This week Rachel Held Evans is doing a series on mutuality/egalitarianism. After a great conversation with a friend today, I thought I would try to post some of my thoughts on the topic.
When I was sixteen or so, I remember having Sunday dinner with much of my mom's side of the family. Somehow the topic of women in leadership came up, and a middle-aged man at the table was very much opposed to women being pastors (even though he was part of a denomination that ordains women). Always one with an opinion on things, I piped up, "Paul says there are no males or females in Christ Jesus," and before I could even finish my thought, that relative told me I was "reading too much into the Bible."
I still get angry when I think about this conversation. As a result of it, as well as other issues I have with domineering or absent or jerky men, I have spent much of my Christian life with the attitude, "I am woman, hear me roar." I questioned my youth pastor's wife about "wasting her degree." I even remember when I was getting to know my (now) husband, I made sure he was okay with women in ministry. I wasn't going into ministry, but I knew I couldn't be married to someone who thought such a thing was wrong.
Over the years I have been a part of different churches and different denominations. I know of A/G pastors who won't let women preach from "their" pulpit (even though the denomination allows women to be pastors), and I personally know a Baptist pastor who wants his denomination to change its stance on the issue (and said so from the pulpit in a very respectful way). My favorite pastor, who happens to be female, dedicated my first born, yet I find myself annoyed at the way some women want us all to "fight" for our rights to be heard. I read Mark Driscoll and John Piper, and glean from them even though I do not agree with every thing they say on every issue. I don't agree with a lot of what Rachel Held Evans writes either, and yet I still find things from her blog that encourage and edify me.
Being a stay-at-home mother (by choice) has only added to my questions about egalitarianism.
Can I be an egalitarian when I believe a woman who chooses to be a mom should put aside their career goals and concentrate to the best of her ability on raising her kids?
Can I be an egalitarian when I struggle with liking women who I see put their family's needs, wants, and best interests on the back burner for more degrees, more accolades, more opportunities?
Can I be an egalitarian when I believe that no matter how awesome of a dad The Hubs is (and he is awesome), I would hate it if he was a stay-at-home-dad because I feel it is my "job" to be the main caregiver for our young children?
Can I be an egalitarian when I think the double-income-keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality we have in our society is a cause of so many of our problems in our country, and when I think things would be better if there were still more families willing to live off of one income so that moms could stay at home and able to be VBS teachers and room moms and such?
If not, that is fine. But I don't fit in the complemenetarian camp either because...
I don't think women are just called to work in the nursery or the church kitchen.
The Hubs used to be the one who did more of the cooking and cleaning when he was in school and I was working full time.
I do know of a few working moms that I admire, like my aunt-in-law - who have raised fabulous kids and have made them a priority and make me think that it could be possible for me to work and be a mommy if I had to do it.
I take out the trash. Not every week. But it's not The Hubs' job. It's the job of whoever remembers it's Monday morning.
I have an advanced degree that I was encouraged to get. And it was not a waste of time or money.
My husband is not the boss of me. (Nor am I the boss of him.) We may argue about things sometimes. We may not always agree. But I cannot think of a time in our marriage where he has played the "because I'm the man" card. We make decisions together.
See? Once again I do not quite fit anywhere. But labels are highly over-rated.