess I was taught how to “be a lady” from an early age. I’d never thought twice about a man opening the door for me. I’d never even considered the matter until recently.
I’m puzzled as to how to react to this and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What do you think about a man opening a door for a woman?
Is chivalry purely a cultural phenomenon? Should it be encouraged? Does it say anything about women at a spiritual level? Is chivalry a Kingdom quality?
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What can men do to open the door for women to step out into everything God has for them?
For years, my husband, Tony, opened the door for me in every conceivable way . He included me in any speaking engagement he had. He promoted my writing. He encouraged me to voice my opinions. He knew that if he “hogged the platform,” I would never have an opportunity. He laid down his giftings that I might enter mine.
Then came the day when I began being included in my own right–not just because I’m Tony’s wife. I was asked to join a national team. I had invitations to write in my own name. I was offered speaking engagements.
It’s not about becoming a “leader” or being recognized. It’s about women having the freedom to follow the Lord in every way he leads and calls. Most women are not going to seize their rights, so it may take a man opening the door for them. Are there men who will lay down their lives in this way?
Thank you, Tony!
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I am so grateful for the men who have invited me to co-labor alongside them in groups that have Kingdom significance–not as Tony’s wife, nor as the “token woman,” but in my own right, based on my calling and giftings.
The roles of leadership (servanthood) in the church are mostly dominated my males. But God is changing things. The perception of the body of Christ at large is shifting as God is bringing fresh revelation on the Scriptures that used to relegate women to passive roles, waiting for a man to take the initiative.
Many men may talk about women being co-equals, but their leadership teams are comprised of males, they speak at conferences where there are only men on the platform, they hang out in the halls of strategic influence with their male friends. Any woman of spiritual caliber is not going to bludgeon or force her way into those ranks. But will she come when invited? You bet.
Where are the men who will welcome women to join their ranks, opening the door for their participation and leadership?
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