When I think about “coming out” as an Egalitarian I think about Dr. Seuss’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
“It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.”
There were no bells. There were no whistles. I did not shout to the rooftops the praises of my righteously indignant people. Much to my chagrin a booming light did not descend from heaven in Morgan Freeman-esque fashion to affirm my newfound revelation. Just a sober “Yes.” A deep breath of apprehensive relief, nervous hope — knowing I could never go back to being complacent about full gender equality. I would never be the same.
A year ago my world completely turned upside down and none was the wiser. I saw everyone around me going about their lives as if nothing happened. If you have ever read a spectacular work of fiction that has changed the core of your being then you get where I am coming from.
Even though everything inside of me was newly liberated and screaming a love song, I felt at a loss toward the world around me. Even though embracing egalitarianism was not as great a leap for me growing up in the Assemblies of God as it was for some of my ex-complementarian friends, I had a moment of clarity, like seeing with brand new eyes.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, my egalitarian journey actually started a long time ago. For me it was on a summer morning in 2002. I was having a candid conversation with a friend at the Summer discipleship program at my church. Even at 13 I knew something was not quite right with how us teenage girls were indoctrinated to view “our place” as women.
How is it that during the fancy-free Summer that two bubbly girls can talk optimistically about our futures in ministry just short of approaching the elephant in the room? I never realized the thinking aloud musings of a 13 year old girl would come to a halt at the mention of the taboo title of “pastor”.
Like the scratching of a needle on vinyl, the raising of my friend’s eyebrow followed up by “Don’t you mean pastor’s wife?” was the moment the scales fell from my eyes and I was heartbroken, seeing for the first time that gender would even be an issue among Christians (of all people).
That was the first time I really gave a second thought to gender being of any importance in the church. Sure, there were small sign posts along the way that brought to my attention that this issue was not the side issue that many make it out to be, but it wasn’t until I was engaged to my husband, Angel that I really started seeking out the scriptures on this matter.
Growing up AG I never questioned a woman’s authority in the church because I was surrounded by women in leadership positions. I did, however, begin to realize that I had subconsciously went along with some complementarian ideas on gender roles inside the home that I now see were the launching pads of abusive situations that I had found myself in years earlier. Furthermore, the self-concept that I had through the lens of these complementarian ideas led me to believe very false things about myself as a woman. I used to think I was broken because I didn’t fit that dainty, docile mold.
I can’t imagine the brokenness my life would be in if I didn’t challenge these false beliefs on gender. Falling into egalitarianism was like drifting into a whirlwind romance that caught me completely by surprise. Probably because being centered as an egalitarian Christian is to fall into the arms of Jesus, agreeing with Him that you are who He says you are.
I only wish I was brave enough to make my case public when I was in the glow of my “aha” moment with Jesus. My personal theme for 2016 is to Live Free. My hope is that anyone reading this that feels the weight of bondage from the chains of complementarianism and gender stereotypes would break free and cling to who Jesus says you are.
Some great places to start are:
I found this this link especially helpful.