Other women love their churches and their people, but they know they aren’t being given the opportunity to think, strategize, innovate, and create new ways of doing church that both men and women find appealing. Often when they have expressed their desire for more influence, they were blocked, stonewalled, or stalled. These women have acquiesced to the powers-that-be who are more than willing to allow them to run the operation but not lead it. As a result, many have lost the desire to be creative.
– Pg. 3, The Resignation of Eve; Tyndale
Henderson describes a typical church. What would happen if all the women didn’t show up? I find it interesting that when he presented that scenario to the women in his book that no bulletin printing was a constant on their list. I am a church secretary (one of them) who designs and prints the bulletin. All of us church secretaries are women. Henderson is said to play devils advocate.
With that thought in mind, I could easily overlook, say the chapter where the woman in question teaches her children gender-friendly language when reading the bible and that God is an it, both a she and a he. I was disappointed not to see something about that under ‘My Take’ in that chapter. Still, he kept his focus on the topic at hand how women are viewed at church.
There are three roles women play in church in how they feel about the church’s viewpoint on women as a pastor or in influencing positions.
The ‘Resigned To’ group are women who, “have come to terms with the fact that they are not “allowed” to exercise all the gifts and abilities they’re capable of contributing in the church setting…They’ve accepted the idea that the same people who deny them the right to lead their churches would go door to door on their behalf if they ran for president.” Or they love their churches, but they aren’t given influence or leadership. “They can run the operation, but not lead it. As a result,” Henderson says, “many have lost the desire to be creative.”
Then, there’s the ‘Resigned From’ group. Henderson explains this group as women who, “were capable of leading, thinking, guiding, shaping, and forming a spiritual community but were denied the opportunity to do so? This experience leads some women to walk away from church, Christianity, and in some cases God.” Those stories were sad.
The last group, ‘Re-signed,’ Henderson says, “This is the decision some women make, knowing the limitations, knowing the risks, and knowing that things are not likely to change. Women who “re-sign” don’t quit or accept things as they are; they engage, lead, and influence. They make waves and stay connected. They’re engaged, but not owned, integrated within the church but knowledgeable about its inherent limitations and dangers.” I want to be one of those women. Henderson says, “They’re not world changers, but they’re contributors.”
The book was well put-together and on topic. After each story, he gave statistics, blogging reactions, and his take on the person’s story. At times, that was helpful. The book asks tough questions, presents the problem, without getting ultra-feminist on the rest of us.
Henderson’s points became very good fodder for discussion. When I posted a question about women in leadership positions at church on my Facebook account, I didn’t get one brave soul to comment. Most of the book, I could completely resonate with what some of the women said, and other times could see that their past heavily influenced their worldview.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and rated it five-stars in spite of some questionable viewpoints. The way Henderson allowed the women to tell their story without editing or softening it, while maintaining a biblical worldview impressed me. His book accomplished his intentions of making people think and talk about the issue.
I think both genders have issues. Men need to lead more and not be emasculated by women, namely feminists, and women need not be in competition with men. Both can work together if they follow Jesus’ teachings and love one another. But I’m still not sure where God stands with women as pastors.
This book was given to me to review by Tyndale Publishing. The book releases February 1.