|My Daddy and Me|
There have been many moments in my life when I thought or spoke these words out loud: I don't wanna grow up! I've said that even in my fifties.
It's human nature to want periodically to shed responsibilities and lean into others to tell us what to do, make our decisions or take care of us. When I'm really old and this becomes a possible reality, I wonder if I'll feel irritated or relieved.
Sometimes I want to return to being a little girl with her Daddy by her side, oblivious to the adult world.
But then I remember my Daddy. He worked hard as a parent to ensure I would fulfill my own adult responsibilities well. He did all he could to help me grow into a strong, self sufficient woman (maybe sooner than most kids if you want to read that story).
This meant he gave me increasing freedom to make my own decisions. This meant he kept loosening the boundaries around me and encouraging me to explore new territories on my own. This meant he understood his job as a parent was to nurture my inner strength so that I would step into the world without any sense of entitlement or inferiority.
My daddy wanted children badly but he didn't want children forever. He was committed to raising me to be a fully functioning adult, confident of my abilities to maneuver through life and confident of my standing as an equal member of the human race.
No one I know would suggest remaining in parent mode well past the normal formative years. No one would think this is healthy for anyone, whether the child, the family or the community at large.
But this is essentially what patriarchy does to women in the church.
When women are denied equal authority, equal responsibility and equal voice, they are being treated like children and are denied adulthood in its fullest sense.
When leaders have important conversations and make significant decisions without full representation from over half the church, then women haven't really grown up.
When women are barred from sitting at the table of leadership, they are being barred from the table of adults.
When men restrict a woman's sphere of influence or define the Spirit's calling in her life, they presume to be her "fathers" when she should have only one, her Heavenly Father. Never once have I heard a father dedicate his daughter to future male church leaders to spiritually guide her through life.
Patriarchy perpetuates a church culture in which girls never leave the watchful eye of a father and never really become adult women with full freedom and equal value or voice under Christ's reign.
Patriarchy is a problem for women. And it's a problem for the church because in reality without the full adulthood of women and full partnership with men, the church is crippled and adolescent.
Voices are increasing in number as they expose problems with male-dominated church leadership. As a woman, I offer my voice, small as it may be, but determined:
I refuse to remain a child in the church or be treated like one. I am an adult!