Sunday, October 17, 2010

Two Things She Can't Do

Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a mommy just like you but I want five babies."

Are there any other words that can cause a mother to both feel very proud, very humbled and very scared all at the same time? I feel honored that from Sophie's point of view I'm a good enough example of what a mommy is that she would want to be one herself.

Another thought that races through my mind is one that embarrasses me and that I chase away as quick as I can. It runs along the lines of, "But don't you want to be something more than that; like a doctor or a scientist?" Isn't that horrible. Being a mother is my primary responsibility. I don't believe that it's a "lesser" occupation at all. In fact, I work harder now than I ever did out in the "work force" as a project manager.

Lately, however, another thought goes through my mind. It's comes as a result of a situation that happened to some friends of ours. Their son got in some trouble that involved the police and could go to court. This comes on the heels of their second son, a college student, who has several DUIs under his belt right now.

Why I bring that up is that there are two jobs that my daughter and I can't ever aspire to, even if we wanted to. The first is President of the United States. I was born in France and she in Armenia. Because of our international birth we're automatically rejected as potential presidents (thank goodness). The second thing that we'll never be able to do is be elders in our church because we're women. Our church has decided that in this one instance, the words "man" and "husband" used in 1 Timothy 3 should be taken literally and globally, thereby excluding women.

At this point, because our church is amazing in so many other areas, I'm able to deal with mismatch in theology beliefs and move forward. As long as no one tries to teach our daughter that this is absolute truth, we won't have an issue. However, where I do have problems now, is that the father of the two boys who have now both been in trouble with the law is an elder at our church. In the same passage in 1 Timothy, Paul teaches, "one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how can he take care of the church of God?)."

How do I explain to my daughter that our church has decided to pick and choose which rules for eldership are literal and which are ok to ignore? How do I explain to her that while our reason for not being allowed certain areas of leadership is centered around something we have no control over those that are controllable but not followed can be ignored? Or that even though we are equal image-bearers and may have been given the gift of leadership or teaching, because of this one uncontrollable item and men's Bible interpretation, we're being told our gifts and equal image-bearing don't matter?

Unfortunately, this isn't the only instance where these "rules" of eldership have smacked me in the face. The last church we belonged to had an elder whose son was caught flushing another child's head down the toilet. One of the elders was a single man (no wife, no children).

I grew up in a church where the lead elder was a woman. Since the elders were the pastor's accountability, in essence, the head shed of this 13,000 member church was female. She was and is incredible. She walked with God, had humility, wisdom, strength and compassion. I want my daughter to know women like that; Women who are allowed to use ALL their gifts in the church, whether it be the gift of serving to wash a toilet or the gift of leadership or teaching, which still enables them to wash a toilet when needed.

I want my daughter to be a mommy if she gets the opportunity. There's no greater joy or responsibility. I pray that she will be a part of a church where she is allowed to use the gifts that God is already building inside her. I also pray that she never wants to be president.

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