23 October 2006

Theology in a Dress

In the book When Life and Beliefs Collide, James writes a series of topics for why women need theology and that it isn't just for professionals. I've included only a couple of my favorite excerpts from Part I of her book:
  • Women need theology for themselves . . . Life comes to women in stiff doses. When it does, and we are crushed or shattered or stretched beyond our limits, we need to surround ourselves with good theologians--husbands, pastors, and steadfast friends--who encourage and help us. But at the end of the day, it won't be their theology we will lean on, no matter how good it is. We will lean on our own. Adversity and adventures have a way of exposing the state of our theology. We may have heard a lot about God. In the thick of things, we will discover what we really believe about him. We ask too much of ourselves to wade into these deep waters with so little to keep our faith afloat.
  • Women need theology for each other. . . I read in a magazine for Christian women that listed ways to cope with depression. One suggestion was . . . a manicure, a trip to the mall, or a good laugh may serve to distract some from their pain for a moment. But in the end, this trivializes our problems and leaves us where we started. If that's the best we can do, we are in a sorry state for sure.
  • Women need theology for the church. By likening the church to a physical body, the apostle Paul shows the folly of neglecting theology. Weakness in any part of the body, no matter how small or insignificant, is a burden to the whole. 'If one part suffers, every part suffers with it' (1 Cor 12:26). Just think how self-absorbed we can be over flabby stomach muscles . . . thinning hair, or a sore toe--nothing life threatening, but serious matters when they affect your whole body. Yet in the church, we do not simply tolerate weakness; we actually promote it. The consequences have been devastating. Atrophy and malnutrition are rampant in the body of Christ, and we have grown comfortable with them. God calls women, along with men, to be runners (Heb 12:1-2), warriors (Eph 6:10-18), ambassadors (2 Cor 5:20), body builders (Eph 4:16), teachers, and encouragers (Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; 12:12-13). These callings stand in hopeless conflict with so-called feminine virtues of ignorance, passivity, and neediness. Each demands high levels of strength, courage, and activity--impossible for the spiritually malnourished.

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