ex-good-christian-women

blog ex good christian womeni used to be a really good christian woman.  like one of the best.  i said the right things, did the right things, played nice.   the only problem was that what was on the outside & what was on the inside were two different things.

i believe evangelical christianity has created a lot of divided women.

women who are cut off from their desires.  who are pulling it together on the outside but crumbling on the inside.  who are constantly feeling like losers, always missing the good-christian-woman-wife-or-mother-mark.  who are afraid to dream. or take care of ourselves. or want something more because it can be perceived as selfish. who love God but aren’t sure God really loves us just-as-we-are because we’ve been bombarded with teaching about our depravity & eve-nature & how we need to be more like proverbs 31.

i know these are generalizations, but in my experience a lot of “good-christian-women”:

  • rarely engage in conflict
  • are terrible at saying “no” because it feels selfish
  • know how to say the right things, do the right things, to keep the peace
  • continually strive–and i do mean strive–to be a better wife, better mother, better christian
  • live with a feeling that God is disappointed with us somehow
  • feel a lot of shame for who we are and who we aren’t (but rarely say it out loud)
  • doubt our leadership, feelings, gifts, dreams
  • dwell on the things we should be doing differently or better 
  • view anger as sin
  • always seek permission 

any of these sound familiar?

subtly or directly, they are embedded into the fabric of many of our faith & life experiences.

six+ years ago, when i took a stand against unhealthy church politics, i put the nail in my good-christian-woman-coffin for good (i had been on my way for a while).  i am still shocked, really, at that turn of events but when i look back, it makes me smile.  i said what needed to be said (not that anyone cared but it sure helped me), i discovered passion for justice & leadership & equality that i didn’t know i had.  and i kept meeting more & more women who somehow found themselves on the outs of good-christian-woman-ness, too.

not everyone can relate.  some were never “good” in the first place and wonder what all the fuss is about (that kind of freedom is a gift).  others are just fine with way things are and don’t need anything different at the moment.

but there are an awful lot of us who know what i’m talking about here.

over time, we have been sold a bill of goods on what it means to be a christian woman.  we’ve been domesticated, tamed, caged, and limited.  we haven’t been properly valued or empowered or nurtured.  we have been taught codependence and given the company kool-aid to drink.

but it’s changing.  slowly, surely.

thankfully more and more women are joining the ranks of  what i call “ex-good-christian-women.”  it’s lonely at first but in the end, so freeing.  many of the women in my life are ex’s. some played the good game for a long time (or the younger ones figured it out more quickly, yeah!) and gained the courage to step out of the box. others did something the system didn’t like and found themselves on the outs.  all my “xgcw’s” (that’s my little acronym) give me hope & courage & help me never look back, except to come alongside others who are trying to find their way toward greater freedom, too.

here are some characteristics of those of us with the “ex” added.  “ex-good-christian-women”:

  • are learning to show up in relationship instead of hiding
  • engage in conflict instead of avoid it
  • say “no” with less-and-less guilt and say “yes” more freely, more honestly
  • tell the truth
  • respect anger
  • are honest about shame
  • live in the present 
  • are beginning to believe we are “enough”–here, now
  • open ourselves up to dreams & passions & living out what God is stirring up in us
  • lead & love & live in all kinds of new ways, with or without permission
  • are discovering that God is much bigger than we were ever taught & loves us more than we ever knew

Jesus wasn’t a “good christian” in the ways it has come to be defined.  he wasn’t well-behaved.  he didn’t play by the system’s rules. he didn’t pretend to be nice. he didn’t play it safe or try to conform.

he called us to God’s wild & brave & beautiful ways of Love, not to being “good.”

* * * * *

ps:  i know many men have been boxed, too, by false ideas of what it means to be a christian man.  i have some ideas of what they might be, but i obviously can’t speak into it.   i’d love if if some of you guys can share what your “good-christian-men” and “ex-good-christian-men” lists might have on them.  the circumstances may be different, but we share the collateral damage.

also, while i’m on this thought i found a couple of 5 year old posts that i wrote about ex-good-christian-women called do you identify? and disapproval.   they’re old & i’d probably write them differently today, but they kind of sum it up.  if you want to read even more, i’ve got a whole blog category called “ex good christian women”.

check out a few really good posts i recently read related to this:

now, i’m off to the UK for a fun graduation trip with my daughter for a week.  very excited & thankful for an awesome husband who works for the airlines & rocks as a teammate and will keep everything moving around here while we are gone.  happy first week of summer!

 

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

105 Comments

  • Love that you are writing on this! I will link up with you later. About to head to work, but had to jump in and say Preach It! real quick!

    Reply
    • hey my friend, just got back from our trip and catching up on this post. keep stirring the pot, my friend!

      Reply
  • I feel as if I am breaking out of this–slowly. It’s actually quite hard to put into words (which, as a writer, is very frustrating to me). It seems that each time I have moved, I have discovered more about who I am and am less willing to settle for being who I think I am supposed to be or who I think others think I am supposed to be, if that makes any sense.

    Reply
    • thanks, kelly. it is definitely something that i think we will all continue to break out of slowly, probably forever because of how deep some of these grooves are, not only for us as christian women but just women in general. discovering who we are apart from who we think we are supposed to be is big work! thanks for sharing, i am glad you are here.

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  • I only encountered this type of thinking when I arrived at university and joined the Christian Union there. When I discovered that they held single-sex Bible studies, I wasn’t put off – I believe that women-only space can be empowering, and it wasn’t as though the group was segregated (we had plenty of mixed activities). It was the content of the Bible study that alarmed me. In the first term we looked at 1 Peter, and when we came to the passage about submitting to your husband I was astounded to see fiercely intelligent capable women shrinking themselves to fit into that verse, which gives me this point to add to your list:

    Ex-good-Christian woman let themselves grow tall instead of cutting themselves down.

    Reply
    • what a powerful line “i was astounded to see fiercely intelligent capable women shrinking themselves to fit into that verse…” wild, isn’t it. i love that addition!

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  • This is so great. Thank you Thank you Thank you! I will proudly claim my xgcw title. We should get t-shirts.

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  • This topic is not going away anytime soon, and I’m honoured to be counted amongst such women writing about it. Thanks Kathy! 🙂

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  • Your are a voice in the wilderness of road blocks and stainglass ceilings. We stand and keep standing for each other our daughters and sons and the women that can’t go there yet

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    • so glad to be standing alongside you & so many other strong & amazing women. you give me courage. and yes, we must stay on this path. for our daughters. and our sons. and our dear sisters.

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  • Oh wow…thank you Kathy! Have a wonderful time on your trip.

    UNLADYLIKE xgcw and proud.

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    • so glad to have met you this year out here. your journey is very inspiring to many, and that latest piece, your letter to driscoll, rocked. i read it on my way home yesterday!

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  • Read this through a link on facebook from one of my friends and had to comment.

    Thank you! I have been arguing with my mother for years about this topic. It’s about time more women and girls learnt that they are valued members of the body – opinions and all! Submission does NOT equal subservience and it’s about time the church stopped preaching and expecting woman to act like it does.

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    • thanks, sue, for reading & taking time to comment. yes, we have confused submission with subservience and have built a culture of it only going one way. rarely does anyone start with ephesians 5:21 when they teach on this!

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  • Thank you for saying this.

    As an almost 40 year old struggling with defining herself as a Christian woman just because of these strictures you speak of, it is interesting and good to hear that you can be Christian and not be submissive, chained, quiet, shrinking…

    I have found church to be at times a straight jacket…at times freeing.

    I left a church Bible study because one of the older women there had a problem with me having a problem with the word “submissive”. I only brought up the fact that it took a heck of alot of toughness to live back then as a woman in that culture. None of the women of the Bible were shrinking violets that I’d seen so far. I just wondered where the whole idea of a quiet, submissive woman being what we are called to as Christian women came from if those are our examples.

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    • thanks so much faith for sharing. it’s scary, really, how any strength can be seen as rebellion or hard heartedness on our behalf. crazy. an entire system has been built on a few verses and it has caused a helluva of a lot of damage. i am glad that many are reclaiming our strength & dignity as daughters of God, but it is a long road to freedom. we need new models for christian women!

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    • The bible actually teaches submission-submission, not submission-dominance. Both male and female were given dominion over the earth. Both are co-heirs with Christ. Both are one-equal-in Christ Jesus our Lord. Both are called to be servants and humbly prefer others before themselves. Both have needs and can’t meet others needs if they’re running on empty themselves. Both are called to love one another and to honor and respect one another. The problem with church doctrine isn’t so much it’s teaching about female submission as it’s ignoring the sins of men who don’t love us the way Christ loved the church and rather than counting themselves the least of all and the servant of all, their leadership is self-seeking, only caring about themselves and their needs, and disrespectful to women.

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      • thanks andrea. yeah, we always like to start with ephesians 5:22, where someone randomly decided to split up the chapter headings and completely miss that it was one long letter and that ephesians 5:21 is right before it, too!

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  • Congratulations on breaking out of the narrow, un-loving and un-christlike restraints that religious institutions have placed on women for millennia. I hope you inspire women everywhere to do the same.

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    • thanks, matthew! yes, they are narrow, unloving and unchristlike restraints. great descriptors!

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  • Most powerful day of my life? When I realized I was waiting for permission. I actually said out loud to myself, “You are the only one that can give you permission.” Changed the trajectory for me.

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  • One of my very good friends attends a church that believes this stuff about “good Christian women”. She knows I think it is bullshit, but will not discuss it. I’m almost certain her husband has forbidden her to discuss it with anyone.

    This all goes to my opinion that so much of church is about $$$, power, control and authority. Churches that teach and practice this stuff attract a certain “clientele”. My friend the business man would call it “finding a niche market”. Until a few years ago I thought this stuff didn’t exist. I still find it difficult to believe that it does.

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    • yeah, all roads lead to power. they always do. it’s jacked up.

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  • Very powerful, well-written article. Thank you for taking a stand!! I totally agree with you and 100 percent understand where you are coming from!

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  • This post gives voice to what my heart has been saying for years (and lately my mouth has been speaking). The type of wrong teaching and cultural bias referenced within this article and prevalent within the majority of the church perpetuates bondage in so many ways and is not a reflection of Jesus’ ministry at all (ref.Luke 4:18). Thank you.

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    • thanks, ellen. i love it when our hearts & mouths work together. i think more and more women i know are beginning to say it out loud instead of keep it hidden in our heart. isaiah 61/luke 4 is one of my all-time most favorite passages of scripture. i think the kind of freedom Jesus brings is far beyond the human limits we have placed on it and most certainly the systems we have been part of have done the opposite of set people free, both women & men.

      Reply
  • Kathy
    Hmm…false idea of what it means to be a Christian man. Im going to have to blog about that. You hit a large nerve on that one! I stopped going to mens meetings because I tired of the christan man ideal that would be taught. I never felt valued as a man and went away feeling discouraged and condemned. Almost every mens group I attended taught that you MUST be the spiritual leader in the family (I believed in a shared responsibility), it always seemed to be our faultfinding in our marriages because we sucked at being a good enough husband. If I would actually share something honestly about a probem I was having, I would be treated like a child that needed disciplining. I learned quickly NOT to EVER share AGAIN. Too many insecure pompous men trying to show off their peacock feathers of macho spirituality with their inane advice! In my ministry to recovering addicts, I come alongside them in the ditch with them and relate to my fellow strugglers. I dont give them the ‘You must victorious, brother. You must be an overcomer. You have to be the head and not the tail ” garbage that Ive heard over and over. I share my weaknesses and love them through thier situation. I refuse to act above others. I easily could of been a addict if God hadnt interviened years ago. I know now that I was going against the flow of popular christian thought and paid a heavy price. Im out of the mainstream church and viewed as a rebel but I see more of God out here in the wide spaces of the “frontier” then in the “city” of the institutional church. Thank you once again my dear friend and mentor in our wild living in the faith. You have once again lifted a discouraged heart!

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    • Michael – Thanks for this…my husband and I were discussing the male version of this nonsense this morning over coffee. I am sharing your response with him. It is refreshing to hear someone else feels the same way.

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      • Ellen, I so enjoy working side by side with enpowered women! Ive always seen women as equals despite what other christian men think. Im out of town at this moment and had one of my new ministry partners at the rehab do the teaching –a woman who I sensed had a heart for people. I just heard from my wife that she did a excellent job! I am so blessed to have this woman on our team! I am one of those that put people over programs. I am grateful! I do plan to write a blog from a mans perspective because it pulled on a heart string. Thanks for your heart, Ellen.

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    • Please write it! i would love to read it. i’ve encouraged the same problems as a christian male. i don’t like most men’s ministry events and studies. i never feel like they cater to me. if you aren’t into events that resemble locker room huddles, then what is there?

      i want to do some writing on this too.

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    • What really struck me about what you wrote –
      “If I would actually share something honestly about a probem I was having, I would be treated like a child that needed disciplining. I learned quickly NOT to EVER share AGAIN.”
      I could have written that! It is so hard to effect change when you are afraid to open your mouth. But slowly. Maybe. Since there is so much other change going on right now. Perhaps. We’ll see. I can always move later. God first. Spirit lead me.

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      • yeah, i think so many, men & women both, have had that experience. where when we are honest, we get shut down and shamed, scripturized.

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    • go michael! share the link when you have it (i just got back into town so maybe you have already written it?) i know it is so jacked up for men, too. have you read my friend karl’s latest post–show some ovaries? http://karlwheeler.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/show-some-ovaries/. it talks about this, too. thanks for your voice & passion & active participation in change.

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  • Thanks, Kathy; this was awesome, true and believe me, this message needs to be spread. God is lavishly in love with us–and that’s before we do anything “good”. I’m an older woman and it took a long time for me to really believe this and undo all the false “good-girl” messages the Church kept drilling into me. So grateful for your gift of encouragement.

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    • thanks, kathy. yes, the good girl messages in church have got to go. i am hoping that many more young women learn earlier than some of us did!

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    • Pam, Ive hand written the blog and need a larger computer so it wont take so much time to transfer it. Im still on vacation in Missouri at my sisters home with my little kindle fire. Kathys article has instilled more passion in me. I wrote another blog on paper after the “ex-good-christian-GUY,” Im excited once again to write!

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  • Hi Kathy! Just letting you know I’m “lurking” here (even as you requested back in April) . . . the idea of having men talk about becoming “ex” good Christian men is a subject worth pursuing. I suspect that would be a journey very different from what we women experience or can even imagine.

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    • thanks for lurking 🙂 but thanks for taking time to comment, too. it’s always nice. i agree, the terminology and lists will be different but there are some pretty lame and damaging stereotypes about men that need to be broken. we need new voices into what it means to be a christian man, too. this macho power thing’s gotta go.

      Reply
  • Started moving away from the ‘good girl’ model in the 70’s, believe it or not. Took a while and I am still, at age 67, a work in progress. But I did find a denomination that welcomed women in leadership, I did go to seminary in my 40’s, I did serve on the pastoral staff of two churches for 17 years. And as much as I celebrate you and RHE and so many others who are speaking into this inequity, this unbliblcal stained glass ceiling – I also have to say that I, personally, am pretty much DONE talking about it. And I continue to wonder why this is still the huge issue that it is. It is terribly disheartening to read so much negative chatter out here and to realize that women as clearly gifted and called as you are have hit this wall – over and over again. Thank you for continuing to call out to the imago dei inside of each woman on the planet and for encouraging the call of God to those designed for leadership.

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    • thanks, diana, for paving the way. it’s so funny because even though i’ve been an ex for a while now, i keep remembering there are so many out there who have not been given permission to be yet, who still are stuck in beth moore bible studies and systems that keep them stuck. i keep thinking we will make it over the hump soon, but the truth is that so many mega-churches are built upon these structures that keep women stuck & so it’s a helluva lot of people being influenced (makes me think of this: http://www.kathyescobar.com/2012/01/13/its-a-helluva-lot-of-people-being-influenced/) the books being written, the sermons being preached, the programs being perpetuated keep this in motion. i hope we can all just keep calling the church to a different way and keep modeling greater and greater freedom.

      Reply
      • Just wanted you to know that your response to my comment prompted me to contribute to RHE’s synchroblog today – but I chose to tell a story rather than make an argument. Something (or Someone) is telling me that that is the way forward through the stuckness you describe. So thank you for that nudge. You keep right on telling your own story, kiddo – that’s where hope is born.

        Reply
  • Great truth well stated, Kathy. If we can’t be real about our emotions, opinions (do we have opinions?), and attitudes, then why would anyone think that Jesus is real in us? If we can’t own it in public–being real, why would they think he is real? My growth seems to always happen when I’m being who I am, and sometimes that looks ugly. Then I admit that I have a God who can do something with my ugly.

    And yes, leaders need to model this. I know. I is one. Play the good-Christian-woman and those who follow you will miss the reality of the One who loves humans–warts and all. Especially the warts.

    I have been blessed with a pastor husband who has always told me to “get a life” inside and outside the church. He’s allowed me to be real with my opinions and valued that I have my own voice and I’m not afraid to use it, usually graciously. We’ve co-pastored for 37 years and his view of team marriage and ministry has freed me to be who I am.

    OK, I know I’m on a rant. Thanks for a needed post for many women. It’s very much appreciated.

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    • thanks for sharing and modeling a different way, susan, so encouraging. we need more of these rants & more examples of freedom and equality!

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  • You know I love this? I am, and always will be a bad Christian woman, and proud of it. I can’t be an ex good one, since I never found myself in that place, thank God. We need strong women doing what God made us to do. Get it!

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    • it is a great gift, to never have been stuck in good-girl-ness. it’s a leg ahead for sure!

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    • thanks, charis. yeah, it’s wild how when know a few of them, we probably know all of them 🙂

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  • pretty good post but how come you capitalized jesus? gotta stay strong in the lower-case letter thing, sister.

    but really. i liked this post a lot. it reminded me of my mother, grandmother, great-grandmother (who was among the earliest woman preachers in our church conference), as well as assorted aunties and older lady cousins. women i admire greatly. but what’s really fascinating is how my mama and auntie both grew up born again, yet their manner in church is very different. part of the puzzle, i think, is that i was born at the other end of the country from where mama grew up, and moved all over the place, whereas my auntie and cousins stayed in the ‘hood.

    in their heart of hearts my mama and auntie agree on many things, especially on the role of women in church (ideally in the pulpit and anywhere else christ leads them), but my mother is much more outspoken about these sorts of things and they argue about things they don’t need to.

    i am also proud to say we are a family of good christian women who assert their rightful place in the kingdom of a deity without gender. good christian women do as god compels them, not the apostle paul or any other old white man.

    on another note:

    you wanna hear a funny joke? a female pastors’ conference where not only was the keynote speaker a man, but the scripture he preached about was proverbs 31.

    oh wait. that’s not a joke. that actually happened and it was less than five years ago. despite a sanctuary crammed with more than a hundred women of profound spiritual power and depth. why we didn’t jump him and tear him to pieces (spiritually/theologically, of course!) remains a mystery to this day. lucky bastard.

    Reply
    • yeah, just couldn’t bring myself to lower case Jesus and God’s 🙂 what a great story about your family, so encouraging. i wish your story about the conference wasn’t true, but it is true, really the dark comedy that so much of this can be. just freaking weird! “good christian women do as God compels them, not the apostle paul or any other old white man” – love.

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  • Very nice article. I have been a Christian since I was a little girl, have acquired some wisdom and would like to remind you that to apeace yourself, you need to read the Bible and pray to God for understanding and discernment. Here is some advice from the Bible:
    1 Corinthians 3 -Contemporary English Version (CEV)
    “3 My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. 2 So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, 3 because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.
    4 Some of you say that you follow me, and others claim to follow Apollos. Isn’t that how ordinary people behave? 5 Apollos and I are merely servants who helped you to have faith. It was the Lord who made it all happen. 6 I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow. 7 What matters isn’t those who planted or watered, but God who made the plants grow. 8 The one who plants is just as important as the one who waters. And each one will be paid for what they do. 9 Apollos and I work together for God, and you are God’s garden and God’s building.”
    Only One Foundation
    “10 God was kind and let me become an expert builder. I laid a foundation on which others have built. But we must each be careful how we build, 11 because Christ is the only foundation.”
    In Christ love, Lilian

    Reply
  • Thanks, Kathy, for being that voice of empowerment and encouragement. I love this post! I especially love your list of characteristics of the XGCW. Your last characteristic was an appropriate one to have as the last – “God is much bigger than we were ever taught.” That sums it up. How sad that so many of us “square pegs” had to make ourselves SMALL in order to fit into their “round holes.” Making ourselves small means we make God small. And it makes the church small while they miss out on how BIG God is. It strikes me as ironic that in their attempts to put me in a box, I escape and find out they are the ones in a box.

    It feels so good to breathe again!

    Thanks for including me on your list of good posts.

    Reply
  • the attempt to live up to a false ideal is the death trap of spirituality for both sexes. endlessly motivated by approval, i shape my beliefs and behaviors to the will of the on i want approval from- only that i could limit that need to God.

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  • What wonderfully honest and hopeful conversation! Who knew? The sentiment “well behaved women rarely make history” is actually biblical… Hannah’s first words were “no” to a priest, the woman with the hemorrhage broke the law in touching Jesus (a detail he never mentioned)… just to name a few!

    “Imperfection” is the reality of any organic system that is alive. To refuse to be imperfect is to choose to be mechanical and therefore inhumane… not so admirable… not so much abundance in that life.

    When Jesus told us to be perfect as God is perfect (Matt 5:48) the context was to LOVE perfectly, as in loving our enemy… which likely includes, first of all, our own imperfection!

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    • thanks, janet. yes, i love the story of the hemorrhaging woman & also luke 7 and the woman who busts into simon the pharisee’s house. two of my favorites. there are so many examples of breaking the norms being valued and honored in the kingdom of God. thanks for sharing!

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  • Thank you. Thank you for your wisdom. I swear, it’s like reading about myself except a few steps ahead of where I am now. (God, I sound like a teenager talking about her favorite soap opera character when I say that!) It makes me hopeful that this confusion and hurting will bring on something better.

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    • ha ha, i hope i’m not like a soap opera character 🙂 but yes, we are in good company on this one, walking a new path together, all in different places on it. so thankful to not be alone.

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  • Kathy, I’m working on being an “ex.” And your book Down We Go is rocking my world. You helped me name where I am – I’m at the wall. Thanks and love. Have a wonderful trip.

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    • thanks, cherie. glad that it’s stirring up some good stuff. the wall is a scary place but a beautiful place, too, if we keep going through it and trust that something good & free-er is on the other side. it is!

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  • Kathy,

    this is the best blog I’ve ever read from you. In fact this is the best commentary on the modern Christian woman who is trapped, confined, and limited by doubt, fear, intimidation, and “disapproval” I’ve ever read. It means more to me than you can know on behalf of someone special for reasons I can’t share with you at the moment.

    I saw a bumper sticker once that said “No woman ever made history by being apprporiate.”

    Did you come up with that bumper sticker? 😉

    I have a dream of encouraging my future wife into a life of freedom and passion, so much so that she realizes her potential of being the woman God created her to be: brilliant, seductive, bold, unique, strong, dynamic, and whole. This is in contrast to the slavery model that the mainstream evangelical church would oppress her in to being: ashamed, guilty, stressed, limited, intimidated, and devalued.

    Thank you for being a beacon to women who want to shed their “half lives” and “false selves.”

    Phil

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    • thanks, phil! for reading and taking time to share. “slavery model” is a good word–a system that perpetuates people feeling “ashamed, guilty, stressed, limited, intimidated, and devalued” is definitely not supposed to be synonymous with the church of Jesus Christ, the place that’s supposed to be the free-est on earth. hope to see you soon and catch up.

      Reply
  • just got back from my trip last night so catching up on this post. thanks so much, everyone, for your comments & for sharing. it really struck a chord and it really is affirming, how not alone we are!

    Reply
  • Years ago a book entitled “Why
    Christians Crack Up” hit the newsstand. Among takes on the theme was that Christians grew weary because they they didn’t feel that they could measure up to the expectations that were being taught. I have always maintained that GOD and Christianity were bigger than saying that living for GOD could be contained in a fruit jar. Some Christians were afraid of the book because it recognizes the individual in all of us. I applaud your efforts to recognize that Christianity is a freedom of the whole person rather than being contained in guidelines that limit our minds to explore life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. For all – women and men.

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    • thanks for sharing. it is so true, the expectations are just ridiculous. take a trip into a christian bookstore and it sort of says it all. very sad, what’s supposed to be a liberating faith has often become a binding one.

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    • thanks so much for sharing the link, daniel. i really liked that example of the person who begins to follow Jesus and then looks around to learn what it is like. what does he see? does he see Jesus’ example and challenge to us or does he see a lot of “stuff he’s supposed to go to and think and say and do to sound like he fits in.” it’s all jacked up! thanks for reading and taking time to share.

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  • YES! This is me… except I had a heap of pride too, pride and shame together, distrust of God – feeling that I had to do all the right things and earn it myself. Then I went and married a non-Christian which did indeed put me on the out… and whether it was right or not, doing that did at least break me out of the paradigm, which nothing else would have done I don’t think. So I’m healing.

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  • I think I’ve been on the slippery slope to becoming an xgcw for quite a while….but recently tried to speak up in a way the system didn’t like and now I’m decidedly ‘on the outs’. I know the freedom will be better but the place of transition seems so vulnerable at times. I sometimes long for the acceptance, maybe even prestige, my ‘gcw’ cloak of respectability gave me. I can see why the Israelites wanted to head back to Egypt when the road to freedom got tough! Thank you for writing, it feels a bit less lonely when I read your blog.

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  • I am one and didn’t know it. I guess that comes from being just a tad bit rebellious when it comes to what is expected of us, not just as a woman in general, but as a Christ follower. Thanks for letting me know there are more out there! 🙂

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