Have you ever found yourself wrestling with a new thought? I feel that a question has been rolling round in my mind for a few weeks now. I have been a Christian for a long time and have always known that I was created in the image of God. Yet somehow, I probably thought of this as, really – man is made in the image of God and as a woman I am a further removed or lesser reflection?! God is a God of love, mercy, patience, faithfulness, goodness and self control – all qualities that are often associated with women, yet I never saw myself as that closely linked, as a true image of God.
Our church has an interregnum pastor at the moment and on Mothering Sunday he preached on the Motherhood of God. Perhaps in your church that would be a normal title, but in our fairly traditional, evangelical, reformed, Anglican church the sermon title was big news!! Soon after the sermon started he was quick to qualify the statement and not go down the ‘Shack’ like picture of God as a woman but he did raise some interesting issues and left me pondering my identity as a woman of God in a new way. And perhaps to look at God, and my image of Him in a new way too.
When filling in the Libertie magazine survery, featured on our website, I was intrigued by the question – Would you rather be a man than a woman? For me, that answer has to be no – I am very happy being me, being a woman. But I know that statistics from the questionnaire and other national surveys show that a high percentage of woman would actually prefer to be a man.
I wonder if that is because they do not value the qualities and attributes that are part of their female identity? Or is it because they feel that being a woman restricts their opportunites and choices? Perhaps their career has hit the infamous ‘glass ceiling’ or maybe their role within their church is limited.
I spoke once with a confused young woman who was seeking advice because her church were keen to employ her as their youth pastor, they just wanted her to work an additional few hours as an admin support so that her title could be ‘church-administrator’ and keep everyone happy. She asked me, ‘should I accept the title so that I can do the job I love and am qualified for (with a first class degree in youth work) or should I go somewhere else, where they will accept me more honestly for the work I’m doing?’ How should I have responded?
Every denomination has a slightly different view of what is right and what is Biblical in this area. I have tried always to keep an open mind and be in harmony with the church that I am worshipping with at the time.
Two weeks ago I was asked if I would consider leading a service at our church, not that big a deal for some. But in our church that is a first and they are only considering two women for the role within the next few months.The advice I have been given is, if you do it, you had better be really good at it.