Friday, 21 October 2016

Mutuality & Community - A Reflection of God

I wrote a blog a few days ago, referring to Dr. Jackie Roese's article, for GProConnext.  

I came across an article by Dr. Jackie Roese accidentally.  But I must say her writing resonates with me, and perhaps with other men and women of God.  This issue of women in leadership has been contentious for the longest time.  Why must it be so?  Coming from Singapore, one of the most educated nations in the world, it is extremely difficult for me to fathom that Christ-following women's leadership is limited to certain categories of the church population - mainly to children, youths and women.  Worst still, in some sectors of God's kingdom, it is expected that the woman follow instructions from a male leader.  Or put it another way, women can be leaders but there is a limit to how far they can advance in the kingdom.  
My interest lies in the faithful usage of gifts and talents given by God.  If a brother is far more gifted and better in serving in a particular capacity, so be it.  If a sister is better, so be it.  But they must have heard from God first and foremost and be approved by their leaders.  Herein lies the problem - what if a women is called to lead or to pastor or to preach or to teach? Would the male leaders in that particular church encourage her with whole-heartedness, even daring to equip her with the leadership and homiletical skills?  Would permission be granted to her to  "do all to the glory of God"? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
When I belonged to a certain Methodist church in Singapore, I was taken by surprise when my pastor invited me to preach at a Sunday worship service.  My first words were, "What caused you to invite me?" I could not believe that this elderly man actually invited me.  My then-pastor replied that he was praying for me and he believes that God asked him, "When will you give her the pulpit?"  He knew that he had to invite me and was doing so, out of obedience.  Praise God for his courage as since then, I have preached in many churches in various nations, sometimes seeing hundreds accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  All glory to God!
Frankly, we have been dialoguing and being politically correct (oh, those famous two-words for the season-'politically correct') and I have seen how dialogues can bring out the anger and indignation in a person.  Any topic to do with women is sensitive but we are not all about hairdos, fashion, shoes and handbags.  Or making coffee, getting files and folders, teaching art or hosting felllowships.  We think - we can think and we will think. We want to be able to reach anyone whom God assigns us.  We are here to glorify God with the love of Christ and by using our gifts and talents as best as we can.
My heart resonates with Roese's article because I have observed and experienced the misconceptions about Christian women in leadership, as have many other women I know.  And I especially like this quote from her article 3 Things Christians Get Wrong About Women Leaders: 
Within God's self, there is giving and receiving, affecting and being affected—mutuality. The creation of man and woman reflects the community of our Triune God.
There is not only mutuality and community in a Triune God, there is beauty in the entire concept of a unity that can only be achieved in the Lord Jesus Christ. In God's perfect world, we are called to rule the world together.  It is my hope that as Christians, we can bring some perfection related to the kingdom of God into an imperfect world.
In the same article, Roese says, "The Church is crippled by the male-female divide. Commentator Carolyn Custis James says, "When men are called to full-fledged Kingdom living but the other half of the Church is asked to sit on the sidelines, there is no Blessed Alliance, the Bride of Christ limps, and we misinterpret God's oneness."