A friend and her husband attended a denominational meeting and expressed her frustration regarding comments she received from others at this meeting.
She is a minister and serves as a Collegiate Minister at their church. People they met at this denominational meeting did not recognize her as being in ministry herself. She was seen as the ‘babe on the arm’ of a man. She was tagging along beside her husband. People asked her the typical wife questions: “How many babies did you leave at home to attend this meeting?” People would ask him the typical minister questions: “What’s going on at your church? How many people do you have attending now?” They never considered the wife/woman to be the ministry leader, too, until they found out that she is a minister. Then they assumed she must be the children’s minister. There is definitely nothing wrong with being the children’s minister (I am a children’s-family minister and proud to be called to follow God in that role), but the traditional views of some of these people are that if a female is going to be a minister then she must be the children’s minister; there is no other position available or suitable for a female.
Another friend commented about these frustrations by sharing her own frustrations over the prejudices in her career, not only gender but racial as well. She is a mission center director. She attended a conference and was scheduled to be the missions speaker. When the group discovered she was the speaker, they literally had to have a meeting to decide if there was someone else to deliver the talk. Then they discovered that the only other alternative was an African-American man. The group had to have another meeting to decide the ‘lesser of two evils’ to be the speaker.
These two examples of the prejudices in the business of sharing Jesus are sickening. Jesus is not prejudice. Jesus loved all people and treated them equally, regardless of gender or race or social status.
Here is a Bible study lesson from Mother’s Day. It is worth re-posting and reading again.
On one of Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 16), he wanted to go east to Asia to share with others about Jesus. But he couldn’t go east. He had to go west. On his journey west, he met a woman named Lydia. She was a wealthy individual in town, very influential, probably the family leader and money-maker. Her husband’s name is not mentioned in the text.
Paul shared about Jesus with her and she believed then invited him to HER house. It was probably her house since she was the leader and money-maker of the family.
These thoughts about Lydia’s important stand in society makes us think about interactions with other women in the Bible. Think about Mary. Why did the angel appear to Mary first and not Joseph? After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared first to the woman. Why not John or Peter?
Although Biblical society didn’t elevate women so much in the Bible readings, women are of high importance in the life of Jesus and his followers.
We need to see ministers and ministry positions as Jesus sees them.