Recent comments by presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann have stirred up the discussion about gay marriage once again. While speaking to a group of high school…
Before I was married, my hairdresser—a divorced man—told me about a woman in her sixties who explained to him the meaning of marriage, the breakdown of gender roles, and the secret to staying together. She could see beyond her husband’s analytical nature. She was perspicacious. It thus became her job to let her husband in on the nuances of others—ticks, sidelong glances, subtleties. Once her husband had been informed of her observations and ensuing opinions, she trusted his judgment. Her husband, a prominent entrepreneur, used her insights to make the best decisions for business, for family, for himself. After forty years of marriage, by operating out of their inherent strengths, they had created a peaceful and thriving life together, as one.
I usually can see a thing before it happens. I believe I was born this way, but I also know that in reconciling with my creator as a Christian, I’ve learned how to harness these gifts for the greater good.
Nearly five years ago, just after my husband Greg and I got married, I was overcome by sadness whenever he reacted a certain way to others. I knew that if this behavior did not change, it would inhibit Greg as a Christian, husband, father, and leader. I believed this revelation was from God, so I told Greg what I perceived. He stared at me blankly. He had no idea what I meant. Without pushing the issue further, I went to bed that night reminding the Lord that He was the one who had prompted me to broach this subject.
The following morning, Greg nudged me awake. He said, “I had a dream last night. The Lord showed me what you were talking about.”
Greg has not exhibited that behavior since.
One of Greg’s fortes is deciphering and explaining emotions in those with whom he is close. His insights have helped me heal from past abuse. I’ve become a more honest, confident and forthright person because of Greg’s influence.
Since we trust each other in these abilities, Greg as the “spiritual leader” of our family is not burdened down by religious expectation to be perfect in single handedly making decisions for our family. Instead, he has the responsibility of seeking God’s wisdom with me. Our relationship becomes a conduit for God’s voice.
Marriages cannot function properly without both spouses operating in their innate strengths—spiritual or otherwise.
It is an absolute necessity for women to speak up in their marriages, not only to enrich their relationships but also to benefit their church communities. The church cannot unite as God intended—and as Christ prayed for in the garden—without women rising up to reclaim their roles. If American Christian culture has found that its marriages and churches are broken or struggling, it may serve both institutions well to reevaluate and reform their philosophy of gender roles.
Just as the church cannot operate effectively without Christ’s initiation, the Holy Spirit cannot carry out God’s perfect will without the church’s participation. The symbiotic relationship between God and His people should be mirrored by husbands and wives.
Regrettably, churches bent toward legalism often teach that God is angry with His people (never mind the sinners), and to merit entrance into Heaven, Christians must restrict pleasures, separate from mainstream society, and be silent before God’s throne. This is not God’s will. God through Christ invites interaction; He establishes love as the cornerstone of behavior; He speaks to His people through the written word, His Holy Spirit, and revelation. He asks, in return, for them to make their requests known to Him.
God created marriage as an earthly reflection of a spiritual dynamic.
However, too many Christian marriages—and churches—have defaulted to Paul’s presumed biblical admonitions to silence women. Instead of looking at the context of Paul’s culture, in which women notoriously overused the gift of speech, we should consider the entirety of the Bible to develop a realistic view of women.
For example, just before Pontius Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified, his wife had warned him from her dream not to punish Jesus. Had Pilate regarded his wife’s counsel, not only would the Apostle’s Creed have read differently, but Pilate’s fate would have been one of grace, not shame.
With a contrasting outcome in Exodus, the Lord spared Moses’ life because Zipporah interceded to circumcise their sons. She intuited what Moses had not.
Fulfilling Deborah’s prophecy, Jael overrode her husband’s peace agreement, discerning her greater calling, and won Israel’s victory, satisfying God’s will for the Israelites.
During the week of Jesus’ death, a woman poured oil from an alabaster jar over Jesus’ head. Jesus reminded the men who had derided her actions that she was anointing Him for burial. This woman knew of Jesus what His disciples had not perceived—even though Jesus had already alerted them of His impending death.
Despite these biblical proofs, for too long in church history, women have been relegated to the back of the sanctuary—for food preparation, decorating, childcare. Although many women are gifted, even called, to serve churches in such ways impressively, many others can hear the voice of God, perceive His heart’s desire, and express these revelations boldly to the church.
The prophetesses of the Most High God are fulfilling the scripture from Joel 2:28: “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy.” During Pentecost, when the church was united, Peter justified the speaking in tongues and prophesying with this Scripture.
The daughters are here and ready. They just need invitations to speak.
When women take their abilities home, families are restored and strengthened. Husbands no longer seize under the pressure of unreasonable expectations, and wives are not bound under an unjust restraining order. A new generation of children will grow up witnessing their parents in full-effect—at home, in the workplace, at church.
Redefining gender roles in the Christian community may not be as difficult as it would seem. It will be like entering into a world where people are as they were meant to be.