Windshield Wipers, Women and Wittle Piggies
December 15, 2011
The other day when it snowed, I put my windshield wipers up so that they would not be frozen to my car the next morning. But when I got to my car after the snow, my wiper looked like this.
My wiper was all twisted and I could not figure out how to fix it. I’m not very good with any kind of handiwork. (My mom can attest to this.) So, I kept trying to push at my windshield wiper, but it wouldn’t go back into place. It was broken forever and I would have to get it replaced.
Then I went to lunch with my friends Jenna, Jenny and Leigh. I volunteered to drive. We got in the car and the girls noticed my wonky windshield wiper — it was so out of place that it made a weird whistling sound when I was driving. Leigh asked why I didn’t just flip it over to put it back in place. Umm … because I’m dumb and had been pushing at it a lot. We got to Chipotle, Leigh flipped the windshield wiper and it was automatically fixed. Embarrassing, yes. Worth it to be able to use my windshield wipers again? Definitely.
So I have my New Testament final today. I know zero things. But I’m tired of studying. So, oh well.
One of the things we talked about this semester was the role of women as discussed in the Bible. I already talked a bit about the things I discovered about women and submission in 1 Peter. We also discussed different views that people have related to women in church ministry.
Some people believe in complete freedom for women. They see Paul and Peter’s instructions to women as culturally specific. For example, women weren’t included in most education at that time, so it wouldn’t make sense for them to be head pastors in a church. Some women in certain congregations were being disruptive, so Paul may have asked them to be silent in church. Another example of this freedom would be the redemptive approach. Although the New Testament doesn’t give women complete freedom in leadership at that time, it set up a trajectory that would allow women to serve in any area of the church in our current culture. We can kind of see this in passages related to women and slaves in the Bible. The instructions given in these situations were actually very liberal for their time period — God’s Law and his disciples treated slaves, women, foreigners, etc. much better and more liberally than the culture around them. Given that example, the redemptive approach would say that, based on our culture today, the biblical writers would have allowed for women in every area of leadership in the church today, including being senior pastors.
There are a couple of mediating approaches as well. One mediating approach sees Paul and Peter’s instructions to women as related to husbands and wives. They would read 1 Corinthians 11, 1 Timothy 2, and Ephesians 5 as Paul addressing husbands and wives, not “men and women.” Therefore, this view would say that women shouldn’t be in leadership over their husbands in a church setting, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be in leadership over other men. Another mediating approach is related to only restricting women from the highest church position, the senior pastor. This view is related to Paul’s advice about elders in the Scripture. Men were to be elders, which would translate to our senior pastorate today, but women were clearly in roles as deacons and other leadership in the New Testament church. Galatians 3 puts all people on the same level, but does keep a few distinctions.
Finally, there is the strict hierarchical approach that says that Paul limits women from any teaching function in the church. There is a bit of variety within this view — some would say women can teach other women, and others would say women shouldn’t even be allowed to serve communion at church.
What do you guys think about these approaches? Where would you fall — or do you have another category? I’m probably somewhere in the mediating approach — I think women can serve in most leadership positions, but I’m not convinced that women should be senior pastors. I know I’m not the strictest approach; I feel called to study the Bible and to share what I’ve learned with anyone who might want to listen — guys, gals, cats, dogs, teacup piglets.
I read this blog post by Rachel Held Evans recently, and it really resonated with me — God has called men and women to be prophets, to speak his truth, his gospel, his word, his justice into the world. Maybe the time of both men and women shouldn’t be spent nitpicking details of women in the church, but might be better spent prophesying God’s truth through the power of the Holy Spirit that God has graciously granted to men, women, slave, free, Jew and Gentile!