Or so it would appear from this video.
Thanks (yet again) to Matthew Paul Turner for sharing this video at his site. It certainly is a vivid example of the disturbing capacity that the church has to make half of the human race disappear, or at least go mute. I know from some recent conversations that there are people who will think it’s unkind and unchristian of me to criticize First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana for the message that is sent in this promotional video. I disagree, obviously. Not all churches are the same, for which I heartily give thanks. My local church is blessed with many strong, gifted, faithful women and they are not squashed by patriarchal theology. Nor are they isolated into women’s ministries, women’s Bible studies, women’s fellowships. There is value in all of those things, but I love the richness of men and women sharing ideas, questions, laughter, prayers – in short, life – together. And I find that in my church. But the church as a whole still has a lot of work to do. In some churches women are silenced (as in this video). In others they are infantilized (much Christian “curriculum” designed for women is very, very silly) or blamed for the dearth of men in the pews (think not? look here or here or especially here). Where we are not living up to our potential as the people of God, I think we need to challenge each other, and I want to continue to challenge the church in America to consider your sisters. Consider the strengths they can bring to the Body. Consider the little girls running around your children’s department now, who might be church leaders twenty years from now. Teach them, alongside your sons, to exercise all of the gifts God has given them. Please do not limit them to an image of “beautiful womanhood” that is less Kingdom of God than it is romantic fiction.
I don’t think there is one model for Christian womanhood, or manhood. And I’m past thinking that all Christian marriages have to look alike in order to function well. But can we at least agree that there is something troubling about a promo video for a marriage conference in which wives have no voice?