These days I have lots of friends I have never met and I am surprised by how much a part of my life they are. A few months ago I stumbled upon a blog by Rachel Held Evans (I am not even sure how). Then I got her book on Audible.com and she rode shotgun with me while I eagerly listened to her every word. Together we laughed and we cried. Rachel is actually someone that I have had the privilege of meeting and lived to blog about it here. After a couple months of reading Rachel’s blog and several others it lead me to, including Sarah Bessey’s, I had an epiphany of sorts… I had something to say! For those who actually have met me in person it will be hard to believe that I would be at a loss for words, but because of past experiences over time I unwittingly became (or tried to appear to be…) ladylike. For me, most of the time meant biting my tongue. I am a natural talker and strong woman with leadership skills that don’t involve kids, crafts or tea and little sandwiches. Outside of my church life, this was never a problem, in fact it was seen as a strength in most areas: high school, college, bar tending, and in the art departments where I worked after college. No, it was only in my church life and with my church friends (I never thought I kept my life separate and I most ways I didn’t but when it came to my behavior and how much I spoke up and took a leadership role I was definitely leading a divided life) that I felt the need to be less _________ and more ___________ than I am. You could fill in those blanks with all kinds of words. I was always either too much (Alise Wright) or not enough (Rachel Held Evans). At one point I even had a friend (someone I admired and whom I love very much) write down verses and talk to me about how I needed to speak less and be more dispassionate about what I had to say. That one act both upset me greatly and muted me for a long time. I became somewhat convinced, in a very conflicted way, that there was something wrong with me. It took me a lot of years, the support of my husband and a lot of listening to the voices of other women who were tired of being quiet, dispassionate and ladylike to finally be okay with releasing my true and authentic voice: the one God gave me.
These days, I am much less “ladylike” (Webster: feeling or showing too much concern about elegance or propriety or lacking in strength, force, or virility) and also much “less divided” as my friend Kathy Escobar (who I get to meet in October!) said in her recent post (you must read it, you must read it now!). It is one I am printing out and keeping to read and reread whenever I need it, kind of like my emergency chocolate. Like my friend Kathy, today I am happy. She writes,
the thing that makes me happy right now is that many people i know are finding freedom and becoming less divided. we’re breaking free. we’re finding our way. we’re loosening shame’s grip. we’re stepping into who God made us to be.
These are a few of the closest friends I’ve never met, let me introduce them to you my lovelies, you will never meet a finer, more fierce, more passionate group of leaders anywhere. There’s Kathy and Rachel and Sarah and Alise and Jo and so many more. It is in large part because of these women that I am able to be truly free to serve Jesus with all that I am. It is my great privilege to join their voices and add mine to their mission to bring freedom to all God’s children, men and women together.
Today one of these women, Pam Hogeweide wrote a brilliant post in response to The True Woman Manifesto which was posted on truewoman.com. I want to share it with you. It is truly inspired.
- We believe that male and female are created to collaborate, co-lead and co-exist in a mutuality of submission to one another. (Gen 2:18 – 23,Galatians 3:28)
- We believe that gifting is appointed according to the will of the Holy Spirit and that calling is determined by gifting, not gender. (1 Corinthians 12, John 20:1 – 20)
- We believe that the power of the Gospel restores men and women in right relationship to one another to live, serve and lead side by side rather than in patriarchal hierarchy. (Galatians 3:28, John 4:7 – 39)
- We believe that the voice, influence and authority of women is meant to be fully unleashed in accordance to the full personhood that women possess. Male headship is a myth. (Joel 2:28 – 29, 1 Peter 2:9 – 10)
- We believe in the mutual submission and partnership of marriage where neither has authority over another by virtue of gender. We reject the headship/submission model as a biblical truth and instead embrace the liberty and wisdom of deference to the other. (Ephesian 1:22, Ephesians 5: 15 – 33, 1 Peter 5:5)
- We believe that the leadership of women is needed in full partnership with the leadership of men in all arenas of culture and church. Women were not created to follow anymore than men were created to lead. (Numbers 12:15, Judges 4 & 5, 2 Kings 22:13 – 14, Acts 2, Romans 16:3 – 4, 7)
- We believe that Jesus modeled a radical agenda of respecting women’s full personhood in how he treated them as noted in the Gospels. Jesus went against cultural and religious norms in his treatment of women. (Luke 13:10 – 17, John 4, Luke 8:1 – 3, etc.….)
- We believe that men and women of faith ought to resist the injustice of inequality wherever it is found, including the halls of the church. Justice is a kingdom of God value and is the language of love. (Hosea 2:19, Amos 5:15, 24, Micah 6:8)
- Your Existence Gives me Hope (wordofawoman.com)
- In Defense of the ‘Unladylike’ Christian Woman (blogher.com)
- Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church (wordofawoman.com)
- Conversation Over. (wordofawoman.com)
- If all are Martha Stewart where is Amelia Earhart? (wordofawoman.com)