August 7, 2007

Why I Write So Frequently About the Segmented Life

Compartmentalization is, I believe, one of the biggest challenges for Christians today - and it is not easy to overcome. Reason being, so many people are not aware that they are complicit in the fragmented lives of themselves and others. Is this really a problem, you ask?

No where in the Scriptures is there a delineation between the spiritual life and the ordinary. The opposite is taught - everything is God's and everything we do ought to be done with the glory of God in mind. And this is especially a real area of concern for women. Within the Christian community, women are taught to think in fragments: spiritual life, family life, career, etc. I remember meeting a young wife of a seminarian - a future pastor - she wanted to know when her ministry would begin, after all, she was only a mother of a young child at that point.

We have so elevated the vocation of ministry only to harm it's image and associated level of responsibility to God and the Church. It is clear to me that the end result is the devaluation of the differing roles that women hold, not understanding God calls women in a variety of ways.

So here is what needs to happen:
1. Women's Ministry needs to avoid language of compartmentalization. There is no separation in God's eyes regarding the different areas of our lives.
2. Promote an all-inclusive language that recognizes all areas as belonging to God. Stop, drop and pray doesn't make nearly as much sense as a whole life that's devoted to God.
3. Actively support and teach that God calls beyond vocational ministry and that women as mothers and various professions are also serving God as a matter of fulfilling the cultural mandate.


Collin Brendemuehl said...

So when we leave compartmentalization and present the faith with continuity, how hsall we frame it? It is a Total Commitment (common generic expression), a Life and Death commitment (common in persecuted countries), a Service commitment (common among anabaptists), an evangelistic commitment (Baptists), or a Holiness commmitment (pietists). Let's find the package that makes the message most clear and complete.

Sarah J. Flashing said...

Well let's just not overcomplicate things and recognize that all things and all areas belong to God. I would love to frame it theologically, but I think shifts in that area of thinking will occur as a person immerses themselves in worldview thinking. Wouldn't want to end the discussion too early. :)

ilona said...

Sarah, I agree with your observations on compartmentalization and its detrimental effects, and also on the steps you see needing to happen ( see my comment to Chong on the "women's roles" post @ Intellectuelle)

There are however some de facto situations in our promoted worldview that need to be addressed. This is where we diverge in the Church from our stated good intentions and official doctrine and the reality of how we are treating one another. We still treat one another according the worldly criteria that a certain mode or vocation is better than another. we are not internally inclusive, and that is where it is breaking down for women, I think.

It is easy to blame men for the status quo, but I believe we ignore the hidden factors of how we as women esteem ( or not!) one another.