Thursday, March 08, 2012

An Unfulfilled Promise

Women graduates of CBTS Tennessee
"When the last days come,
   I will give my Spirit
   to everyone.
   Your sons and daughters
   will prophesy.
   Your young men
   will see visions,
   and your old men
   will have dreams.”

These words from Acts 2:17 seem to have something for everyone, don’t they?  I thought of them today because this is International Women’s Day.  I understand that this is an artificial date on the calendar, but the day does cause me to reassess how far we have failed to come in providing women with the opportunity to use their gifts to build up the body of Christ.

In my coaching practice, I coach several women ministers. Only one is a Baptist.  Two others were but they became weary of being told what they could not do and found a denomination that would let them do what they were gifted to do.  I have good rapport with these ministers and I have to assume that part of it is that I—an old white male—not only listen attentively to them but value them and their work.

Moderate Baptists have talked a lot about giving women more opportunities, but we still have far to go.  We continue to deny gifted women of all ages the places of leadership and service where they can share their gifts.  I am not talking about “affirmative action” or “tokenism” but allowing the most talented persons to serve whether they are male or female.

In a workshop I attended recently, the leader said, “We cannot receive the gifts that God wants to give us unless we open our hands.”  I think this is true of these gifted women.  We will never be blessed by their God-given abilities until we open our hands and our hearts to them.

1 comment:

Jim Armstrong said...

This a good and timely treatment. This was one tile in the mosaic of my leaving a lifetime of relatively moderate Baptist life behind. The rationale you offer would apply as well to other ways of not following Jesus into the houses of tanners and tax collectors, while finding institutional ways to interfere with their God-given gifts. It seems to me that such man-made distinctions are very hard to justify in light of the higher principles of the Kingdom way.
Thank you for the candor in your posts.