I am really enjoying writing for the Oregonian website OregonLive. It’s giving me a space to think and wrestle with issues that are not the main topic around here. I just posted my 7th post over there, the 6th in a series. This series, I’m calling it my Apology Series, is addressing ways that the church has really blown it in our mission and witness in the world.
Why would I write a series like that? Do I hate the church. Not at all. I love the church and I want us to do better. I’m writing this series because the average Portlander where I live thinks pretty poorly of the church, and the only way I can think of to start a conversation is by admitting the truth about some of the ways we’ve blown it. My hope is that this kind of conversation can open doors and even change futures.
My most recent post is about the way the church has sidelined and hurt women.
Here’s a excerpt.
I’ve been a church kid since the day I was born, deeply steeped in the culture of this community of people who follow Jesus. My belt is well-notched with church services, church camps, retreats, alter calls, Bible studies, church volunteer roles and years of Christian education.
As I reflect on all those years and all the associated people who have shaped my life, I’m surprised at one thing. My life, as a Christian, has been shaped more than anything else by women.
Yes. In spite of everything.
It’s a surprise, I think, because of how often the language, policy and even doctrine of the church downplay the contribution of women. Those outside the church think of Christianity as a tribe that marginalizes women. They’re not wrong. While there are local congregations, even denominations, where women are invited to use their gifts and even participate at all levels of leadership, the sad truth is that in many, many churches, the opposite is true.
Many churches teach that women occupy their God-given role when they raise children, tend the home, and quietly submit to the wisdom of their husbands (and, of course, their male pastors). Even today.