The worst thing is that millions of women have resigned.
Some women have resigned from Christianity, some have resigned from God, but many have simply developed a more insidious form of resignation, the invisible resignation that people develop when they’ve given up hope.
This kind of resignation leads a woman to appear to be present when she actually left the building years ago.
~ JIM HENDERSON
He then relays statistics intermingled with true stories of women in the church and some who have left the church.
It’s not a how-to book, but a book to make you think, not just drift. Some of it you’ll agree with it; some of it you won’t.
And it’s not just for women. Here’s a question for thought he asks men:
Let me ask my male readers this question: when was the last time the word allow was used to describe what you could do in church for no other reason than that you are a man?
He divides the book into three categories of stories:
- Women who are resigned to the way things are in their churches
- Women who have resigned from church altogether and left
- Women who have re-signed, or reengaged, in churches to contribute as they can
Which one are you?
As Henderson shares the stories, I recognize women that I’ve known in my own experiences. The first category of women either don’t notice or don’t care what restrictions or liberties are allowed at their church. They don’t think about it. (I sometimes wish I could be that way—would it be easier? Maybe, but it’s not me.)
In the second category, we’ve all seen women (and men) who have grown so bitter or cynical that they throw up their hands and walk away altogether. Not just from church, but from God. (And Lord have mercy on us if we’ve contributed to their leaving.)
The third category of stories are creative ones—women who work to find uses for their gifts to fulfill what they feel called by God to do.
And contrary to what some may fear, these women aren’t striving to take over men’s roles or usurp a man’s authority (although some are, let’s be honest, but most are not). Henderson says,
Like the vast majority of male Christians, most female Christians have no desire to lead or become senior pastors.
What many of them do want is the same opportunities men have to respond to the gifts and callings of God wherever they lead.
Should you read this book?
If you’re looking for direct answers, no.
If you don’t want to be disturbed, no.
But if you care about what’s happening in the church at large (if not already in your own church), then yes. You won’t amen everything in the book, but for better or worse, you’ll at least be aware of it.
I want to be listening. I need to be.
As a mother of two daughters in the church now, this matters to me. For them, my nieces, my sisters, for me. And for all the men as well. Together we are the church.
* * *
Thanks to Tyndale for the review copy of this book.