Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gender Ministry

I read an article today that struck a chord in me.  It talked about a woman who hated, or at least really disliked, women's ministry.  This woman started talking about how she wasn't a tea and beauty kind of girl.  She was tired of hearing how beautiful she was through the eyes of God.  She was tired of being shown the "perfect Godly" woman.  (See article here)

I have to admit, I'm not a girly girl.  I feel awkward and out of place at those tea parties that get hosted so often in women's ministry.  I feel like a bull in a china shop when we do a "beauty tips" lesson.  Even worse, I feel loud, and pushy, and un-woman-like when I declare my dislike of certain books of the Bible.  (My least favorite is Esther...I know, I know how can I not like that book?  I'm weird, I admit it.)

I have attended women's Bible studies for the last 7 or 8 years and can honestly say I've never felt like I fit.  Why in the world would I keep going for that long if I was never comfortable?  For a long time, I couldn't figure it out.  I'm really not a glutton for punishment.  I don't enjoy being uncomfortable, nor do I enjoy being on the outside of a group looking in. 

I had thought that women's Bible study was a part of being Christian.  You know what, I still think it is.  Once a week I may have been uncomfortable, out of place, and more than a little lost.  Once a week I stated my unpopular opinions, feelings and thoughts.  Once a week I drug my Bible and my kids down the street to church and braced for the worst. 

I'm better for it.  I know I am.  Since I steadfastly endured the opinions and thoughts of others, I have become more understanding of those whose situations in life have differed from mine.  I have learned patience...and I've learned to shut my mouth.  I've learned to stand against wrong thoughts and to state the unpopular Biblical facts.  I've learned that God does not ask me to be comfortable, nor does He expect me to be silent when truth is needed.  God often asks me to curb my own instincts and fight my own nature. 

I still don't like the book of Esther.  I'd still rather study the WHOLE book of Proverbs rather than just Ch 31.  I still don't like beauty sessions or dress up tea parties.  I'm not sure that will ever change. 

So, while I understand the above mentioned woman, with her dislike of "women's ministry", and I understand her need to study the WHOLE Bible and not just the parts that apply to women, I also hope that she keeps going to those women's studies.  You see, there are people at those studies who need her...they need her frankness, her lack of vanity, her intensity in reaching God, her determination to focus on GOD and not self.  However, she needs them too.  She needs to remember that women are beautiful, that they do play certain roles in life, that God does call on us to improve our "womanly ways".  If those things were not true and necessary, they would not be written about in the Bible. 

Ladies, don't give up on your women's Bible study groups.  There is a balance and while it is not always going to be comfortable or fun, it is going to grow you and change you.  God asks that of us...stagnant growth is as bad as stagnant water.  No one wants that. 

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