I love to hear from you. Even when it’s hard for me to keep up with my email or comments (because hello: three tinies), even when my replies are longer arriving back to you and much shorter than I’d like, I love to read your words and put “stories” to the names of people who comment here.
I also get a lot of questions from folks, which is a tremendous honour. I am still a little surprised that people care about my opinion on things. I’m not an expert but I can share my own story. There isn’t always “one way” to do things or a necessarily right-wrong way to look at an issue.
So I thought that I might start a new thing here called Your Turn. I’ll take a question that has cropped up often in my email, generalize it to obscure details, and kick it out to you guys for an answer. This will be a bit of an experiment, I suppose, so let’s see how it goes.
(For the sake of this question below, I’m using Carolyn Custis James’s definitions of the terms. Egalitarians “believe that leadership is not determined by gender but by the gifting and calling of the Holy Spirit, and that God calls all believers to submit to one another.” In contrast, complementarians “believe the Bible establishes male authority over women, making male leadership the biblical standard.” – from Half the Church: Recapturing God’s Global Vision for Women, p. 154.)
Here’s our question:
Our family is egalitarian but due to a lot of reasons, we attend a church that is complementarian. They do NOT affirm women in ministry and there are no women in leadership at all. They also teach a more complementarian view of male-female relationships with a strong emphasis on the leadership or headship of men, particularly in the church and home. I can’t see this changing anytime soon. in fact, they seem even more dogmatic and committed to this stance these days. What should we do? Do you think that we can continue to stay here in this church while being in such disagreement on such a fundamental issue? Do we need to leave our church and find an egalitarian church? Or should we try to help expand or change the conversation from within? In a lot of ways, we love this church family, but this feels like a justice issue to us so we’re not sure what to do. Do we stay or do we go? Can you be a Jesus Feminist and still attend a church that is not egalitarian?
Your turn, dear readers.
Are you able to stay in community with a church where you have major differences? Would you stay or would you go? Would you attend a complementarian church while you are an egalitarian?
I’ll share my answer later tonight in the comments.