More than a Pretty Face

It600full-audrey-hepburn is concerning how often we tell girls and women how beautiful they are and how little we tell them how smart, capable, and gifted they are. Sadly, the Church has been among those who treat women more like dainty, beautiful fine china. Yes, we have been told we are “valuable” over and over, but another message is getting mixed in which screams “You are valuable because of your beauty and ability to be submissive to a man.”

Strangely, women in the Church have been encouraged to look more like beautiful servants than beautiful warriors. While Jesus most certainly calls all of his Church to serve, not one of us is called to identify as a “servant.”

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you (John 15:15). -Jesus

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir (Galatians 4:7). -Paul 

We are not pretty little assistants to men; we are daughter’s of the most high God – The King of Kings! Our identity should be found in the fact that God is our Father. This makes us royal no matter what we look or act like!

Patriarchy in the Church has caused women to have “identity confusion,” which has led to Christian women focusing on their looks, getting plastic surgery at 30 years old, obsessively dieting and working out, taking 800 selfies a day because we never feel pretty enough, comparing, backbiting, frustration, low self-esteem, and epidemic insecurity.

We have to expect our secular culture to be caught up in all of this, but why are us Christian ladies struggling so much to find ourselves outside of our appearances. Perhaps one huge reason is because we have not been given many responsibilities in the Church. We have been told over and over, “The men got this.”

Oh, but we are SO. MUCH. MORE. than a pretty face!

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What if I told you that you are needed in the Church even if you never really considered yourself a minister? Sure, there are some amazing women who we need to continue to bake cookies, bring meals to new mothers, and manage the children; but when this is all we are permitted to do then there is no place for the women who don’t like to bake, make meals, or manage children. Therefore, these women are left to find their purposes outside of the walls of the Church.

How sad is this when there are women sitting in the pews who are math wizards and could be helping to manage the church finances, women who are teachers and could be teaching youth and adult Sunday school classes, women who are gifted communicators and could be preaching on Sunday mornings, women who are gifted writers and could be helping to write curriculum or bulletins, women who are highly influential and could be leading people, and the list goes on.

Women have not been allowed  or encouraged to use their gifts in the Church unless their gifts happen to be with cooking, children, or singing. How tragic! How can a Church truly be healthy without the balance of female and male gifts? It is no wonder Christian women are left to find their purposes out in the world. How much the Christian Church is missing out on!

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It is time for some men to take a seat. Ouch, I know that hurts a little, but if there is a female in the church who can do a job better than a man, is more experienced, is more educated, and is simply more gifted in a certain area; why would we not want that person in the role despite their gender? There are far too many men operating in church roles who are not even that good at their position. Yet, they are still favored for the responsibility at hand because they are a man!

Roles for women in the Body of Christ are narrow-minded and leave most of us marginalized. I am just being real here; I have a BS in Church Ministry, MA in Christian Doctrine and History, and years of ministry experience and I still struggle to find a job! Heck, I struggle to find places in the church where I can work for free (unless it is in children’s ministry of course).

This is a really big problem; not just for me who wants to be in full-time ministry, but also for everyday Christian women who just want to be more involved in their churches and would like to share their gifts with their congregations.

So what do we do? We first find our identity in being a daughter of God. We are strong, we are capable, we are smart, we are gifted, and we are NOT satisfied with the limited roles we are being offered. It is time to stop being content with the way things are and speak up for each other. Women are powerful when we come together. We are half of the Church and our voice and gifts matter. When we know who we belong to and that we are needed, we are no longer content to stay silent.

“Breaking the Glass Steeple” is going to take some time ladies, so we must be patient and trust God to open up doors for us, but we do not have to take a passive role! This is why I started this blog. I struggled to find a platform in the Church, so I created my own platform. Patriarchy in the church has tried to hold us down by making us afraid to speak up. The Bible has been taken out of context in hopes of shutting our mouths. Will you continue to sit pretty or will you roar like the warrior-princess you were intended to be?

“Have Courage and Be Kind” -Cinderella’s Mother

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  • Amen! Jury, it’s so encouraging to see that there are people, such as yourself, speaking out. I know the pain and frustration of which you speak. I learned a long time ago that as a woman, I couldn’t sit around and wait for an invitation or permission to serve God and use my gifts. We do have to use creativity and make our own platforms. I believe that a huge tragedy of patriarchal ideology is that it in large not only leaves women out of teaching/preaching roles, but it leaves women out of the theological and spiritual discussion. Patriarchy declares, “We need the men to stand up!”, but the unstated is that the women need to sit down. This is twisted and sad! I am thankful that God still allows us to be who He called us to be. I do pray that God will open more eyes to how valuable men and women are together in His work. God Bless you

  • It’s interesting how the pendulum swings…I grew up in a church where the women ruled and the men were spiritually impotent. So when the evangelical movement started and men were being called out to lead and grow spiritually, that was a good thing. It didn’t take a “title” to know who was really running
    the church(the women). HA! Where there is a vacuum, women will always step up to fill it. So in that situation, women stepped back to let the men be stretched into leadership and have a bigger voice. So the pendulum swung in the other direction. Will it stop at the middle, where men and women have equal opportunity at positions in the church? There are definitely denominations that have given that opportunity…they don’t seem to be the ones that are growing, however. Why not? (serious question) Then I know some Bible teaching independent churches who allow women in the pulpit with authority, but these same women are limited by their role as mom which at certain ages of children is very demanding. You have to factor in motherhood as a reason why women can’t take on full responsibility
    of a congregation. It’s a practical issue as well as supposedly a Biblical issue. A child wants her/his mom more than anybody else. And you know me…I am willing to be “shot down” on any of this:) I
    am seeking answers, too. I know we are in different generations, and you weren’t around before
    the evangelical movement with the pendulum the other way.

    • Thank you for your comment Betty. I hear what you are saying. It would be annoying if the women were doing all the work and the men were doing nothing, but I personally have not seen this in my lifetime. Of course, I want to be a mother a lot and once I have a child, I will learn to balance it all. But I think the father should take care of the child 50% of time if the mother works any full-time job. I am not sure of the stats, but I personally know a couple that the husband and the wife are pastors of different churches. The husband’s church attracts the older crowd and is less successful than the wife’s church that brings in the younger (I guess more progressive crowd). Not that you are not beautiful, young, and hip…hehe. Anyways, at the end of the day, I believe women are called to serve in church leadership just as much as men. Female leadership helped to grow the early church at rapid speeds. You are right, women step in where they are needed. The problem now though, is that women are often more educated than men and are not getting opportunities to use their education and gain experience in the church or get paid for their callings. While no one goes into ministry to make money, it would be nice to be able to make a living like all male church leaders do pretty much. For the churches that do have female pastors that are not growing, I think there is most certainly still a stigma and many people don’t yet trust female leaders. I think this is the male ego, as well as many men and women being unwilling to let go of what they have been taught. 🙂

      • Have I just been taught a bunch of lies about the original perfect intent in the Garden? That man was created first and his job was assigned to relate to the outside world (tilling, naming animals) and the woman was taken out of his side and together they were called to be fruitful and multiply? And inherent in how she was made to conceive and carry the child made her the primary nurturer? Of course the fall tainted everything about that, but it didn’t change the original intent and creation mandate. Certainly I believe that dads should be fully engaged in parenting but how do you measure 50/50? You just can’t be formulaic in this. Children do not fit into a calendar schedule. The theory sounds good but it never works out that way in the best intentions. This sets both parents up for failing to perform their required %. Even in the modern age, it is the woman who is uniquely equipped to nurture children. Most of the career woman I have known dreaded the day they had to leave their child to go back to work….even the more feminist ones. There is something that happens between mother and child that supersedes any accolade in the outside world. At least that has been my observation. I love you and respect you and I hope you don’t mind this discussion. I DO know you are passionate about your calling and I support you…I’m just trying to figure it all out.

        • I take NO offense to any of your questions Betty, so you never have to worry about that! There are more and more theological studies coming out that teach “the first adam” was actually fully male and fully female. Many are coming to believe that Adam (which means human or something of that sort) was actually a he/she. I know that sounds weird, but there truly is viable evidence when using the original languages to interpret. So, Adam was literally split in half, Eve was literally taken out of Adam to create two separate bodies (male & female). The word “helper” does not mean what traditionalist have made it to mean. I wrote about what “helper” means here:

          I agree that 50/50 is impossible, but I do think it should be as close to this as possible if both the man and woman is working full-time. The truth is that women have always worked and the idea that a woman should not work is an American idea (not a Christian one). Think of how hard the Proverbs 31 woman worked. I agree that women are the primary nurturers, but that does not make their role more “needed” than the fathers. The father seems to be the equipped to be a primary protector. So, maybe the mom will do more than 50% when the child is a baby, but the father will do more than 50% when the child is a teenager. The point is that I think a couple should work hard to make everything as equal as possible for the good of their child and marriage.

          But, this does not mean a couple should not decide the wife should stay home with the baby. I am all for giving women the choice of what they would like to do and what is best for their family. I know it is hard on some women to manage both, but when women let go of their careers, they often lose purpose and identity. Not all women can find this in being a mother alone.

          Also, we are no longer obligated to follow Old Testament commandments, so “be fruitful and multiply” is no longer a command for us. If it were, we would need to observe all of the OT commandments. But we are now under “the law of love” and we are NT Christians.

          Finally, I don’t think you were taught lies, but I do think “tradition” has become “Christian” and visa-versa here in America. Somehow they have become one in the same, which is what many millennials are trying to break free from. Traditions often put us in boxes and we are tired of being made to fit in boxes that are one size fits all. Plus, I think the church in general tends to be legalistic, which is oppressive.

          I do think some millennials have gone too far (like accepting gay marriage as holy), but I think that is natural when trying to find balance again. Hopefully, the church will balance out.

  • Jory, you’ve probably already thought about this, but why not just start your own church? A church where everyone can use what God has blessed them with equally?

    • Awe, I have thought about it, but as of now, I don’t feel called to start my own church. I feel I would be biting off more than I want to chew as of now. 🙂

  • That problem with identity confusion is a big one when people think they are somehow limited in the Body of Christ. We have the Spirit within us, so how can there be any limitations. As you know, Jory, it drives me up a tree when someone tries to tell women they are limited from doing something in the kingdom of God.

  • I like your helper article. “First Adam”–now that is crazy! I do agree that the ceremonial and sacrificial OT laws have ceased, but not the covenants or the 10 commands. Jesus fulfills them in me and forgives me when I break them, but the fact that there are consequences for breaking them tells me they are still “in play” and have not ceased. I am to be in relationship, not rules, but Jesus didn’t abolish the law, He fulfilled it and as I submit to Him, He fulfills it in me. But I am definitely held responsible when I break them. Jesus made the 10 even more stringent than they were in the OT to show us our desperate need for him. The law is our tutor to lead us to Christ.

    And I understand your 50/50 comment better and agree that as younger children, they need mom more and as teens they need dad. Also, I fully hold to the plan that dads should change diapers, feed, give mom a break, both do the chores of child raising.

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