A real conversation from a few years ago:
Me: Even though we say that we affirm women in leadership in this denomination, I think there is still a problem with patriarchal attitudes in the denomination and even in my own local church.
Him: No there isn’t. So, why don’t you stop trying to take the word of God and use it to forward your own agenda.
Ouch. I brought up gender bias and I got told to SIT DOWN. The response shocked me. It was completely outside of my understanding of the character of the person I had begun the conversation with. I had said what I said to a trusted friend and ally, but was answered back by a cultural entrenchment. Looking back, I see the conversation was significant because it represented something much larger than one man’s opinion. That larger thing is systemic gender bias and it is real. My own experience with it in the church hasn’t been easy or pain free. Still, I believe my experience, and the experiences of many people, are being used by God in order to give us a voice to insist that ‘God is calling us into a fuller experience!’