When the curtain on male headship is pulled back, it shrinks from the light of logic and truth. Consider the most recent defense of male headship by John Piper. He offers three reasons why he believes it will endure, but in pulling the curtain back, we find each deeply flawed.
In her book, Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else, Melanie Springer Mock critiques the Christian culture which labels people and puts them into boxes. She then affirms God’s heart for every individual by emphasizing how much he loves them, regardless of what the world might think. She shares many experiences from her own life, both painful and positive, that helped challenge her thinking.
When I view my singleness as a situation, I can "give thanks in all circumstances." But when it becomes an identity, shame creeps in. I think of my worth in terms of supply and demand. Meditate with me on how God's love changes everything.
It matters that Mary and Jesus are often inaccurately imaged with light skin in the West. It matters that pastors preach on Jacob, David, and Peter but not Rahab, Tamar, and Priscilla. And it matters that, Sunday after Sunday, women don’t see preachers who look like us in the pulpit.
One of the key issues faced by women in the church is the lack of provision for ongoing leadership development. Even in churches that espouse gender equality, women woefully lack leadership opportunities, especially on the platform.
Nancy Lammers Gross effectively uses the story of Miriam to establish a Biblical point of reference to encourage women preachers to use their full body instrument to its greatest capacity for the proclamation of the gospel. Additionally, to help readers more fully understand the complexities many women face in connecting to their own voice, Gross chronicles the stories of women with whom she worked. She then utilizes the final chapters of the book to walk the reader through exercises to use the full body instrument that God has given each one.
Recently, Perry Noble, pastor of megachurch New Spring, wrote an article defending the idea that women should preach. To that, theologian Tom Schreiner wrote a response for The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).
I’m not sure if I ever totally believed that the Bible mandated inequality between the sexes, but that’s just the way it was. I grew up in a church that didn’t necessarily preach such inequalities, but practiced them none the less. By their example I understood that there was a “man’s place” and a “woman’s place.” The men held positions of leadership and the women were in charge of the nursery and potluck dinners.
As the one shepherding my congregation through worship, I want to make sure the songs we sing express the fullness of the Christian experience, including the female Christian experience. Who is writing the contemporary songs we sing? What backgrounds do they come from and, specifically, how many women are penning the church’s anthems? Not many.