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« Christians and pop culture: why? | Main | Unplugging is good for your mood »
Thursday
May042017

Women in the news

While I was on vacation, and scanned Twitter briefly at intervals, I did notice an exchange of articles about women and blogging. I am not generally a reader of Christianity Today, but I did see a couple articles from that direction, but I only quickly skimmed them. I'm aware of the conversation going on, but it has not grabbed my attention. However, when I saw the title of one article, something along the lines of who is in charge of Christian blogging, my immediate thought was, "Whoever manages to generate the most attention."

I did read this morning an article that Tim Challies linked, from RNS. There were some interesting observations; interesting enough for me to break my own self-imposed rule that I don't use my blog to critique other blog articles. This isn't a critique, however. It's more an observation which arose from the article.

In the article, Hannah Anderson compares the way women go about leading to the way men go about leading. She concludes:

From moral decision-making to leadership styles, women, in general, work with an eye toward relationships and cooperation while men operate more impersonally and individualistically.

When I read that, I thought, "That is not me."

I am a leader in my local church. I take on responsibility quite naturally, and when I am given it it, I work to give it 100% of my attention. But I don't work with relationships and co-operation in mind. I am not a dictator, but when I go about leading, I am not so much concerned with gathering a group or forming community as I am in simply doing the job given to me and working with integrity. In fact, I tend to avoid groups of women. Maybe it is a hangup from my past, or maybe it is the result of having mostly male friends as a child and being the only girl in the family, but I am more prone to backing up from a group of women than I am in embracing it. Seeing pictures of women at conferences, smiling and happy together makes me feel a little melancholy at times, because that has not been my experience, yet everyone keeps telling me that it is the goal I am supposed to aspire to. 

This often frustrates me. The current "leaders" in the Christian blog world who are debating about who is in charge don't really speak for me. Many are much younger than I am, and have few similar experiences to mine. I am Canadian; most are from the U.S. And yes, that makes a difference. I cannot help but think that there is a particular socio-economic similarity among those leaders, and I wonder how women from other backgrounds react to what is written. This also leaves me wondering a bigger question: should women be seeking to be led by women they will never know? With whom there is no personal accountability? This is a basic question, of course, and one that is always left there in the background while at the same time, we actually do allow ourselves to be led. This has troubled me lately, as I am seeing more and more the potential downside of putting too much emotional energy into online relationships.

Questions are good. I've never been one to avoid asking questions. My questions don't revolve so much around who is in charge of the blog world, or which women are the leaders. Rather it is how much does my interest in such leadership influence my relationship to Christ? Is it more distracting than helpful? 

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Reader Comments (2)

Kim, I had similar feelings when I read that article. I am not Canadian. I don't have any past hang-ups that would influence me this way. I didn't prefer the company of boys growing up. And yet, like you, I have never been particularly inclined to join women's groups - And it's not because I don't enjoy the company of women - I do.

The way I feel ties to your thoughts in the post that follows this one. Living as a Christian is a counter-cultural experience. When I was saved in the early 70's, I was already accustomed to "counter-cultural living" - just the wrong one. :) I became a Christian with an understanding of cultural persecution and also how cultural trends influence people's thinking.

The Scriptures are counter-cultural and unfortunately, the church has become so entrenched in pop culture that it has failed to see how far away it has moved from the Scriptures. The church ought to spend much more time actually studying the Bible than it does absorbing what every Tom, Dick, and Mary has to say about it - on or offline.

Having been a blogger I do understand that there is value in online communication, sharing, friendships, etc. But blogging, even at its finest, cannot replace the authority that God has vested in the local church, Have we forgotten that He gifted the church with pastors, elders, deacons, teachers, servers, etc - and that we are to submit ourselves to real people in the real world ?

The church seems to have gone mad.

May 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Bucknell

Thanks for your comments, Diane. I share your concern for the focus away from the local church. I often wonder how pastors and other leaders feel having to compete with social media and other online sources for the attention of their congregants.

May 6, 2017 | Registered CommenterKim

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