Women get a lot of blog posts.
Sometimes, I think there are too many blog posts devoted solely to women’s ministry topics. I have searched over the past several months to find blogs written by Christian women that are edifying and nourishing. What I came up with was, unfortunately, really disappointing. While I found thousands – literally, thousands – of Christian blogs for women, I founds that many of them spouted similar half-truths, and were more concerned with whether or not I wear leggings or the validity of shopping at Costco over Sam’s Club. Even Christian feminist blogs with the express purpose empowering women in the church often come with a faulty hermeneutic and careless theology, if either can be defined at all. The evidence of what was sorely lacking was painstakingly obvious. In the vast sea of the blogesphere there are too many Christian blogs devoted to “sideline” issues of faith, and very few that teach truth.
(Want to check out the blogs I discovered? Scroll to the bottom for my recommendations!)
At first, I was a little irritated. It felt as if maybe the Christian blogs that were devoted to good theology were leaving women out of the conversation. But the more I read, the more I realized: ladies, this one is on us. I cannot tell you the countless times I read on Christian women’s blogs the notion that theology was too hard, too dull, or too uninteresting (or worse, unimportant) and better left to others. Sisters, let me tell you: nothing could be further from the truth.
As a women who loves theology and loves women’s ministry, this search sent me into a kind of mental spinning as I analyzed some of the reasons why women need good theology. I am a firm believer that every person on God’s good green earth is edified and bolstered by good theology, and that we are left spiritually adrift when we do not give our attention to it. And I’ve come to three reasons that women, in particular, need good theology. There are more, but maybe we should start here:
1) Because it orders our love.
Descartes famously said, “I think therefore I am.” Descartes was wrong. What he meant by the statement is widely speculated, but at the foundation of his thinking was the notion that we are formed most by what we think. Taking this to the utmost degree, he concluded that since we are thinking things, we, therefore, exist. And while I agree that our thoughts are formative, I would argue that we are formed by what we love more than by what we think.
Consider the women in your life. Even as you mentally list each one, along with their name comes a description about their personhood: “Caity is my organic-eating, hiking-enthused friend, Angela is my perpetual-student, nerdy-book-loving friend, Lori is my compassionate, born-with-maternal-instincs friend …” And the list could go on. Why? Because we are formed, defined, ordered by what we love. That’s why when you think of Caity, you think about her love for the outdoors and Whole Foods.
And some of this is out of place. Because many of us women have been formed by misplaced, misdirected loves. Women need good theology because it orders what we love. Good theology will (re)form our minds with the wonders of God, it will enthuse us with the character of God, and will awe us by the mysterious, crazy-cool ways in which God is at work. And as we sit in the star-struckness of it all, we will slowly but surely turn our faces toward this God. We will love Him. We will love Him for His Word, His ways, His work. Good theology turns us towards God in love, and as we love Him, we are formed by Him.
2) Because it is for us.
Something strange happened when my husband and I left seminary. While we were in school, most of our mutual friends were male. And that never bothered anyone. Simply put, more men go to seminary than do women, and so the people around us were mostly men. I was always included in conversations in the classroom and outside of the classroom. When our friends came over for dinner and we would have riveting theological debates, the women there, though few, passionately participated. But when we left and joined a new church, theological conversations seemed to happen sparsely, and only my husband was invited. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on why I felt left out. But as time went on I realized it was because people kept inviting my husband into theological conversation, to theological conferences, and to theological studies, and they weren’t inviting me.
My guess is because they have not met many women who would want to be invited, and that is a fair assessment. But the truth is, ladies, theology is for us, too. Good theology – the rich and painstaking process of reveling in the wonders of God – is for us. God delights in His people’s delight of Him, and so we need to put down the self-help, bible-ish studies and participate in the divine calling to know God and His Word – His deep truths and character.
3) Because we can do better.
I love women’s Bible studies. I really do. I cannot think of anything I would rather be a part of than a group of women who are digging into God’s Word and letting it transform their hearts. But here’s the brutal truth: there have not been many studies that I have been a part of that are, in fact, a women’s Bible study. Though they come with the guise of a Biblical text or topic, what is found in the circle is often a far cry from a study of Scripture. I can think of few other places that theological heresy is permitted more pervasively in the church than in a women’s study. Often the pattern looks much like this: read the text, ask each women what she thought it meant or what it means to her, applaud each and every interpretation of the Word, no matter how untrue to incorrect, pass a plate of scones, and leave.
And, friends, we can do better! We can cultivate an environment in which we are reading the Word and seeking to understand what it means, not just what it means to us. We can study the Scriptures with a passion to know it in truth, even if it means we take the uncomfortable step of telling someone that their interpretation is misguided. We can do the hard thing of thinking well, teaching well, and speaking well about our great God. We can be the kind of women who love God and His Word enough to think on the hard things of the faith, and challenge each other to do the hard things of faith.
Find some good theology on these blogs by women:
Hannah Anderson, author of Made for More, writes over at Sometimes a Light
Ann Voskamp’s, A Holy Experience
A group of educated and strong women started Citizen’s Press, which is expressly a theology blog for women.
My college friend, Maggie, writes about marriage and theology on Sparks from the Soul.
Gospel Taboo is edited and authored by three very qualified women, and is guest authored by many others.
I can’t stress enough how much I agree with the overall premise of your blog here. For myself, I find that I write mostly about what I think needs correction. One of those things is the way that women are viewed in Christendom. The men seem to have only a few reactions: the “whatever” approach, the oppression approach, or the feminist missing the point approach. On the other hand, I know exactly what you mean when I read blogs or books for women. Often it is “nice” thoughts about what it means to be a woman of God, with little to no theological grit to form a firm foundation. That has to change… I just don’t know how lol.
Feel free to browse any of my stuff, or visit my wife’s blog:
When we do write about women and Christianity, we try to put it in the context of the rest of theology, therefore speaking a little more holistically.
Grace and peace!
Melanie Mansfield says
This is precisely why I began my own theology-based blog. I wanted my children to read thoughts on God and to understand that bible study is for more than when we find ourselves in need of encouragement. And I wanted them to read it from me — their mom. Too many times we leave the theological issues to our pastors, and as a result, way too many girls grow up thinking it’s a “guy thing”. Because of this, I found that putting my thoughts down was especially important for my daughter, but also important for my boys. They need to know that it’s okay to expect the girls they persue to also be passionate about these deeper things of God. 🙂
Now tell Austin hello and give him a big hug for me!
great post. I’ve been trying to spur women on to go and make disciples, but so many of them hardly know what the word of God even says, though they’ve grown up in church or have belonged to Christian circles. My eyes have really been opened to similar thoughts you shared, but in humility I am starting to figure out that if they are to hunger for theology, it starts with me faithfully pursuing the Truth of Jesus.
I loved your commentary on women’s Bible studies too – that’s how I feel when women choose to talk about a book over Scripture. I want to poke my eyeballs out. Not because books are inherently bad, but because we are sliding into laziness where we’d rather hear other people’s opinions, thoughts, and experiences from God’s Word, than discover it ourselves.
Thanks for your thoughts and blog recommendations.
Julie Coleman says
Amy, I am new to your blog, but not new to your cause. With all my heart I agree with you– women need theology. Of course they do. Why would we think it just for men?
As I speak for women’s events and retreats, I have found an unmistakable hunger in many women for a better understanding of God. One that’s based on Scriptural truth and not platitudes. Something that’s personally gleaned and not spoon fed. I’m actually writing a Bible study on how to study the Word, sharing skills I learned in seminary. My passion is to help women find truth for themselves. Nothing is more exciting!!
God’s Word is powerful, and to renew our minds in its pages is to be transformed. A superficial knowledge will not equip us for life in Christ. We need to go deep. So thankful to see you promote this idea on your blog. I’ve subscribed and I will be back. God bless you as you encourage your sisters in Christ to get into the Word!