It’s been a year since the last Women’s Thing and after it was over I remember thinking: I wonder what topic we’ll cover next year when I do this again? I honestly didn’t imagine there would be many new cultural/church developments around women to emerge. That was before Kavanaugh, before the Beth Moore madness, before the Houston Chronicle’s article on abuse in the SBC.
Instead of another convo about all the nuances of theology and dividing lines can we just have a convo about the things I *think* we all agree on: women are valuable to Jesus, women are necessary to the Kingdom of God. And many women don’t feel that way, so, what’s the disconnect? And what do we do about it?
Surely so many of the things we’re arguing about are secondary to the Gospel truth that we are loved and wanted and honored by God. The burden is on us as Christians to translate that Gospel message to others. We gotta figure out how to help women feel that, especially inside the walls of our Churches; we gotta figure out how to make sure childless women feel that, single women feel that, Black women feel that.
I often ask on Instagram what people are processing these days, and I’m sure it’s not a surprise that many of the responses I get are about gender and the Church. But do you know what is a surprise? The responses aren’t about thoughts or ideas or theology. No – when I ask what people are processing I mostly hear about how they’re trying to figure out what it looks like to process this at all. They’re often processing whether or not they’re safe to talk about what they’re thinking at all. They’re processing how they can straddle the differing cultures they’re a part of. They’re trying to balance their desire to ask questions with the potential those question have to impact their ability to belong in their Churches.
I don’t know much, but I am confident no pastor in any church that loves Jesus wants their people to feel this way. I don’t know your pastor, but I know many, and I haven’t yet met a single one who affirms that kind of fear-based culture.
There is so much disagreement and so much fear of disagreement running wild in the world right now, but we who claim this Gospel know that the blood of Jesus has broken down the dividing wall of hostility and we are free and safe to wrestle. And all I want to do this year for Women’s Thing is carve out a little room in a corner of Austin where you can come for a few hours one night and practice being honest with yourself and others about the questions, fears and thoughts you have; where you can come and all of us can get a little better at listening and living in the tension of disagreement.
I want you to come even if you have nothing to process so you can listen. I want you to come even if you have tons to process but you don’t want to open your mouth.
We’re going to have an incredible panel of women (Kimberly Stewart, Dr. Andrea Holman, Anna Sargeant) who are going to discuss in front of us what they’re processing. They’re going to do their best to be brave and vulnerable and real and raw and we’re going to give you guys time to do the same if you want to.
I hope I see you there.