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1/27/2009

A WOMAN'S VOICE

With age, come many observations how little things ever seem to change. In the early 1970's and 1980's there was great discussion about the evils of "feminism" and how it would destroy the world and the church. People would make fun of business women donning their 'business suits' (so often shapeless copies of male apparel) so they could be taken seriously around the office. In the '80-'90s came a rediscovery of color for women in the office and a sense it was okay for a woman to look like a woman and still be taken seriously in the workplace.
Strangely, there was less discussion about the evils of "prejudice" or "male oppression" in those early days . Less awareness or concern of their impact on that same society of world and religion. I note that even in religious groups that have tacitly accepted formally women as leaders, pastors, and in other roles in their ranks, there is lingering attitudes that go unchecked.
One I noticed many years ago and am troubled to see it still around. It is measuring a woman's ability to preach by the way men preach. For a woman to be expected to preach in just the same manner as a man will be to deny her value as a uniquely crafted being reflecting the image of God. Some basic factors will remain: the need for a good hermeneutic, the need to follow the rules of a good communication, and the need for a firm theological foundation. Yet, delivery, viewpoints, and conclusions may be different because a woman will approach the topic from a different worldview, a different set of experiences, and a different set of values.
That is what is needed - that variety of viewpoint that minds and hearts to come together in unity.
What is the result of all this imbalance of the genders? One extreme is hyper-femininity i.e., (June Cleaver cleaning the oven in pearls, the hyper-modest) and hyper-masculinity (Hugh Hefner, the man-cave, and girls-gone-wild). One extreme is a woman having to mimic a man in order to be seriously accepted and respected (the man-suits). Women for centuries have seen the Gospel through the lens of a male preacher and have had to accept that as the norm. The result is myopic, blinkered, and out of kilter faith.
The goal instead should be the embracing of the variety of voices and views found when both genders share their spiritual insights. Man and Woman are like children on two sides of their Heavenly parent - both see God but from a slightly different perspective. It is only when they are joined that a more total picture of God emerges...

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