Recently, a friend of mine sent me Hannah Anderson’s article on Christianity Today’s website titled How Brainy Women Benefit the Church (you can read it here). I resonated so much with the article, mostly on the topic of the expectation (or lack thereof) of women within the church.
My friend, who is pregnant, close to her due date, and embarking on her new journey into motherhood, text me and is concerned about the stereotype that is often draped over women when they choose to stay home and raise a child. Many times these moms are placed in a box of shallow thinking, emotionally neediness, and disinterest in anything remotely close to intelligent thinking. Other than the topics of babies and children, with the non-exhaustive list of sub-topics like breastfeeding, diapers, and tantrums, these women don’t know how to have normal conversations, let alone a deep, theological discussion. Yes, stereotypes stem from somewhere, but to make this a blanket view on all women who become mothers is as closed-minded as saying all men know how to work with power tools. This does nothing more than encourage the mothers who parent our future leaders to commit themselves to a stagnant place, a dead-end so-to-speak, a life sentence to an island they can never return. How cruel and close-minded are we as not only a Church but a country to commit this sin of judgement to one of the most important roles on the planet? A woman who is in a full-time care-taking roll of children should not only yearn to learn & grow but be encouraged to do so. We require the professionals in all their crafts to continue their education, why don’t we inspire, motivate, and applaud mothers?
If we go to the Bible for answers on this, I can think of two places where Jesus lays to rest any question of women thinking and growing her intelligence. Matthew 22 can silence all of the nay-sayers with the most important commandment, “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'” This was in fact the very verse that motivated me through Bible college and earning my business administrative degree. It was the passage my hermeneutics professor challenged us with, the extra push we needed to put effort into learning more about God and knowing His Word. Loving the Lord God with all your mind is not gender specific.
How can we forget about Mary and Martha? If you’re familiar with the story of these two women, Martha is frustrated with Mary for listening to Jesus’ teachings and not helping her with the serving. Jesus points out to Martha that Mary made the right choice in seeking time with Him. I remember learning about this in Sunday school, and I was always confused with what Jesus said but how things really play out in the world. I want to sit, read, and soak up God’s presence, but I often find myself being the Martha. Rushing around, doing doing doing, forgetting to sit and stew in God’s presence and glean from His Word and teaching. Why do we praise the former and pass over the latter? The church needs to stop emphasizing & praising our pinterest worthy homes and lives but start invigorating all women to learn, grow, and nuture their hearts, souls, and minds.