Thursday, July 2, 2020


It can be difficult as a woman in theology to know exactly how to use my voice, whatever the context. It's tempting in women's ministry to want to embody that gentle, optimistic, graceful beauty that I despise so much about women's ministry because I have been so conditioned to believe that is what is at the heart of it. If I do not embrace this sort of approach, I often hear that my theology is too harsh; that I do theology "like a man."

But if I do theology the way that I want to, even the men are prone to not listen because they think that I, as a woman, have nothing to offer to their theology. Either I'm a poser, trying to copy their voice in theology by adding my own to it, or I am still but a woman, and men are resistant to the idea of adding a 'gentleness' to their theology of power and decisiveness.

What if my theology offered them both simply a strength?

When I was working as a chaplain for the first time, I was blessed to have an amazing group of mentors and advisers around me. And as I presented one of my case studies, a wonderful woman of God simply asked me why I was letting my female voice be pushed aside simply because the patient was male. Was I talking to him differently, not out of my own authentic voice?

She said that women have a unique perspective in the world, and that's the way that God made them. It is necessary for us, then, to draw on our perspective and our voice to help broaden what men are able to see on their own. We don't have to simply slide in beside them and try to see the world through their eyes; we are designed to help them to see more.

So I went back to Genesis, and she was right. God created the world, and it was good, but it wasn't very good until man was not alone; until man had a helpmeet in woman. It wasn't very good until the man had someone alongside him who saw things differently and invited him to move beyond his own understanding into something that he couldn't relate to quite as well.

That means that from the very beginning, men and women were created to make each other better, and we do that by being the male or female that God created us to be. We do that by listening to one another and learning those things about God and the world that our own creation keeps us from seeing with our own eyes.

We have for too long accepted and perpetuated the myth that men lead and women follow, particularly in light of the fact that Paul talks about a mutuality in our relationships with and love for one another and Genesis clearly presents a 'walking beside' between men and women. We have too long pushed women's voices into the recesses of theology called 'women's ministry' because men don't think the woman's voice is what they are looking for in their theology.

Maybe it's not what they're looking for, but what if it is what they need? Would you really be willing to miss out on some beautiful truth about God that you could never see on your own just because a woman happened to say it?

Women were designed as helpmeets, and we have something in our unique voice to offer to the men in our world if they're listening.

You might even say it would be 'very good.'

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