Thursday, December 27, 2007

The ZigZag Café

We will be convening here at the ZigZag café, Suisse, on Thursdays for conversation and dialogue.

I invite you to stop by every Thursday for the question of the day. Your thoughts and participation are most welcome. Pull up a stool, avec un café, un thé, ou un chocolat chaud, et un croissant, and join in here on Thursday at the ZZ café.

For today:

Do you think women are undervalued in your church?


John said...

Well...I don't know that women are underVALUED in my church, but maybe unappreciated, at least by me. It is so easy to look at the people up front (mostly all men, in my case) and really respect them as leaders, but I fail to realize that without the help of a lot of good women around them, and behind the scenes most of the time, the church would not run as smoothly.

But women are incredibly valued in my church, and most people are good at realizing the incredibly important roles that women play to keep a place (whether a home, church, or business) running smoothly.

Joylene Green said...

a most definite YES.

I think women are severely undervalued in the many roles that they could be for the kingdom.... with men only making decisions for my church as well as an all male leadership it seems like my church is missing out on an important piece!

thanks for the great question.

Greg said...

Thanks. Women have lots of gifts that we need to both value and appreciate.

Greg said...

Thanks for the comment. Sorry to hear about the undervaluing of women in your church. Hopefully, this will change.

valerie said...

Hi Greg, (long time listener, first-time caller)

At my church there is one female pastor; she is in charge of children's ministry. I believe the lack of women in leadership roles with titles at my home church is more circumstantial, but I know there are theological reasons as well. However, I don't think that we should perceive that people who have titles in our churches are more "valuable" than people who don't. With that understood, I don't think women are undervalued in our church. I see individual women (and men) singled out and celebrated in front of the congregation frequently.

I think women are undervalued in any context where they feel unsafe or unheard. In male dominated contexts, it is difficult for women to overcome socio-cultural pressures to "remain silent" until men give them the floor. At L'Abri we've talked about white privilege; I am convinced that there is such a thing as male privilege. It's important for any formative institution--churches, schools, etc.-- to pay attention to how perspectives on gender roles are communicated in their respective environments and to intentionally strive to develop a biblically responsible rhetoric and lifestyle of masculinity and femininity.

(There's a decent presentation on this topic that's been put forward by Dr. Edee Shultze, the Dean of Student Life at Wheaton College entitled "Gender Dynamics in the Classroom at an Evangelical Christian LIberal Arts College." I have a hardcopy outline of the presentation if anyone wants a copy).

The Walk said...

At my church, we used to have one female pastor--the person in charge of children's ministry. But she is no longer there! =(

I was very close to "Suzie" (and am still in touch with her). Having grown up in the church, she was the person I was most comfortable bringing my questions and concerns to.

I think that, when possible (depending on size, resources, etc.), it is generally important to work for balance and diversity within a church staff. Not because we want to be PC, but because this is often the best way to meet the needs of our people.

Many denominations have concerns with women in certain roles (such as lead pastor). I'm fine with that, and appreciate them standing for what they believe to be biblical. Moreover, men and women are created differently, and I think that fewer women are natural church-leader-senior-pastor-types (someone can throw something at me now; I'm ducking).

But it bothers me that so few churches even have female pastor/counselors on staff (women don't bite or anything!). I think that male pastors who are humble, and good listeners, can empathize with problems that can seem unique to women. But us ladies forget that. And so we need other (safe, godly, educated) women to go to with our problems--people we can feel safe with.

Greg said...

Thanks for your insightful comment and welcome to Living Spirituality.

There's alot in perception isn't there. Glad to hear that women are valued in your church.

So many women seem to fit into being unsafe and unheard. This happens all too often in churches.

Good points on perspectives on gender roles and intentionally striving to be biblically responsible so that women are valued in all contexts.

Love to have a copy of "Gender Dynamics in the Classroom at an Evangelical Christian Liberal Arts College."

Greg said...

the walk,
Thanks for your helpful comment. Glad to hear that you're still in touch with "Suzie", even though she is no longer at your church. Important to keep up contacts where you can ask questions and express concerns openly.

I agree with you. Safety and security for women should be essential to our churches and the leadership of them.

valerie said...

Hey Greg,

I'll bring you a copy at the beginning of next term.