Monday, February 4, 2008

"I am no man"

My favorite Lord of the Rings quote, spoken by Eowyn to the Wraith King before she slays him. Bring it. :)

This quote and several discussions I've been having lately prompt a very important question: "What is the role of women in the church?" Should women be in leadership? When Peter and Paul write about women and their role, do we take their writings literally or within the context of their culture? More specifically, if I want to be more involved in my own church, am I "limited" to singing in the choir, teaching Sunday school and helping to make meals, or is there a greater role I can play? Another question: is it "wrong" or out of line to think that women should and ought to be in positions of leadership, as their skills and abilities allow, whether in academia (writing about and teaching theology) or the church (acting as an elder or being ordained as a minister)?

I know many others are having this conversation, I'm just processing through it on my own for the first time and would love to hear your thoughts! What do you think?


Alayna said...

I think women should have every role available to them in the church. If a woman feels led to become a pastor and preach, she should have every right to do so.

However, if a woman wants to have a role in her church that's not so large as being the pastor, she should have every opportunity to help in every reasonable way the men do.

(Reasonable meaning, any non-physically specific task, like carrying heavy things)

That's my 2 cents. :)

Joel said...

i actually got into this exact discussion with a girl in youth group. it was her opinion that women should not be pastors or elders. she said that those are roles that should be reserved for men. i dont really have much of an opinion on the subject, as at the moment, it has very little pertinence to me. I think equal rights are a no brainer tho.

ps. i actually really dont like that line. hehe.

Steve Ruberg said...

It seems to me that men AND women have been created to reflect the image of God (Genesis). And even while Greek, Roman, and especially Jewish society of the first century treated women very badly Christ brought them in as full participants. While there were no women apostles there were many women disciples. I believe we should look at the distance that Christ traveled to restore women as equal representatives of the image of God and attempt match ot exceed his example. Full participation is what I see and that means all areas of leadership; Lydia appeared to be the leader of her church in the first century.

But if you happen to be working in a culture that traditionally does not encourage full participation then I think you have to go along and notmake an issue of it. The only other alternative might be to start you own work - then you can make the rules! And I'll vote for you.

LynnaeEtta said...

Alayna: what's wrong with carrying heavy things? :)

Joel: Which line don't you like? The one about equality or Eowyn's? If it's the latter, we might have a problem...

Dad: Agreed. According to Genesis, Eve was created to complete Adam - God called her an 'ezer' ('strong helper' in Hebrew, similar to the idea of an ally), which some communities have translated to mean 'behind the scenes' or 'not able to lead men'. I guess where I got hung up was on the Paul and Peter passages where women are commanded to be submissive. Peter even relates husband/wife relationships to master/slave! But if you look at Jesus' interaction with women and God's original design, women are anything but subordinates. Is it passé to say that Peter and Paul were just caught up in the throes of their culture?

Women, like men, are called to serve. If their specific skills and gifts fit leading a congregation or teaching or running for President (for you, Dad :) ), so be it!

Steve Ruberg said...

I find it really frustrating that theologians (in Judaism, Islam, Christianity) muddle important issues up like this. You'd think spending a life working on this they would have gotten a better understanding of this beautiful concept that the two genders together - somehow - show a true image of what God is like. So yes I think Peter and Paul had to address things like this within the context of their cultures. And I think its likely that Jesus couldn't have female apostles due to culture. You can only take things so far with people who are chained to their ideas and that would have been huge for first century folk of many cultures.

And my comment about "going along and not making an issue of it" . I wrote that with you in mind going to different cultures - here or internationally. In your own culture, let them hear your case.

Adam said...


A little behind but you better take part in the church in whatever way possible. I think that you have a coherent and intelligent voice that needs to be heard and it doesn't matter if you are male or female. I don't even want to get into the debate, I just think it would be a disservice if someone has a voice or word that needs to be heard and is silenced.

Alayna said...

oh you know what I mean by carrying heavy things; it was just an example. Men are more cut out to do hard physical things than women are because that's the way they're made.

Whereas women are more cut out to do other things - like giving birth. :)

Joel said...

The Eowyn line. lol. I think its a good line, but for some reason i get this little OCD twitch every single time she says it. I dont know why. Something about the way she says it or her face just like, bugs me. Its the wannabe film snob in me. :D

LynnaeEtta said...

Adam: thanks! I'm not totally sure what I have to say that people need or want to hear, or if it's even my place to say anything just yet (more because of age and experience than gender)...but you're right: if you've got a voice, use it! I started talking with my pastor about the issue (of women in leadership) and it's opening up some doors for other conversations, so we'll see what happens. :)

Alayna: of course I knew what you meant. I just had to be difficult. :)

Joel: a nervous tic? What, is it a poorly-acted line or something? I think it's the most compelling line in the whole movie! (Okay, maybe not, but it's definitely up there...)

Joel said...

not nervous. just like... aggravation. I just hate the way she delivers the line.