by Dean Porzel
A woman’s place is…….?
Our perspective is certainly changing with respect to this age old question. In our faith life, it is true that we may continue to see the role of the female in the church distributed as represented in this chart:
While this graphic may indicate that the role of women in the “formal” church hierarchy diminishes as we go up the organization structure, what is most important is the recognition that women have a significant, but often underappreciated role in maybe the most important aspect of our life with Christ, that of Inspirational Influence.
Who of us cannot say that we were more strongly influenced in our initial relationship with the church by our mothers than anyone else? Who cannot say that we continue to seek guidance, motivation, and moral direction from the significant females in our lives?
For many of us, our “faith life” is nourished and reinforced by the music associated with a Christian existence. During the Christmas season I often try to attend at least one local concert for inspiration and to get me into the Christmas spirit.
This year we attended a concert by Christy Nockels at Moraine Valley Church. Christy is an example of the many contemporary Christian female artists that provide Inspirational Influence through their music. An added dimension at this concert was the inspirational message delivered by Ann Voskamp, an author and motivational speaker whose journey to Jesus has been both painful and recognizable.
Ann has authored a series of books that document how she came to find Christ and sustains her life and beliefs proactively through actions. A recent publication, “A Broken Way – A Daring Path into the Abundant Life” delivers an understanding that it is often through the “broken” events that we all experience during our lives that truly formulate our relationship with God, either questioning Gods plan for us, or in fact clarifying and solidifying that plan. As Ann puts it “Telling my brokenhearted story is simply telling how the Greatest Story Ever Told has completely changed mine”.
Ann also provides the following guidance that speaks to our personal and public reality:
“And there are seven things a country, relationship, or life cannot have:
- Power without principle
- Money without work
- Work without meaning
- Comfort without conscience
- Leadership without character
- Love without sacrifice
- Abundance without Christ”
These words reinforce that the blessings and privileges that we experience in life are earned through actions and not simply “owed” to us in any way.
I have found it to be true in my life that emotional clarity and honesty is more clearly expressed through the female voice, pen, and song. Stripped away from hidden agendas, ego, and protective filters, the message always seems to be closer to the truth and understandable.
During this month when we focus on the role of the female in the church, let us also realize and cherish the importance of the Inspirational Influence provided by the women God has allowed us to connect with in our lives.