I’m very disturbed by some of the things I’ve been reading lately. It’s nothing that is in the news. I’m researching the opposing side for my book proposal, the complementarian side (I am not putting in links because I refuse to refer traffic to their sites. If you Google “complementarian,” you will find plenty of sites). This is a group who thinks that men and women were created equal as humans but that they have different roles due to their genders. They believe that woman was created to be a helper to her husband and must always submit to a man’s authority. They believe men were created to be leaders, protectors, and guardians. Women are to be helpers, nurturers, and mothers. A women’s place should be in the home, and she shouldn’t aspire to work outside of the home to keep herself free for ministry. When she doesn’t work then after she takes care of the kids and the house, her free time will be left for building God’s kingdom. Some of the voluntary suggestions for “ministry” are:
- prison chaplain
- ministries to the handicapped
- ministries to the sick, including nursing and hospice work
- being a teacher, including K-12 teacher
These are all full-time jobs, which take education and training to perform. Now they also suggest the truly voluntary ministries of music in the church, Sunday School teacher, PTA, and volunteering for organizations that work with the poor, abused, and addicitons. But several of these “voluntary” ministries are full-time positions and careers. So it’s okay for a woman to technically work full-time as long as she doesn’t get paid?
In her book Equal to Serve: Women and Men Working Together Revealing the Gospel, Gretchen Gaebelein Hull points out that once something that women did becomes something men do, then it’s worth charging for. How much did midwives make? Really? When men took over medicine then money came into play. Things that women do are normally seen as less valuable economically than what men do. Women having been cooking and feeding their families for years. But a small percentage of women are chefs who bring down big money.
When you consider the careers that women had in the Bible, I do not understand this “you can work as long as you volunteer” mentality. Deborah was a prophet and judge. The Proverbs 31 woman made and sold textiles and materials plus bought and sold land. She was a merchant. In the New Testament Lydia was also a merchant, and Priscilla worked with her husband Aquila to make tents. None of them volunteered their services. They worked, made money, and helped support their families economically.
I think Christians need to reclaim the word “vocation.” At one time Christians believed that you brought God with you on any job you had, whether you were a priest or a blacksmith. You did your work as unto God because God governed all of life. You built God’s kingdom in whatever career you had. It did not have to be a church position. We need to reclaim vocation, especially women. God calls women, as well as men, to work in the secular world in business, schools, government, and a myriad of other careers. We are called to bring God with us, and build God’s kingdom where we’re at. Just as the women in the Bible worked outside of the home, so can women today.
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