To the Elders of CFC:
I has recently come to my attention that a woman was not allowed to share sermon time with her husband for the purpose of teaching her perspective on the topic.
I am aware that this was connected to a decision made many years ago that women 1) cannot be elders at CFC, and 2) cannot preach (teaching from the Bible during the “message time”).
I have three concerns with this stance: Two that are very important to me, and one that is more for practical purposes.
My first concern is that we are losing perspective, insight, and information. The woman considered for preaching is well-educated. She also has substantial experience in church life, mission work, and counseling. Gender aside, I believe she is more than qualified to speak at CFC. She is more qualified than I am and I spoke. The result of whatever theology lead to this decision meant that the congregation missed out on what a person has to say about our faith – a personal who has unique and important insights and knowledge. Our church could have grown by hearing her perspective and teaching from the word of God- but we did not.
My second concern is the message this sends to women. Although CFC only told one woman in particular this time, this message affects other women with similar desires to preach. We told her that her gender disqualifies her from speaking at our church. To my knowledge, that was the only criteria that held her back. The results of this theology can be damaging to the self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy (feelings of competency) of an individual. Please be aware that we just told her that because she is a woman, she is not allowed to share her knowledge and perspectives through the venue of teaching from the Bible during the message time. This is a very damaging idea to give a person: it runs along the lines of “you are not good enough to _____”(I have not spoken with any individuals involved in this aside from my dad, and cannot speak to their feelings or concerns regarding this issue).
My third concern is that this appears to me as a very blurry line to draw. We say that women can teach the Bible, in the form of Sunday School. We say that women can speak during the message time, say, to share information on missionaries, or maybe a testimony. But a woman cannot teach the Bible during the message time? How is that different? We allow each of those events separately, but somehow combining them is wrong? From where did we find this line?
I would appreciate if the elders would take the time to 1) explain the theology behind the decision to not let women preach at CFC, and 2) examine the concerns I presented above.
Last week, both I and my father were out of town, and another man (who used to be an elder, and has spent significant time in overseas missions) spoke in place of dad. His wife was going to spend “6-7 minutes of his sermon time sharing her take on the message.” I am told that the elders said “no” to this. Whatever theology they are using to support this decision is resulting in our entire congregation missing out on the perspective of a person who wants to share. I am told that women can share in other ways, even during the sermon time, but they apparently cannot teach from the Bible during this time.
I’m going to be honest, this infuriates me. We just told someone her gender removes the worth of her perspective. This woman has been a faithful member of our church for my entire life, and has always been willing to serve, love, and listen. She is very well-educated, and has a ton of experience with the intersections of theology and human behavior. But she can’t speak in our church? How de-humanizing.
I’m going write the elders and ask for an explanation of this decision, as well as prepare an argument/paper outline on why I believe women should be allowed to preach during the church service.
Just wanted to start this blog out on the right foot.