So tonight I attended a church event and some of the things the pastor said have me feeling really off. This is a church that I have been visiting on and off for maybe 8 months now. Once a month they have a women's night. This night includes fellowship, worship, a topic of discussion, and sometimes small group discussions.
There have always been a few things that I don't wholeheartedly agree with. I always feel slightly uncomfortable at some point. I accept that. Church can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially for someone like me that considers herself an amateur in the faith. I have always pushed down the angst I feel when I am told how to worship. Come stand here, everybody raise your hands, sing. These are places I'm already addressing with the Lord in my own time. Things I'm easing into and others that I'm head first into. But don't tell me how to worship. Don't tell me that the Holy Spirit will only come upon me if I do what you say. I don't believe that for one single minute.
The reason for this post tonight is because they had a women's discussion tonight with a few of the leaders from the satellite campuses come up and talk. You guys, if I wasn't there with my friend I would have walked out.
It started innocently enough. The first girl to speak is a makeup artist. She was so encouraging and uplifting and then the pastor asked her "Do you think all women need to wear makeup? Or do you think there are some women who are so beautiful they don't need to wear makeup? Be truthful." The connotation of the question was loaded. I felt so bad for the girl. The pastor ended up saying women have let themselves go and they should wear makeup so they can be respected by others. She "saved" the conversation topic by saying that it would make women more approachable to speak about Christ to someone.
It continued to get better. At one point she interviewed another pastors wife where the women shared her testimony. It was an all glory to God testimony as her story came full circle and you just knew that she was speaking from her heart how she really believed God had moved in her life. Basically, she's been a stay at home mom to 4 children and is now in a place where she gets to counsel and teach children in a Christian school. The full circle is that she had been wanting so badly to go back to school and get her Masters for the longest time. She thought as a black women, it would be dignified and noble of her to go ahead and pursue higher education. The pastor chirped in that she was doing this for self and shared how she talked this woman out of pursuing a higher education a few years back. God will open doors if that's where He wants you to be was her bottom line.
So, I need makeup for others to take me seriously but not a degree?
Then pastor admittedly said that she called the other pastors wife last minute today and told her she needed to come in for the Q&A. Pastor went on to say how she should be doing this and putting this before her family. Because first is the work in ministry and then is family.
I disagree. This mom worked all day and had to come home and feed four children and a husband. Then she had to drive an hour away for something she didn't have time to prepare for. Pastor said she shouldn't be home snuggling under the blanket eating popcorn with her children. Her children need to learn that our goal in life is to minister to others. Yes, yes, I agree. Teach your children that. But not at the cost of nurturing them. There has to be a balance. I agree that we are all called to serve our church in some way but I don't think it's at all costs to our family. I don't think that we are just supposed to put down our duties in our homes for the sake of the church. If everyone did everything for the church we would all be burnt out. That is not the point.
Lastly I want to point out that pastor said all women are called to be leaders. We are all called to be leaders in our area of work, whether that is in ministry or being the lead panini maker. Well, I have to disagree again. We are not all meant to be leaders. We are meant to lead others to Christ. To point them, to show them Christ. But not necessarily by being in a place of leadership. If we are all leading, what's the point?! Who would be left to follow?! We can't all be leaders. Sometimes that's not our calling. Sometimes God does not put us in a place of leadership. I think that's humbling and more common than being a leader. Despite what pastor states.
Oh friends, this went on and on. I'm cringing just typing it out. But I had to get it out. I've never been so moved to speak out against a message I heard quite like tonight.
I believe that we are called to build each other up in Christ. Not try to dictate how all our peers should live their lives. Who is this pastor to be able to say that she knows what the Holy Spirit is saying to anyone? I just feel so defensive for these women of God who are all doing amazing things in His name in their lives every day. I felt like they were personally attacked and put on the spot. What if no one in the audience had discernment to see where the lines should be drawn? Maybe I don't have it all right either, like I said earlier, I'm an amateur in my faith and understanding. But I just don't get a good feeling from any of what was said tonight.
We don't need makeup to work for the Kingdom of God. Degree or no degree is not determinate of if we can minister to others. Yes, He will equip us with what we need. I believe that there are women out there who speak for the Kingdom and God made them beautiful. There's no doubt that being beautiful will open doors. But so does hard work. So does compassion. So do a million other gifts. Each one different that we've been given to help us advance the Kingdom of God. For example, some women are naturally leaders. Some are good communicators, others are great with finances, and then there are some who are great with networking. Each gift we have is something we can use towards the Kingdom. Beauty is a gift but not something that will make or break us.
We shouldn't have to drop everything when the pastor calls at the last minute and says we have to come in because she says that's our purpose in life. I believe there are so many women that are in great roles of leadership. That are able to minister to others in such a wonderful way. My question is did Mother Teresa wear make up when she ministering to all those people? Can someone with a degree still minister to others? What is the end goal? Can a stay at home mom still teach her children to grow up reaching out to others with the love of Christ even when their mom never leaves their side? Can someone who works at the bottom of the totem pole still bring glory to God?
The end goal is not fashion or style as this pastor has suggested. No, I have read no where in the bible where it says women are to lead with fashion and style. In fact, I KNOW that it says in the bible not to do such things.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. -1 Peter 3:3-5
I don't have all the answers. All I know is that we are to lead others in the way of Christ. To find their own purpose in the Kingdom of God. We should support and encourage each other. But not put each other down. I have lost what respect I tried to have for this pastor. I'm sure as a person she is very nice but as someone who is supposed to be teaching and leading, she left a very sour taste in my mouth. It's no different living as a Christian. We are sometimes the only glimpse of Christ that people see. Are we going to worry about if our makeup is done or are we going to worry about loving one another in our messes? I don't know about everyone else but I'm not going to paint a picture of something I'm not. That is not reality. This is my life. Messy, wearing jeans and sneakers, hair in a pony tail, house is in disarray, car needs to be cleaned, desk is unorganized. This is me. This is my life. And I'm going to let others see Christ in the messy because that's so often when we get through. Not when our clothes are perfect and our makeup is on. It's when we stop being fake and start getting real.
Do you guys agree or am I crazy?