Other women love their churches and their people, but they know they aren’t being given the opportunity to think, strategize, innovate, and create new ways of doing church that both men and women find appealing. Often when they have expressed their desire for more influence, they were blocked, stonewalled, or stalled. These women have acquiesced to the powers-that-be who are more than willing to allow them to run the operation but not lead it. As a result, many have lost the desire to be creative. – Pg. 3, The Resignation of Eve; Tyndale
The introduction reads like a novel. What would happen if all the women in your church didn’t show up?
I had a chuckle at what Jim Henderson said in that chapter of his book, The Resignation of Eve, “Picture this. It’s 8:30 am. You’re in your office at New Life Community Church, getting ready to lead the ten o’clock service.” As a church secretary, I had to laugh at this scenario. Where was Linda, the volunteer administrator, to stuff the bulletins, and why did Linda wait until Sunday morning to stuff them?
Henderson continues to describe a typical church. What would happen if all the women didn’t show up? I find it interesting that when he presented that scenario to each of the women in his book that no bulletin printing was a constant on their list. I am a church secretary (one of them) who designs and prints the bulletin. All of us church secretaries are women. Henderson is said to play devils advocate.
With that thought in mind, I could easily overlook, say the chapter where the woman in question teaches her children gender-friendly language when reading the bible and that God is an it, both a she and a he. I was disappointed not to see something regarding that under ‘My Take’ in that chapter. Still, he kept his focus on the topic at hand how women are viewed at church.
There are three roles women play in church in how they feel about the church’s viewpoint on women as a pastor or in influencing positions. The ‘Resigned To’ group are women who, “have come to terms with the fact that they are not “allowed” to exercise all the gifts and abilities they’re capable of contributing in the church setting…They’ve accepted the idea that the same people who deny them the right to lead their churches would go door to door on their behalf if they ran for president.” Or they love their churches, but they aren’t given influence or leadership. “They can run the operation, but not lead it. As a result,” Henderson says, “many have lost the desire to be creative.”
Then, there’s the ‘Resigned From’ group. Henderson explains this group as women who, “were capable of leading, thinking, guiding, shaping, and forming a spiritual community but were denied the opportunity to do so? This experience leads some women to walk away from church, Christianity, and in some cases God.” Those stories were sad.
The last group, ‘Re-signed,’ Henderson says, “This is the decision some women make, knowing the limitations, knowing the risks, and knowing that things are not likely to change. Women who “re-sign” don’t quit or accept things as they are; they engage, lead, and influence. They make waves and stay connected. They’re engaged, but not owned, integrated within the church but knowledgeable about its inherent limitations and dangers.” I want to be one of those women. Henderson says, “They’re not world changers, but they’re contributors.”
The book was well put-together and on topic. After each story, he gave statistics, blogging reactions, and his take on the person’s story. At times, that was helpful. The book asks tough questions, presents the problem, without getting ultra-feminist on the rest of us. But what do I think of the deeper question?
I believe women should lead and influence. To my best knowledge, I don’t think it’s against the Bible because of the women Jesus loved and had with Him. I agree that I would have a problem with a woman as a pastor, and I couldn’t tell you if that’s unbiblical or not. I believe that men should be the spiritual leader, and men and women should be partners, not in competition. I cling to the scriptures on marriage where women are charged to love their husbands and husbands are charged to love their wives. If we follow what scripture says about marriage, couldn’t we apply that illustration here? Yet, at the same time, I would vote for Sarah Palin to lead our country.
Yes, I’m a hypocrite.
Henderson’s points became very good fodder for discussion. When I posted a question about women in leadership positions at church on my Facebook account, I didn’t get one brave soul to comment. Most of the book, I could completely resonate with what some of the women said, and other times could see that their past heavily influenced their worldview.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and rated it five-stars in spite of some questionable viewpoints. The way Henderson allowed the women to tell their story without editing or softening it, while maintaining a biblical worldview impressed me. His book accomplished his intentions of making people think and talk about the issue.
I think both genders have issues. Men need to lead more and not be emasculated by women, namely feminists, and women need not be in competition with men. Both can work together if they follow Jesus’ teachings and love one another. But I’m still not sure where God stands with women as pastors.
This book was given to me to review by Tyndale Publishing. The book releases February 1. I am giving away my copy via a drawing. Leave a comment by February 6. Winner to be announced on February 7.
And From Tyndale!
We’d also like to let you know about a special event with Jim Henderson, author of Resignation of Eve.
You are invited to register for: Jim Henderson Presents The Resignation of Eve Cloud Conference
This will be a 75 minute call and is scheduled for Monday, February 27 at 5pm PST / 6pm MST / 7pm CST/8pm EST
This telephone-based event will feature Jim Henderson, author of The Resignation of Eve, David Kinnaman, President of The Barna Group, and women of The Resignation of Eve. David will discuss and take questions regarding the Barna Group’s most up to date research regarding women in the church. Jim will do the same regarding The Resignation of Eve. Jim will introduce a couple of the women he interviewed for the book. You will get the opportunity to discuss your thoughts and ideas on this topic with other callers from all over the United Sates as well as interact with David, Jim and a few women from The Resignation of Eve.
NOTE: As part of the invitation people are invited to arrive 5-10 minutes early as the call will start promptly at 8pm EST – you won’t want to miss the Woman of Resignation of Eve
To register, click here.
Please join us for this crucial conversation! And forward this link to everyone you think would find value in this gathering.
*****Laura Boggess is the winner of my copy***********