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Author Topic: Women and GC  (Read 63624 times)
mamie
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« on: March 21, 2007, 09:00:24 pm »

Hi all -
I’ve been visiting the site for a few weeks now. First of all, may I just say how much I appreciate the level of integrity and humility that you are striving to maintain, even while discussing issues that stir up so many strong emotions.

I want to introduce a kind of new thread - I’m not really sure how to do that…this is my first adventure into participating in the blogosphere so please excuse the ignorance….

I should probably say a little about me before I get going on my topic so you’ll know more where I’m coming from. I have an eclectic church background, although primarily evangelical (am blessed by very dear Christian parents). I was not introduced to a GC church until about 10 years ago, when I was in my mid-30’s. I have attended 2 GC churches (2 of the originals, so ones with long histories and strong influences), one for five years, one for 3. I left the last one about a year ago. Some of what I know (and abhor) about GC is from my own experience and observation but much more has come through friendships that I’ve developed with women who came into the “movement” in the 70s as college students. A few are still in GC, most are not. One dear friend just left a couple of months ago, after 30 years in GC - she said it had all of the emotional wreckage of what she imagined a divorce would have after 30 years of commitment to a marriage….

…which leads into the topic. I’ve been surprised that so little of the discussion has centered around the attitudes, doctrine, treatment, and policies regarding women. “Walking wombs” started there but pretty quickly went off on a different track. Ditto with the marriage thread. So here are a few of my observations:

- Although there is a strongly held belief that women are not to hold any leadership positions except over other women and children, it is not strongly communicated (another manifestation of what I would call deception…certainly not being forthright about the extent/extremism of their view). You really only find out the hard way, and even then, it’s not a flat-out “No, your genetic make-up disqualifies you.” The message is so incredibly subtle (with the exception of the position of elder - they are fairly overt with that)…it’s only after a long while of experiencing not so much what’s said and done but what’s NOT said and done that you think something isn’t right.

- The stance of the leadership is muddied by the frequent situation in which women ARE allowed to assume leadership of tasks that men don’t want - they just aren’t given credit (title, recognition, etc.). It’s often behind the scenes - which is where GC women are told they should desire to be anyway. Of course, a person can’t bring that up because then you would be exhibiting “selfish ambition”….

- I am stunned by the neglect of single women older than college-age. This is the demographic group that I have the most contact with and that I have been a part of while in GC. I personally know of at least half-a-dozen women who in their work-lives are or have been successful, high-level leaders in national-level businesses or agencies, managing multi-million dollar budgets. And yet they can’t even be head usher in their own GC church??? They are not even asked to serve in an advisory capacity (well, okay, one was, but only in private meetings with the pastor - and he always took the credit for her ideas in public). Their gifts are ignored. GC has NEVER known what to do with articulate, bright, visionary, dynamic women - except to get them “under a man’s covering” (whatever the heck that means!) as soon as possible! If marriage didn’t happen, the result has been invisibility. I don’t know any better term. We’ve not been spoken harshly to…we’ve just not been spoken to at all - not in any meanignful way. We’ve not been treated badly…we’ve not been treated at all… You get my point.

- The archtype of the “ideal GC woman” is one who supports, serves and obeys her man, with a quiet and cheerful spirit and a focus on raising children (the more the better). I fully expect to see fallout in the next decade as the first generation of traditional GC married women hit the empty-nest phase of adult life and slowly wake up to the realization that there just ain’t a heckuva-lot for them to do any more and the men don’t really know what to do with them. And those whose marriages were based on serving compatability will be in the greatest trouble. I think we’ve already started to see the beginnings of a trend of failed marriages (whether by infidelity, divorce, or serious dysfunction).

- For single women, the archtye was morphed in the early days into (from what I’ve heard) serving either the men in general (competing with other single girls over the privilege of doing an elder’s laundry or making their lunch - I kid you not!!) or being chosen as the “indentured servant” of a married couple who had begun “filling the man’s quiver.” These relationships were so manipulative and spiritually abusive that I know of at least one 50+ year old woman who still can’t bring herself to move away from the family that she has been emotionally tied to all these years. Of course, there is a great deal of love there - the real and good kind - but the loyalty card was played so long and so well that, in spite of the fact that she would be much more nurtured and connected if she lived in a city where her longtime girlfriends live, she can’t find the strength to leave.

Well, that’s probably more than enough for a start. My guess is that these issues have not been brought up because there aren’t single, middle-aged former GC women reading this blog. There are gobs of them out there…and if any of you ARE reading, please share your stories. I know from face-to-face conversations that there are very deep hurts that still have debilitating effects for some. This can be a safe place to find support and freedom to talk with others about your experiences. Those of you regulars who aren’t in that demographic, maybe you know some women who are???
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erik's wife
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« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2007, 09:01:08 pm »

hi. thus far i’ve been a fairly silent observer- busy just listening and making my comments to my husband and his best friend- nate. i have a couple of thoughts on this post though that i would like to share with the board though. a little history on me first: i’ve been in gc (insert another letter here) for approx. 21 years. in that time span i’ve attended four different gcac churches, four HSLT’s, one LT, all the faithwalkers, and countless other retreats/national conventions. i am well aware that this is not a perfect organization, but i don’t expect perfection from anything short of heaven.

on to this post: i feel that a womans role and the areas she’s “allowed” to serve in vary from church to church. one of the churches i was in even had a female deconess. i really wanted to share a personal observation on the “indentured servant” comment. i can see how looking in it may appear to be manipulation or slave labor, but i do believe it has done immeasurable for some. in the mid-eighties, right after my mother became a Christian she began serving two families in her gcchurch regularly. she was a single mother (to me) who lacked maturity and life experience. these families took her into their homes and hearts allowing her to observe godly marriages and child-rearing. they would gently advise her (not command her) and teach her in areas of her life that she really needed help in. they could see things in her life that she couldn’t and could make recommendations based on their own experiences and years of wisdom. they showed her her choices in life and let her make her own decisions based on what she felt to be God’s leading. i could give examples if you’re interested. so yes, she babysat for free and helped with housework, but she did so voluntarily and felt that what she was getting in return couldn’t be repaid.
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erik's wife
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2007, 09:01:23 pm »

the word “immeasurable” in my last post was suppose to be followed by the word “good”.
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Genevieve
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2007, 09:01:35 pm »

Mamie,
Wow, what great insights! You’re so right that they don’t know what to do with bright, visionary women, especially if they’re not married. Men, married or not, can easily have a place of leadership and influence, but I’ve never seen an unmarried woman be very influential.

That’s terribly sad. If women don’t currently have children they can do “administrative” work for the church–planning meetings, running errands, organizing events, but you’re right, it’s all behind the scenes.

The indentured servant idea makes me ill. I think you’re right. The “filling the man’s quiver” phrase also makes me sick.

The invisibility of unmarried women is so maddening.

Anyway, I didn’t add much to the discussion, but I want to thank you for bringing this subject up and for articulating it so clearly.

Erik’s Wife, I know this may seem like just semantics, but the fact that you write in as “Erik’s wife” instead of your own name or handle is only helping to support our point about women in the church.
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erik's wife
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« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2007, 09:01:49 pm »

yeah, i know. it was sarcasm. sorry. this is ambre. just an aside, it was a year before i ever heard you referred to as anything other that your husbands girlfriend and then wife. i don’t think it was gcmers putting you in your place, i think it was just that people knew i’d known your husband for years and that was how i could most easily place your face. since erik’s posted here i thought it would be nice to help people put me in context. that’s all. my husband and i are very much two different people and proud of it. Smiley
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MamaD
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« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2007, 09:02:14 pm »

in the mid-eighties, right after my mother became a Christian she began serving two families in her gcchurch regularly. she was a single mother (to me) who lacked maturity and life experience. these families took her into their homes and hearts allowing her to observe godly marriages and child-rearing.

According to Matthew 20 (and mamad), your mother is a great woman.

And, is it just me, but the “have the single mom serve the pastor’s family” idea seems just the opposite of true servanthood. If any serving was going to be done shouldn’t it start with the pastor’s family, so the single mom could get a little break now and then?

Matthew 20:25-28

25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


Also, they didn’t use the term “indentured servant”, did they? Just checking.
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mamie
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« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2007, 09:02:28 pm »

Food for thought:

Question 1A: What percentage of people who attend Faithwalkers are female?
Question 1B: What percentage of speakers are female (singers in the worship band don’t count)?
Question 2A: What percentage of people attending LT are female?
Question 2B: What percentage of speakers are female?

So…..if I’m a young, impressionable woman, what am I to make of that???

FYI - This has been brought up with the national leadership, with the predicted response (or lack of…). But anyone going this year is welcome to raise it again. Especially if a man were to raise it….sadly, that might make a difference…
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AgathaL'Orange
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 09:03:31 pm »

Mamie, I think that you make an interesting point about Faithwalkers, and I can’t decide what I think about it.

On the one hand, I still believe that the pastor/priest/elder role is still to be a man’s role… simply because it’s spelled out that way in the Bible. In the Bible there are deaconesses, prophetesses, female judges, queens, and “inner circle” women, and I think that GC would do well to have modern day versions of these roles… not really versions, but women who have important roles, I guess.

I guess a speaker at a conference really isn’t functioning in a “church” role that is if GC churches are “autonomous with loose affiliations” as they claim, then why wouldn’t women be able to “speak or exercise authority over a man” at a national conference?

That is just a thought and is in some ways a statement about GC’s governmental structure more than anything else.

To me a far more alarming problem is the, for lack of a better word, infantile nature in which GC sometimes treats it women. I still go back to the thoughts a woman shared at a women’s conference about “serving our families.” This resonated deep, loudly and uncomfortably with me. Servanthood is something we are called to do. We are even called to be servants of all. But there is something so oppressive to think of what I am doing for my children as servanthood. I mean, I’m in charge. I teach, comfort, love, feed, clothe, nag, model, and many other numerous things that are so much more than servanthood. That was the last women’s conference I attended… and I even had to leave early and Genevieve and I funnily enough ended up meeting each other in the lobby and prayed a little together. Neither one of us could take it anymore.

As far as single mothers having “models” in “healthier, whole families”… while I suppose a noble idea… I really have a problem with this too. I agree with Mamad that maybe the single mothers need a break rather than more work. And to be honest… I never found a GC family or ANY family for that matter that I would want to be a part of that closely. It just isn’t part of the natural family structure. And while I am glad that has worked for some, it could be another example where a woman needs to have a man for credibility.

I think the number of quotes we’ve brought up over the past several months (at least three) of women who give their schedules, relationships, and priorities to their husbands to approve is extremely disturbing. Two of these were well known leaders in the movement.

It seems many of these problems stem back to the authoritarian problems GC has had in the past and still has today. And whether or not you believe women should be in the role of pastor (I don’t, but I don’t get all uptight about it) women should definitely have some say and positions of leadership in the movement beyond, women and children’s ministry, hospitality, music and refreshments. I think it would be wise to have women on vision committees, steering committees, building committees, leadership councils, and so many more places.

While I do believe that men should be leaders in the home and church. I think that this should come about because they’re just so darn great that you want to follow them. If a man has to demand submission or leadership or even bring it up, to be honest… I don’t think he’s much of a man at all. I respect my husband because he’s a good man and because he’s one of the only people I would trust in almost any situation. He’s never, ever, ever told me or asked me to follow him. Not once. In fact, sometimes he tells me not to follow him, because he respects me enough as a person that he knows I can think for myself. But you know what, I find myself following him anyway in lots of situations… We both co-lead our family.

I guess what I am trying to say is this… It is an immature man who lacks confidence who finds it necessary to always lay down the law or to demand or even ask for obedience or submission. That’s why I have to laugh at all the men who teach on this in GC. You can be as hip as you want, but I won’t and many people have no interest in giving up their lives out of fear, obedience or obligation.

“We love Him because He first loved us.” Not because Him first wore hip clothes or first told us to love Him or first demanded submission. Darn it, he loved us first and the natural response to love is more love.
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Glad to be free.
Kirsten
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2007, 09:04:14 pm »

   If women don’t currently have children they can do “administrative” work for the church–planning meetings, running errands, organizing events, but you’re right, it’s all behind the scenes.

I have a kid and still do this stuff. :-) Though with number two on the way I think even if we do end up somehow staying here instead of moving I will do a lot less once baby #2 comes in late March. I am going to keep up my quarterly editing work (I edit for Daylights, the GCA devotional)…but I think just a baby and toddler will be enough to keep me busy most days!

As a woman on full time staff (especially when I was the only staffer working with the college ministry, just working with two pastors) — I always felt like I had a lot of influence even with direction and vision. I shared lots of ideas about everything from leadership development to the structure of our small groups to more mundane things, and a lot of my ideas were implemented. I’m not saying that to brag as much as to give at least my example of a woman’s voice that was heard. I know it isn’t that way all the time or in every church.

I would say my influence has been less since I have been only part time staff — but I guess that makes sense, since I am devoting a lot less time to “paid ministry work” these days so I probably shouldn’t have as much influence as some of the current full time staffers and other leaders.

I guess the fact that it is mostly behind the scenes stuff doesn’t bother me too much. I guess it depends on how you define the terms. In one sense, the only things that aren’t “behind the scenes” in a medium or large group context would be teaching and being involved with music on stage. For two years I was the “producer” of our Friday night college ministry meeting — I was never on stage except maybe to do announcements, but yet the buck stopped with me pretty much for how the whole Friday night schebang went off. Behind the scenes? Maybe, but the result of my work was very public, and if I screwed up there could have been very public results.

Personally, I’m not musical at all (at least in a sense that works with contemporary music — I was a great flute player back in my high school days!), and I do believe that the role of Biblical teaching in an authoritative manner to mixed-gender groups is reserved for men (whether in a pastoral/church context or not — so I would include that to mean at conferences, etc). So if you do define behind the scenes as everything else, then I guess what I did or was able to do was behind the scenes.

I recognize that lots of people don’t agree with that view about women not teaching men authoritatively, and I think the issue of women’s roles should be one of those “agree to disagree” type issues across the body of Christ. There are a lot of respected Christian leaders, churches, denominations, etc on both sides. I’ve done a lot of reading and research in this area and I am happy to stand where I stand while recognizing that others may come to a different conclusion.
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Kirsten
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2007, 09:04:27 pm »

Oh, if someone else has a different definition of what’s “behind the scenes” and what’s not “behind the scenes” I would love to hear it. Maybe I am not looking at this from the same paradigm as others of you are.
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mamie
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2007, 09:04:43 pm »

I think what bothers me about the events goes back to being forthright, open and consistent as an organization - that the walk matches the talk.

Faithwalkers: My understanding (and I could be wrong - please correct me if I am) is that Faithwalkers is intended, at least in recent years, to give younger generations the opportunity to hear from those who have been “walking in the faith” for many, many years. I believe that, if that’s the intention, then half of the stories that are shared should be those of women who have been in the movement since the beginning - and there are many wonderful examples. To only have men sends a subtle (and that’s the part that bothers me) message that it’s only the men’s stories that younger men and women can learn from. I strongly disagree! I think both men and women need to hear from faithful women.

LT: The letters stand for leadership training, I believe. If they intend to train men and women as leaders, then they need men and women as trainers. If, as I believe is closer to the truth, they are only speaking to future male leaders, then they should be upfront about it and not invite young women. why are they there?? It’s the “bait and switch” that others here have talked about. Women think they are being included when they hear a sermon or “talk”, in whatever venue, about serving in influential, decision-making roles because they’re invited to hear the talk and nobody overtly says, “Tune this out ’cause it only refers to the guys.” It’s only when a woman naively starts to pursue a path of leadership as she seeks to use her gifts that she finds that the encouragement, support, instruction was never meant for her in the first place.

So that’s specifically the error that I see, not differences in scriptural interpretation about women elders or pastors. It’s duplicity and it’s shameful.
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Kirsten
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2007, 09:04:57 pm »

With Faithwalkers, I think that is part of the purpose, but their main intention is for that purpose to be carried out in the context of Biblical teaching on a certain topic (For example — last year or maybe it was the year before was on “core values” and this year is on “God the magnificent”). So that does bounce it back to whether or not one thinks it is okay for women to teach authoritatively.

I think there definitely could be more effort made to include testimonies from both women and from non-pastor men.

The LT thing is kind of interesting — our church hasn’t participated in the GCM college LT program for a few years so my information is outdated. As one who went to two LTs as a student and two as a staffer, I think the real “leadership training” happens not in the large group meetings but in other contexts. The large group meetings are again, authoritative Biblical teaching — most of which honestly had very little to do with leadership directly. Maybe one teaching per summer was directly related to “leadership.”

However, most people at LT (men and women alike) are (or at least were) given responsibilities of one sort or another — leading small groups, planning outreach activities, responsibility for things in their house or apartment, etc. A lot more of what I learned at LT that was really related to “leadership” were in some of those hands-on experiences of having to lead a small group of women, having to help lead an outreach team, etc.

I actually thought after my two LTs as a student that they should change the name of it anyway to something without “leadership” in the name — because that is really so little of the experience. I grew in a lot of other character areas and skills and in my walk with God in general.

Most men don’t go on to be pastors either, so if the things at LT are only going to apply to “future male leaders” then it only applies to a small minority. Most men aren’t speaking up front or doing things in a really public way either. (Sorry if that comment offends!).
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Kirsten
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2007, 09:05:09 pm »

Oh, I’ll also say (for those who don’t know me) I’m pretty feisty and I don’t really fit the “GC woman stereotype” very well, except for the fact that I am now married with 1.5 kids. ;-) I really don’t have that “quiet and gentle spirit” thing down very well at all. I’ve never felt held back from being who I am.

I think various people have tried to “temper” me over time but I think that is a good thing as I am sure me losing my temper and yelling at people in my feisty-ness is not a good thing. (Happened to me in both church and non-church contexts where I got in trouble along those lines!). Smiley
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nateswinton
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2007, 09:08:12 pm »

I can vouch for Kirsten’s “feisty-ness”. I remember catching hell a few years ago on a spring break trip for dissing on cold-turkey evangelism Cheesy (and for the record, I just had a bad attitude, lets not repeat the whole “you’ve been wronged, Nate” thing again Smiley ). I was wrong, I got rebuked, I licked my wounds, we all went out sharing again. This is a comment about Kirsten actually being feisty. That’s all. Forget the cold-turkey part.

Moving on, my wife tends to be much more on the feisty-side as well. We joke about submission issues alot because we submit to each other all the time. My conviction is that her submitting to me is not my problem - I should be too busy trying to love her like Christ loved the Church to notice. And if “doin’ her right”, it’d just be silly for her not to follow my lead. If I’m not, I’ve got some shaping up to do. I don’t have the time and energy to make sure she submits!

I don’t share the “conviction” (read: prefrence) that women should be silent in church or that in no situation should they be in authority over men. I think if we want to keep that old doctrine solid, we as believers should have made a stand against the civil rights movement. Slavery, after all, was permitted by Jesus and Paul! (I’m speaking tongue in cheek here. I am 100% opposed to slavery, racism and sexism). Since I look past the slavery verses and say “we don’t believe slavery is right any more”, I feel pretty confident saying “I personally think women can lead just fine”.

A more valid question to me is, “who is a good leader - regardless of race or gender?” I know lots of guys that are great guys, they’re dear friends, but that couldn’t lead anyone but themselves to save their life. That’s the case for plenty of women I know too. Most people just aren’t cut out for real leadership. That’s not to say that alot of people can’t be great examples and great teachers. They just don’t have the “oomph” to be a great leader. I don’t care what kind of genitals you have, honestly.

I’ve learned that it (leadership) often looks very different in men and women. It took me a while to really get that fact. I know some women that are fantastic leaders (Kirsten is actually one of them), and are heroic to me in their ability to serve “behind the scenes” and in management positions, as well as to really lead out in being loving, compassionate, merciful, faithful, (and all the other fruits of the Spirit).

***INSERT RANT HERE***
I think the deeper issue is a problem in the church to not actually treat the “vessels in the house” that are viewed as “less noble” as more important. We’ve bought into the world’s thought that leadership is supreme and that service is lowly - that love and compassion are weak, and strength and power are everything. That’s honestly a lie from the devil. And it pisses me off when people buy into it. Love is supreme. Someone who is willing to lead out in love is not weak or lowly or background - they are serving in the foreground of Christ’s ministry on earth. I’m not gonna refrence all the verses right now because my wife just went to bed and I should too because I’m waking up early, but remember: other gifts (the ones that seem amazing and praise-worthy to us now) will cease! Faith, Hope and Love will remain. And most of the women in my life are very strong in those areas.

They are leaders in God’s work. They may not get man’s praise, but that’s man’s problem, not womens. I say that women (and men!) should keep on keeping on and not buy into the bull that the world feeds you that you should be dominant and in the forefront. I think men especially should quit buying that “logic” and start serving like the Lord that they claim did. In full humility and submission the Father.

Thinking that we should aspire to be leaders is counter-intuitive to the gospels!!! We should be servants and making ourselves the “least among men”. We should be giving up rights and sacrificing ourselves. Our Lord took immense, ridiculous amounts of verbal and physical abuse for our sakes, he sacrificed himself in such a humiliating, agonizing way. It’s real leadership to be willing to live like Him. He’s the greatest leader the world has ever (and will ever) see. His teachings on leadership are revolutionary, and his disciples changed the course of history forever.

Leadership is not authority, it’s humility. It’s not power, it’s submission to the one with real Power. It’s not high position, it’s low position. It’s service and sacrifice. It’s Joy and Pain. I think everyone should think twice before they move towards wanting to be a leader, because it’ll probably “screw up” their life really bad if they do it Jesus-style. Jesus-style leadership is hardcore till heaven. Men and Women alike - it’s a high calling. Like I said before, I don’t care what kind of genitals you have - I care how humble and self-sacrificing you’re willing to be. If you want to be a leader so you can feel good about yourself, step aside and let the ones broken before God lead you by the hand for a while first.

I’ve seen men aspire to leadership and get wrecked so badly it took them a year to get back up, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’ve seen it in my own life. I’d openly tell anyone to think twice before they want to lead anyone spititually. It’s a hard thing.

Crap, it’s late and I’m ranting like crazy now. I’ll probably read this in the morning and be like “woah… take a deep breath next time, Nate”. I’m not talking to anyone in particular, just sharing thoughts. Hope it made some sense… G’night decommissioned! Sweet dreams!
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MamaD
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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2007, 09:08:38 pm »

If a man has to demand submission or leadership or even bring it up, to be honest… I don’t think he’s much of a man at all.

Wow, lots of comments since I last checked in. And, the cluster map is very interesting.

Agatha said the above quote quite a few posts back and I thought it was good (as all of Agatha’s quotes are!).

In our process of questioning things, we talked with a lot, and I mean a lot, of non GCM people to get advice about what we should do and ask questions about various points of disagreement we had with GCM doctrine.

The Hebrews 13:17 thing was big because it is the classic example of what happens when people take verses out of context. One pastor in commenting on this verse first made the observation of the bad hermeneutics involved (taking the verse out of the context of the Book of Hebrews and the NT).

But, his final observation was, “When a pastor has to start demanding obedience from people, it’s over.”

I believe, heavy handed leadership sends people running.
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Genevieve's Husband
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2007, 09:08:56 pm »

The word submission makes me gag. I don’t think it has any place in a marital relationship. It’s not about one person always having the final say, it’s a partnership where things are discussed together and a decision is made together. To me, submission in a relationship screams unhealthy, divorce ready, and cult like mind control.
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Genevieve's Husband
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« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2007, 09:09:12 pm »

About women in GCM,



I think women’s place in church is a tricky issue. Historically, there haven’t been many places in the church’s leadership structure. Personally I don’t have any problem with a female pastor/priest etc…I think most bible scholars would tell you that the verse in Corinthians about a woman not teaching a man, was a cultural rule, because most women of in the early church where uneducated. The society of the ancient Mediterranean was also extremely patriarchal, so it’s no wonder the church has been historically male dominated. Women today are just as educated and qualified as any man so I don’t understand why they can’t serve in any way a man can. However, I know it’s a tricky issue.



What really bothers me about GCM is that their “women’s roles” extend outside of church and into women’s (and men’s) personal lives. Like Mamie was talking about it’s not a spoken rule but what’s not said. It’s implied that if you are a woman and are truly serious about following God, than this is your role. You are to be a servant: to you husband, to your family, to your church to everyone. I don’t have a problem with service, but as a man who grew up in GCM; this was something which was never taught to me or any other man I knew. It’s extremely sexist.



This topic is so big that I don’t know how to properly express what is wrong with GCM’s view of women. I think I can only say that GCM women live a second rate existence. Of course GC would adamantly deny this as would any GCM women (I know you fingers are hurrying to the keyboard in order to type a furious defense). GC’s girls all say that this is the best way, “what I truly wanted.” “It’s how God designed us.” “God set up our role this way.” “Man is leader and provider, we are to follow and submit.” My question to you is, did you come to this conclusion yourself or did a man in GCM tell you this.



I know I’m also going to have many responses from current GCM women on how independent they are. They will likely site many examples about how they have jobs and are active and valued members of GCM. But ask yourselves, have you ever felt pressure to live differently (the GCM way). You have. It wasn’t overt; it was subtle and it’s been eating at your slowly since you’ve joined the church.



If you’re still in denial, think of all the couple’s you know that are “high up” in GCM. I bet the vast majority of them have chosen the classic Man provider, woman nurturer relationship. This is simply shamefull.
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« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2007, 09:09:23 pm »

At my GCM singles college group, women were taught in their life groups that if a brother in the life group asked them to do something, they should submit to him on the basis of his gender. I know this from talking to a female friend of mine. It was also openly taught that women were not to teach men, and that their job in a marriage was to submit to their man’s decision. Since there are bible verses that can be used to justify these beliefs, it never really bothered me too much (being honest here).

There were times when it seemed a bit excessive to me, however. For instance, an acceptable model of a Christian husband’s leadership was discussed once as such: It would not be unusual, or inappropriate, for a GCM husband to come home from work one day, and tell his wife that they were moving to another city to be on a church plant. This is without any prior warning or asking her input. This was viewed as acceptable husband leadership. Furthermore, this analogy was used to justify the way GCM pastors led their flock. They made decisions, and let the flock know after the decisions had been made. This was “God’s model of submission/leadership” that applied to marriage, the church, and so on. It was clearly taught from the pulpit as well.
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« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2007, 09:09:36 pm »

‘a brother in the life group’ should be ‘a brother in the small group’

A life group was gender segregated, a small group was when the two life groups met together.
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« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2007, 09:09:46 pm »

OK, maybe this stuff is taught more openly, Yikes!

What is the big deal with submission anyway? This church is completely obsessed with the topic. Read the gospels I don’t think this issue even comes up. How about just have a normal church where people aren’t ordered around by rank and gender.
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Here's an easy way to find out if you're in a cult. If you find yourself asking the question, "am I in a cult?" the answer is yes. -Stephen Colbert
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