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Revision

On June 11, 2008

I think there's nothing more important than revision. When God matures us and leads us to a new vision or better understanding, we must revise our way of thinking even if it's a complete embarrassment to ourselves. Looking back on my life, I can see so many times when I was sure of a thing and then it turned out differently. I don't have regrets about following Him down those paths because of the lessons I learned as a result of them, but it's funny how in the end, it was not as I was so convicted about.

For example, having an egalitarian view for marriage and the church is completely different than what I had taught and been so convinced about for so long. Only a few years ago, you would find me teaching that men should lead and women should follow. I taught it quite passionately -- but even so, what always bothered me was that it always required so much defending. I saw the difficulty in the position when it came to couples who didn't fit the mold. What about couples where the wife is the more naturally gifted leader and the husband, the follower? "Well," it was explained to me, "the wife needs to hold back and give the husband a chance to lead." That sounded all right to me theoretically (after all, the wife has the opportunity to 'deny herself'), but in practical terms, I saw that it just meant that the wife would continue to come up with the ideas and visions and then have to prod and persuade her husband toward those ideas. It often becomes a subtle game of manipulation as she convinces him that something was his idea, because if she were to remain silent (in order to not lead), then they would not go anywhere. But as I have seen it, the wife rarely stays silent in this situation. The reality is that most couples end up having a more egalitarian marriage than they would profess. It just wouldn't work if pure hierarchy was the modus operandi. God really has given women brains, gifts and visions -- and without her voicing them, a couple really might possibly miss out on God's will.

I can see though how despite encountering these real-life obstructions to the complementarian mindset, revision might not take place. When I think of a Christian community which I was involved with for many years, I just think of how its culture is built on the hierarchical way of life, and if things were to change, it could cause the whole structure to crumble.

To revise when God gives you new revelation requires true humility and courage. It means you have to admit you were wrong somewhere -- and it means you need courage to step forward in a whole new direction.

In what ways have you had to make revisions in your life as you have followed God in your journey toward biblical equality?

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CBE advances the gospel by equipping Christians to use their God-given talents in leadership and service regardless of gender, ethnicity, or class. Together with supporters and ministry partners from 100 denominations and 65 countries, CBE works to inspire and mobilize women and men with the Bible’s call to lead and serve as equals.

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