In a perfect world, finding a church to call home after moving to new city would be as easy as Phillip Phillips makes it sound.
And living in the largest metropolitan area in the Bible Belt you would think would make my search for a church home easy peasy.
But it’s not.
I’m a twenty-something recent graduate who has regularly attended only two churches in my lifetime–the church I grew up in and attended with my family for 18 years, and the church I visited the first Sunday of my freshman year of college and attended until I graduated and left town. Both Southern Baptist churches.
I’m newly engaged and the fiancé and I have been visiting around, church hopping, or “dating the church” as some might call it. I don’t think either of us can quite put our finger on what it is we are looking for in a church. We want a place where we can make real friends, be discipled as a young engaged (eventually a young married) couple, and do ministry together. We want a home.
Oh, and a place where we don’t feel the need to be closet feminists to fit in.
We will think we really like a church. Then one day we’re both like–meh–so we move on to the next church on the list.
Then we find churches with bullet points in their position papers that look like:
- [ … ] will not allow a woman lead teaching pastor.
- [ … ] will not allow women to teach on a weekend worship service.
- [ … ] will not allow women to teach men’s Bible studies.
- [ … ] will not allow women to teach mixed-gendered Bible studies.
- [ … ] will not allow women to teach men’s Home Groups.
- [ … ] will not allow women to teach mixed-gendered Home Groups.
- [ … ] does not allow women to prophesy in a way that resembles teaching the Scriptures (Spiritfilled preaching).
- [ … ] will not allow women to evaluate a prophetic utterance in the public gathering of the body.
So then we’re like–meh–so we move on to the next church on the list.
The fiancé and I would also poke around with the pre-marital counseling services at the churches we would visit. We saw it as a red flag when the very first words on the counseling flyer quoted Ephesians 5:22-24–bolded and underlined.
We didn’t return to that church either.
Discouraged and ready to just settle in a church regardless of their stance on women and the marriage union, I e-mail Pam Hogeweide, author of a book I had read about the injustices toward women in the church, for advice. Is it really that big of a deal if we believe differently on this topic than the leadership of my church community?
You have barely waded into the waters of this faith community and already your injustice meter is going off. And that’s what it is to me : injustice. The issue of women and the attitudes and beliefs towards women are far reaching. How a leadership see women affects the preaching and practices in that church.
She is right. We shouldn’t settle for the injustice.
We should keep looking.