I wonder how much a person's experience influences their theology. I'd imagine it must be quite a bit. For example, I grew up spending a lot of time with my mother. My dad worked rotating shifts and my siblings were much older so it was often me and mom for supper. Plus, we lived out in the country so it wasn't like I was running around the neighborhood with a pack of friends. I'd often do things with my mom like play tennis, or golf or go skiing. We had a lot of fun with a lot of great conversations over meals.
With that background, maybe it's not too much of a surprise that when I read the Bible I see God using women freely and I quickly see scripture that affirms women in leadership roles. But, as some of you know, there is a pretty strong divide in the church over this issue. Others see verses that support women playing a much diminished role. They think women should never be in key leadership positions and never teach men. My guess is that if you did the research you'd find that past experiences with mom's and other women have a big impact on how people interpret scripture on this issue.
I'm thankful that God gave me a positive experience, not only with my mom, but with other women. I've often worked either with or for women in business settings with good results. And I can't forget my wife and daughters. I know that they too have influenced my thinking. Lisa is one of the most intelligent, trustworthy people I know. And both of my daughters are sharp as tacks with big hearts for God. I would never hesitiate to promote any one of them into leadership roles in my charge.
I know that Cedarbrook Church wouldn't be who it is without our women leaders. There are too many for me to attempt to name and do them justice in this small space. But those who attend Cedarbrook know who I'm talking about. God has filled them with his Spirit and used them to touch hundreds of lives and build the ministry.
If you are a women and have been diminished by people in your life, I want to encourage you that those experiences aren't accurate reflections of either your personal worth or how God wants to use you. Don't let small minds control you. Let God's Spirit be the one that affirms and directs you in this coming year.