It can be very confusing being a woman who yearns to use her whole person to serve God.
I’m not ready to review this book yet, but its import is too great to not start a conversation.
I’ve been reading this book since Saturday night, and I have to tell you – it is stretching. I have a growing pain in my heart as I listen to women who are bound by tradition and others who have been disillusioned by tradition. Both are sitting in the same pews, both are hearing the same message, but the results are (in my opinion) equally devastating.
Jim’s premise is that women are either resigned to their subservient role in the church, resigned from the church because of the same thing, or re-signing in a new way. I am at the point of the book where we are beginning to hear from the re-signers.
Most interesting was my own reaction – those resigned to their role made me nauseous. I was terrified at how much I have in common with those who have resigned from the church to apply their skills and find their identity elsewhere. I really understood their frustration and even some of their conclusions. However, I know God’s voice. Where God calls, He provides. I believe, from the root of my being that my purpose in life will only come out of my relationship with God. However, I really understand how many powerful women (and men I bet) have left the church because of its hierarchical structure.
In the midst of the discussion, Jim points out that our hierarchical structure of days gone by is coming to an end. However, I have seen people who have tried to lead without leading, and this doesn’t work either.
Two things I have solidified in my thinking as I’ve read the first 2/3 of this book:
- All leadership is permission based. I know that I have always waited for permission to lead. Permission is from those who follow, but for me they have also been by way of a lid-lifter – someone who can help me lift my own lids and societal lids to operate in the giftings I have.
- The leadership that is needed is one of facilitation and vision. A firm understanding of where the church as a whole is headed, a firm understanding of the local congregations role in that overall vision, and then the ability to come alongside each person based on his/her personality, temperament and giftings, and show him/her where they fit and what their next step is.
This is a bit of rambling, but if you are female, and if you are trying to be what God has called you to in a very confusing time (now) and place (the church), this is a necessary conversation.