how’s that for a blog post title??… :)
soon and very soon, i plan on blogging a series of posts that will present our core values and some of the various theologies that are the underpinning in the shaping of this faith community. while i hope to do that in greater detail soon, i stumbled across an article that i thought was worth sharing and worth offering a couple brief thoughts.
one of the things we want to have at the core of our values and dna, so to speak, at eikon is gender equality. quite frankly, we hope that equality across the board is highly valued, but it seems that, in the church, gender equality has historically been a great barrier. to cut straight to the point, we believe that men and women, because they are both made in the image of god, are equal in not only being but also in function. in other words, we believe women can be pastors and teachers and leaders and elders and have full functional equivalence of men.
so, we’re not just a bunch of dudes. :)
not only do we believe it, but over the last several months, as we’ve begun to form the core leadership group for eikon, we’ve intentionally sought out women leaders who will be key decision-makers in our community. the bottom line is that there are just certain experiences and points-of-view that i will never be able to offer being a male. there are certain filters through which i view scripture and how i see god that are simply deficient as compared to a female perspective.
just last night, while having dinner with some new friends/potential leaders at eikon (keeping my fingers crossed…), we had a great conversation about the way we see and perceive god. in this case, our new friend—who is the mother of a 2-yr old child—spoke about growing up thinking god was angry with her and that he didn’t love her because she wasn’t good enough. what struck me was that she talked about how the experience of having a child and being a mother has changed the way she views god. her deep and unconditional love for her child has shown her—if we are truly children of god—that there’s no way god could be angry with her. how could a god characterized by love and grace and sacrifice hate his child? her experience as a woman and a mother has filtered the way she perceives god and certainly, the way in which she leads and make decisions are a product of her unique perspective.
so, without going into too great of detail, i thought i would share those quick thoughts about our position on gender equality. the article that i referenced that spawned this post is from jim wallis’ god’s politics blog with guest blogger mimi haddad. haddad is president of christians for biblical equality, a great organization of “christian men and women who believe that the bible, properly interpreted, teaches the fundamental equality of men and women of all racial and ethnic groups, all economic classes, and all age groups.” you can find more out about CBE here and you can read haddad’s article here.
while the article isn’t a thorough explanation of a biblical view of gender equality, i think it’s a good introduction that can help to stir a dialogue and engage those who are unfamiliar with more egalitarian biblical concepts. for an even more in-depth analysis of biblical gender equality, i highly recommend rebecca merrill groothuis’ good news for women: a biblical picture of gender quality (amazon link). i read this book 5 or 6 years ago and it greatly challenged me and put me on a path of biblical and cultural and relational discovery that has made me much more intentional about these issues and has made me place much more value on women’s vital and necessary roles in communities of faith. (p.s. if you want to get a little sneak peek, i came across this on her website. it’s a fairly significant chunk from the book to get an idea of the trajectory she takes throughout her work.)
we really look forward to the continued shaping of the leadership at eikon with both men and women who want to engage and lead others in the way of jesus—the ultimate example of a life characterized by equality.
in the end, of course, we want to be a community that isn’t just a bunch of dudes. :)