One of my friends works in Christian ministry at a large, secular university. She is passionate about Christ; she is a gifted teacher, preacher, and apologist. Her tenacious use of her spiritual gifts, her holiness, and her love for others is a model to us all. She said to me once, “Mimi, do you realize that my church spends thousands of dollars so I can lead college students, both men and women, to Christ, yet they won’t let me preach from the pulpit because I am a woman? This is not only inconsistent, it says to me that there is something wrong with being female!” Her logic was compelling, and yet her experience may explain a sad phenomenon.
Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in America, particularly among women. According to one expert, the idea of a goddess—a female deity—serves as an alternative to the prejudice some women experience in being born female.
In her insightful book, Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, Catherine Sanders points to prejudice expressed toward the female gender and the exclusion of women from positions of leadership that has led many to Wicca—a religion that gives value to women, sometimes even above men.
This is particularly tragic when you realize that the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, clearly teaches that neither gender is superior to the other. Rather, both men and women are equally:
– Created in God’s image and given dominion in Eden
– Responsible for and distorted by sin
– Redeemed by Christ and gifted by the Holy Spirit
– Responsible for using their gifts in service to Christ
It was not the God of the Bible, but the Greeks, who valued men over women. Aristotle said, “The relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.” Sadly, Greek gender-values crept early into the Church’s teachings, and it has been a long road back to Jesus. Jesus, in response to the cry, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you,” replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the Word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:27-28, NIV).
Jesus was not denying the value of his mother. Rather, he was saying that it was not her female body (the ability to bear and nurse children) that gave her value— it was her obedience to God—the same factor that gives value to men.