Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dating Jesus (part two)

On Monday I was sitting in the sauna after my water aerobics class with a few other women who had also just gotten out of the pool. All of these women are older than me, some married, some with young children, some old enough to be my mom. One woman began talking about how she was having a difficult time at work because she had recently had to take off time to attend to her children. Some of the women with grown children began telling stories of how hard it was to balance work and family when they were raising their kids, and offered her some words of encouragement as she made the choice to be a mom first. I just listened during this discussion. I started to think about the compromises I will make if I ever get married and have a family. I thought about the compromises I have made in my life thus far, and how hard some of those choices were, and how sometimes I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about the alternative option. I wondered if I would know what choices to make when the time was right in the future.

In Dating Jesus, Campbell addresses some of the compromises she made to fit into the church. She writes:

"I am growing less comfortable with the compromises I've made in my head. I love Jesus, but if all believers are urged to stay on the straight and narrow, there seems to be an especially narrow road built for women. I do not know how to talk about this. I can't ask my mother. I sense she doesn't chafe nearly as much as I do under what are starting to look like clear restrictions. She has tried to teach me how to get what I want from men - by flattery and subterfuge, mostly- but I haven't the patience for diplomacy and it annoys me that I must go through men to get what I want in the first place. Saying all this out loud will label me in some way I can't yet define. And so I keep quiet."

This spoke to my experience in a way I'm not sure I can effectively describe. I have never liked rocking the boat. But it breaks my heart when I think about how women in most religious traditions are being clearly disenfranchised. When I look at the young girls I teach in Sunday school I can see how amazingly talented they are. God has gifted them with abilities I could only dream of, and I refuse to teach them that they should hold back because they are girls. My constant prayer is that these sweet girls will grow into Godly women who don't have to compromise who they are to fit into the church's mold. Furthermore, I am convinced that for this to happen we need more women like Susan Campbell who love Jesus enough to know He loves them back, just as they are.

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