My husband lovingly calls me a “glass half empty” person. “Sometimes it’s even three-quarters empty,” he told me the other day. (It must have been a particularly rough day—sorry, honey!)
It’s true. I crave order and balance, and a world corrupted by sin doesn’t offer much of either. My reactions to gender issues are often of the strong negative quality. I get angry, frustrated, depressed by the way people, including Christians, willingly oppress one another.
The fact is, I’ve seen some things that would disturb the most devoted optimist. I was going to list some of them here, but based on your comments on Brandon’s recent post, you don’t need me to convince you that the church can be a downer!
When I’m staring at the bottom of the glass, my husband reminds me that the tap is nearby, ready to provide a refill. There are good things happening out there, too, that should encourage me.
For example, my conservative congregation has just opened up ushering and public Bible reading to women. Granted, they have a long way to go, but this is a major move for a church in our denomination.
This fall, a complementarian theologian declared at a public meeting that egalitarians are winning the gender debate. Of course, his purpose in making that point was to spur his like-minded colleagues to more aggressive strategies, but still, it’s good to know that the message of biblical equality is being heard loud and clear.
And (ok, this starts off as a negative, but keep reading) last year a friend was distraught because her seminary advisor had just told her there wasn’t much point in her going on to a Ph.D.—despite her clear academic gifts—because a seminary doctorate was only useful for teaching theology, and of course, it would be a sin for her to teach men preparing for the ministry. Get to the good part, you say? That woman is now completing a doctorate in Church and State at a major university and presented a paper at this year’s Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting.
So, yeah, my glass-half-empty orientation is not completely without cause. But we must encourage each other in the victories, because with God’s gifting and leading, we are making a difference. By our teaching of Scripture and our application of it to our relationships with one another, we are declaring a message for which the whole world thirsts: the hope of the gospel of Christ fills the emptiest of souls to overflowing.