Monday, September 10, 2012

we "let"...

I had a conversation recently with someone about women and church leadership. It was not someone at OCC. It was similar to many other conversations I've had in the past, because at one point, this other person said, "we let women lead."

I'm sure some of you have had similar conversations. And, if I'm honest, I'm sure I've said something very much like that in the past:
  • we let women lead”;  
  • it’s so great that our church lets women lead”; 
  • our church let a woman speak this weekend, isn’t that cool?” 
I know what the intent is, but part of me now cringes when I hear phrases like this. Because I think it says something more about our assumptions and our self-focus than on what God is doing. The above statements ring with the ideology of power - men get to "allow" or "permit" women to do or not do certain things. 

This doesn't ring with the story of God's freedom: 
  • of God setting people [both men & women] free; 
  • of God breaking down barriers;
  • of God empowering [both men & women] for ministry, service, leadership; 
  • of God releasing his Spirit [in both men & women];
  • of God restoring his image [in both men & women];
  • of God unleashing and establishing his Kingdom on earth, even as it is in heaven, among both men & women.
Freedom, life, joy comes from God. Leadership, in God's church [and it is his] is less about power and more about service. It's less about control and more about following Jesus. Yes, systems and structures are necessary, but we need to be careful that we don't elevate our systems and structures above the King.

These comments are less about women and leadership [and I know some will be upset by what I have written] and more about our misuse of the language of power and control.

Your thoughts?

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