4 Stars Out Of 5
Women All Fired UP!
March 20, 2012
The overall focus of the book centered on the topic of whether women should be lead pastors or not. Jim stays mostly away from letting this book be about a biblical study or theological debate on the issue of the role of women in ministry. He goes about it by simply sharing story after story after story of women talking about what this issue has done for them in regards to them being in the ministry, if at all (the book is 282 pages with results from a Barna Group Survey on "Woman and the Church").
What I enjoyed about this book was the wide spectrum of stories shared by women with differing views. There were cases of women who left the church and wanted nothing to do with it, and there were cases of women who were upset about the church, but were not willing to let that stop them from being an influential part in advancing the Kingdom of God through the local church.
Although I enjoyed reading these stories, it became somewhat monotonous of hearing how these woman had hurtful experiences of men or were inspired by women while growing up. While I'm not minimizing their awful experiences or taking light of their influences (as my mother showed faithfulness to me), it would be cautious for all of us to understand that the Bible, not our pasts, must guide our beliefs. This is not an easy thing to do. Even men hurt by women of their past could be living out of those hurts while being pastors. The church should not be driven merely out of empiricism or pragmatism. Jim calls attention to these things as well.
"I've no doubt that Rose's passionate commitment to a more traditional interpretation of submission is authentic. At the same time, none of us escape the influence of our past. When you consider her confusing childhood_it's easy to understand why Rose is grateful for the structure and security submission has provided for her" (p. 35)
"My mom, my sister, and my wife are all leaders, and even my first pastor was a woman. So compared to many men, I'm decidedly pro-women" (p. 177).
"I found it appealing largely because I love anything subversive- especially when it's done in the name of God" (p. 130).
It also became monotonous about how most of these women wanted to be preachers on the stage, but because of church policy, they were denied the privilege; and therefore leaving them shortened on using the gift God gave them. It makes it as though men are the sole problem that they can't teach, encourage, serve, give to the needy, lead, or cheerfully show mercy (Romans 12). It also makes it as though men are driven by their love of power, than them living out a sincere desire to obey God in how they have interpreted the Scriptures. Or maybe Jim is calling out both men and women in their love for power? It's certainly been a struggle between man and woman since the entrance of sin and judgment in Genesis 3.
"Perhaps we can start by trying to understand some of the underlying forces- specifically our [men and women] views of sin and power- that have a more profound impact on our beliefs than we generally realize" (p. 257).
In one sense, it marks another category of people who are leaving the church as we know it. We know men left the church long ago. We've learned that young people have left the church in the last decade. And we've learned that America is far from a Christian nation it once was thought to be. Seeing that the "median age of women who attend, volunteer in, and give money to churches is somewhere between fifty-six and fifty-nine years old" (p. 248), we wonder if there is hope for the future of the church.
These stories are meant to help open the eyes of pastors, leaders, and women about what women are feeling and perceiving about the church. Hopefully, pastors, leaders, and women can also see that there is hope to continue this dialogue and partnership. Prayerfully, we can continue to explore this issue biblical and sensitively together for the sake of the church and the souls of the world. No matter where, how, or if you draw the line for woman in the ministry, it's evident that we can't do it without each other.