Parenting with a Purpose | CBE International

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Parenting with a Purpose

J. Lee Grady on how equality affects relationships and raising daughters

Q: How would you describe your family growing up?

A: I was raised in a very traditional, Southern Baptist environment, but my parents, even though they were not taught egalitarian principles, sort of figured out that that was the way it had to be. My dad was not the kind of guy who threw his weight around or demanded obedience or had an idea that he was superior. That just wasn’t on his radar screen, so it was a healthy environment to be raised in. I think that’s why when I got married, [a complimentarian view of marriage] was not my viewpoint, even though I had not been taught from Scripture egalitarian principles.

Q: How did you work out the kind of relationship you were going to have with your wife?

A: Somehow there was an instinctive understanding in me before I got married. I always believed women could be released in ministry because of exposure I had to women ministers in charismatic or Pentecostal circles, who were even in positions of senior leadership. In terms of marriage, even though I had been in churches that tend to lead toward a complimentary view of marriage, I was always skeptical of that. Somehow my wife and I were able to just work that out in our own relationship. And then when we began to be exposed to egalitarian books and messages, we knew that that’s what we believed.

Q: You dedicated your book to your four daughters, ages 16, 14, 12 and 9. How do you think your daughters understand equality?

A: My girls have heard me preach this message, [so] to them it’s like, “How could it be any other way?” They probably take it for granted that this is the way it is, because they’ve not really been exposed to any other way. When they hear me describe the way some churches view women or the way some churches might treat girls their age, they’re horrified. In a sense they’ve been shielded from that. I don’t know that they fully appreciate the environment that they have because that’s just what they’ve always had.

Q: How does biblical equality affect the way you view your daughters’ futures?

A: The older ones hear me say things like, “Maybe you’ll be a pastor” or “Do you want to be in youth ministry?” Of course I don’t know what their ultimate calling is in life, but I tell them many times that ministry is certainly an option, and I would totally encourage that. I would be thrilled if they wanted to be pastors or youth pastors or worship leaders or whatever they want to be. They also know that I believe they are individuals, and that their destiny doesn’t hinge on what their [future] husband does. They know I love them, and I care for them, and I want the best for them, but they also know that their destiny does not hinge on his career or calling. They have a calling, and if they get married, their calling is still their calling.

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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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