women's equality: we emerge at different paces from different places


Blast from the past. Took a wonderful trip down the blog rabbit trail this morning and ran into this post via bobbie. We all are effected and molded by various events in our lives and it is kind of fun and enlightening, sometimes sobering to look back and see where your own path has taken you. Especially in matters of belief and conviction. in reading this article about egalitarianism* I was sort of surprised to find a name I recognized mentioned as a complementarian. (And don't think that I even knew the definition of those two words until 10 seconds ago).

The name mentioned seemed familiar and so thanks to the web I checked it out.


The guy that did Bryan's and my premarital counseling. He was a stellar scholar and was cranking out papers and such when we were in college. One of our professors but probably only five minutes older than Bryan and I, this man (and his wife) sort of did the premarital advice thing that was in vogue at the time for anyone considering marriage and attending a christian university.

Honestly, I don't remember much about the counseling except that he and his wife split us up to talk to us separately as well as together. Heck it was over twenty years ago. But it is interesting to think that he went on to write a book called Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15. This work basically analyzed the text and argued the two opposing views. His view was complementarian. He has written scads of books since then and has undoubtedly contributed great things to the world of scripture dissection. And twenty years ago he was a good teacher, friend, and counselor. But the institution's perspective on women in ministry was subtly represented.

What is interesting to me is how easy it is to adopt a belief or conviction when you are in some sort of relationship with someone that you might otherwise reject. So the beginning of my spiritual journey included an institutionally sanctioned indoctrination of the woman's place in ministry. Which at the time really flew in the face of having been raised by a very capable, self-sufficient, business woman, single mom. At the age of nineteen I was getting some pretty big mixed messages.

One was, "you can do or be anything you want to be." (my mom)

The other was, "you can do or be anything you want to be, but there are some limits especially in ministry leadership...ok you can peel carrots and take care of kids." (the church=god). "oh yea and teach...other women".

During my university experience I was sexually assaulted (which is a whole 'nother post) and in a small christian university community that can be a big deal. So much so that during a chapel (where the students get together twice a week for service) the president of the college saw fit to take time to get up and announce this event and then lecture the girls on safety and female modesty. Yes, female modesty.

Think about that.

This should have been a defining moment for me, and I should have been mad as hell, but I was fairly new to the christian subculture and I was a sinner after all, and these people all knew more than me... but that lecture was like a second (worse) assault.

At this point I was 20ish, and was not only being given the subtle message as a woman about what my identity should be by the church (therefore god), but that when men commit illegal acts towards women it is somehow the woman's fault. And honestly, at that point I believed that it must have been god's will, or god allowed because "all things work together for good..."

I guess I went down this road this morning because I was reminded that as part of a spiritual timeline our actions that are born from convictions DO matter. You can say "god is in control" all you want, but as believers we are called to stand for our convictions not sit in chairs and wait for someone else to raise their hand and sheepishly say..."umm... wait a minute... jesus didn't teach this or that." As a woman I live in a period of history and political location that makes claims that there is equality. The truth is as a country we aren't there yet, and the church is decades, DECADES, behind. And I am one of the truly privileged women because I have a husband that does not hold to what amounts to traditional christian behaviors, but actually lives the cross the way jesus taught and cherishes his woman. In our marriage we are equal partners. And I am enhanced and blessed by that, and we have been able to raise a son that holds the next generation of convictions about women. That is how to change the world.

So I continue to walk this timeline and marvel at what it is to be part of history by being a woman with a voice when not-so-long-ago men of the church were debating if women even had souls.

We emerge at different paces from different places. All of my life's experiences thus far have brought me to this point and it will be interesting looking back in another twenty years and (hopefully) be able to see how far I've (we've, everyone) come.

n : the doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality [syn: equalitarianism]


Blair, I found your blog through your comment at CBE's Scroll. Thanks for posting this post. It is very interesting and people need to hear these things. The part about "modesty" is astonishing. I've heard other similar stories and I'm always amazed that these things happen.

Keep blogging.


You honor me with your comment. And I have to say that I SOOO appreciate your blog which was a recent discovery for me. Keep up the good work.

Regarding my post. Re-reading it the tone may sound bitter. I am not. Looking back now I am "astonished" (as you said) that something that I think would be obviously inappropriate (heck, lawsuit material) was totally acceptable then. Hindsight I guess. Hey, we all move forward together...slowly.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Blair published on April 5, 2006 8:15 AM.

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