September 28, 2007

Preparing Women for the Future: What's the Plan?

Every day it seems that conservative Christians are taking a hit from the liberal left who argue that because Scripture doesn't speak specifically about topics like abortion or embryonic stem cell research, then it doesn't have anything to say about those topics at all. It's true that Scripture doesn't address every possible subject under the sun, but it does provide the framework through which we can process our day to day living. Consequently, in humility and love, we can address even the most complex areas of our lives without compromising the authority or integrity of Scripture. What does that have anything to do with preparing women for the future?

Today women of all ages are faced with a plethora of choices and confront difficult decisions, most of which Scripture has little or nothing say. Bible studies and small groups do their best to promote the character and virtues necessary to live in today's world and succeed in promoting a biblical life ethic. This works well for the women who are involved in these groups. But the challenge of living in today's world - and in the near future - is understanding what we confront. It's not enough anymore to know "right from wrong" for at least 2 reasons: 1. our world has declared that there is no right or wrong because truth is determined by the individual, and 2. It's not always clear that an action or decision is wrong or lacks virtue because it might covered in a blanket of warm words or arguments: therapeutic, self-esteem, merciful, reasonable, etc.

Preparing women to live in this world in the future - and even the near future - necessitates that we address actual issues women face, it's not enough to teach about what makes a woman virtuous or excellent....that needs to be there, but there needs to be more. Wherever and whenever possible, reach out to experts or find resources to address specific areas of a woman's life. How is technology making her life easier and more complex at the very same time? What is the affect of assisted reproductive technologies on a young woman and her [future] husband and [future] family? Why does it matter that she understand that she understand the influence of pornography on the family? How can we be responsible citizens that care about the environment and also be respectors of the image of God in all persons? How do people think and does it actually affect their day to day living? Can an evangelical Christian woman have a career? How does the Christian worldview shape our work, worship and womanhood? These are just a few of the topics that all women need to talk about today. Think about how to prepare women for the future and work this into your ministries as much as you can.


Micah Tillman said...

The issue of why Scripture doesn't answer all our questions is something I've been dealing with for a long time. I wrote an article on it for which contains my conclusions on the subject.
Why Doesn't Scripture Answer All Our Questions?

Hope that link works . . .

Sarah J. Flashing said...

The link works, and thanks for posting that! I took a brief look at your article and I agree that how we ask the question is as much of a challenge as how we locate the answer. There is a lot to be unpacked as it relates to how we use Scripture to answer life's difficult questions, but needless to say, Scripture gives us a framwork to start with and virtue as a key place to start.

RGarde said...

You ask "Can an evangelical Christian woman have a career?" and I'm thinking, we (I'm in my 40's) were brought up to strive for a career. I'm wondering if there should also be a question, "Can a woman today also choose be a fulltime mother without others looking down on her?"

I worked 14 years before having kids. Once I had them I wanted to be fully immersed in their experience. To me it was a choice to quit work, not a necessity. It was a choice similar to the person who chooses to still work. Actually I like to refer it to a "calling".

Over time I found only a few books for at home moms as most were about "how to have a home business so you can stay home" or "how to leave the workforce", etc. I wanted a book that supported and gave me guidance in the difficult and sacrificial choice I'd made. I ended up writing a book. I queried one Christian publisher and she responded, "we don't accept material that doesn't appeal to BOTH working and at home moms." Some of the correspondence with her indicated a snobbery implying there is no market for my material for at home moms only and that it becomes divisive if only targetted to one group. She almost assumed my material would say all moms need to stay home.

I don't think a book written to both would accomplish what a mom fulltime really needs to hear.

I think we've circled - moms used to be expected to stay home, then they were expected to work and now some want to stay home again but feel unsupported.