MY VOICE IS MISSING
I am a 65 year old woman, and I was “raised in the church.” I graduated from Lipscomb. We took our children to church three times a week. I belong to a conservative congregation of about 1000. When we placed membership there I promised God that I would not leave unless they kicked me out.
I must say that I am disappointed in the way my daughters were taught as they grew up, but anti-feminism was just part of it. When my daughter was struggling with questions involving drugs, alcoholism, sexual identity, and abortion, she was being taught at church that it was immodest for a boy to take off his shirt in public, and that “no instrumental music” was the most important belief in Christianity. It was an almost complete disconnect with the real world.
I don’t think that anti-feminism will keep anybody out of heaven, though. If I leave my congregation, I’m removing the help that I’ve been to them and depriving myself of the help they’ve given me. There is no lack of work for me, and I feel my gifts are adequately recognized. I do constantly harass the “establishment” every time I get a chance. If they’re complaining about not having enough people to serve communion, I remind them that they’ve disqualified half the congregation.
I used to care more about the gender inequalities, but as I’ve gotten older I find that they matter less to me. My congregation has given me encouragement, prayer, casseroles, and honey-baked hams to help me weather personal storms which are still raging. They can help me because they’ve known me for 37 years. I can help them for the same reason. Somebody once told me that a congregation should be like a huge family reunion where everybody knows that Uncle Phil will get drunk, but he’s still got a place at the table. Joe and Ed will bore everyone to death discussing politics, and Bill and Lois haven’t spoken to Marion and Ruth for years, but everybody’s still part of the family, and they all have a place set for them at the table.
I do recognize that the conservative church is driving away many Christians. The Church of Christ is losing women who would otherwise be preachers, counselors, leaders, and workers because they are repulsed by the discrimination. It’s a loss, but not one I feel personally called to correct. I think God will keep His church intact, and His Christians are going to be found in many denominations. Christians only, not the only Christians.
Somebody once said that it is easy to confuse theological insight with spiritual growth. In the past I have delighted in theological insight, but I now find myself forced to deal with spiritual growth. The theology was more fun.