Posted in theology

This woman spoke volumes by not speaking

By Elizabeth Prata

When I was a young adult my social sphere overlapped with a group of women who liked to party. Individually they were fine. But when they got together they were loud, raucous, lewd, and coarse. Because they got so loud at times they were dubbed The Deci-Belles.

I’m extremely sensitive to noise. I don’t like loud noises. When women get together their voices go up several octaves. Loud, high-pitched laughter or raucous conversation is just plain old hurtful to my ears. When I was with these ladies, I’d often stand on the sidelines and just watch in amazement at the goings on.

Today’s secular society proclaims these kind of women “strong”, “assertive”, or “powerful.” Nor does Christian ministry escape from the cultural twisting of what God wants women to be. We are constantly being told that we have “influence”, “potential”, or that we need “activating” (Are we inert robots with an ‘on’ button?) Christine Caine’s organization, Propel Woman is such an example of this attitude. Her Propel Woman “is a woman who leads—and believes she was made to lead. She gives all that she has. Puts it all on the line. Leaves nothing behind.” Caine’s Propel Woman sounds more like an Amazonian Nomad than a quietly serving Christian wife…

Caine’s website declares that the Christian ‘Propel’ woman is-

BOLD + DARING
CLASSIC + MODERN
IMAGINATIVE + INTELLIGENT
PLAYFUL + PROFESSIONAL
PRESENT + VISIONARY
EFFORTLESS + EVERYDAY
COMPASSIONATE + STRONG
COURAGEOUS + TENDER
TRUSTWORTHY + TENACIOUS
INFORMED + HOPEFUL
PASSIONATE + COMMITTED
LEADER + LEARNER
LOCAL + GLOBAL
AUTHENTIC + ACCOUNTABLE

That’s a lot of things. Who can live up to THAT? I certainly can’t. I don’t focus solely on Caine’s Propel Woman, many ‘Christian Women’s Ministries’ these days have the same attitude about what a woman should be. Do you notice what’s missing from Caine’s list? Some key words. Titus 2:3-5 words, for example-

Reverent
Self-controlled
Pure
Kind
Submissive (to their own husbands)

and…

Working at home.

Hard to do when we’re propelling all over the place.

Women were not “made to lead”. This is in direct scriptural opposition to the reason God made woman. (Genesis 2:18-25). It was to help, not to lead. As Christians in general, man or woman, we are made to serve our Lord by glorifying Him, but women especially serve. We serve our husbands, if we have one. We serve our home. We serve in our church. We don’t lead.

Sadly, Christian women’s ministries these days are perpetually claiming that we do. Worse, they are acting like unless you possess a speaking gift, which they say is the best one of all, you’re nothing. Unequal. Marginalized. Invisible.

Paul spends most of 1 Corinthians 12 chastising the members at Corinth for envying the members who have more prominent gifts. Note the first four words of this verse from 1 Corinthians 12:28,

And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues.

God appoints his people to do various functions in the church, including speaking. GOD does. To disdain what God has appointed is to disdain God.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:4-5).

And there are the other two members of the Trinity. The God-head is fully involved in His church, and if He designated men to be the main speakers in the church so be it. Women are to be quiet/silent.

Contempt, hatred, envy, and strife, are very unnatural in Christians. It is like the members of the same body being without concern for one another, or quarrelling with each other. The proud, contentious spirit that prevailed, as to spiritual gifts, was thus condemned. ... The Spirit distributes to every one as he will. We must be content though we are lower and less than others. We must not despise others, if we have greater gifts. How blessed the Christian church, if all the members did their duty! Instead of coveting the highest stations, or the most splendid gifts, let us leave the appointment of his instruments to God, and those in whom he works by his providence. Remember, those will not be approved hereafter who seek the chief places, but those who are most faithful to the trust placed in them, and most diligent in their Master's work. Matthew Henry on 1 Corinthians 12:27-31.

I was a new Christian, saved maybe 5 or 6 years but losing the first 18 months by not being in church and in following Joel Osteen. There was a woman in my Sunday School class. It was a small class, not many members, and only a few women. This one woman was older, and long time married. She appeared each week to church. This in itself was pretty noticeable for a church with a small membership. Regular attendance these days seems like an optional event.

When she appeared, she was always dressed for church. She didn’t dress lavishly, nor casually. You could always tell she put effort into her outfit and that it was a church outfit.

She sat next to her husband, of course, and was perfectly attentive. She looked, listened, took a few notes, occasionally touched her husband’s elbow. She remained silent. She did not speak. Even when the Class teacher invited comment, she waited until her husband spoke, and only spoke if directly asked a question or encouraged to share an insight. It’s not that she was shy. Not at all.

This kind of church woman, or any kind of woman in or out of church, was new to me. As a person having grown up during the feminist 1960s and 70s, having been pressed by my own family to be a feminist, having been a teacher and used to speaking and teaching, her silence was resounding. She wasn’t invisible. Silence did not render her invisible. In fact, she was more visible than if she had brashly offered comment after comment. Her meekness didn’t mean weakness. No, far from being marginalized, her gentle and quiet demeanor broke through to my newly Christian mind and still resounds across my soul all these years later, now that I myself am older.

Ladies, Peter wrote our adornment is not in our tongue, in speaking great things and strutting around a stage. Our adornment is inner, by our spirit, and,

should be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:4).

God does not look with favor on loud, brash, footloose women

She is boisterous and rebellious, Her feet do not remain at home; (Proverbs 7:11)

The word boisterous is hamah in Hebrew and it means to be in a stir, be in a commotion; to be boisterous, be turbulent. This bespeaks an unquiet spirit, a woman characterized by constant unrest or disorder. To be this way, live this way, is exhausting to your family, your church, the people in your sphere whether online or real life. In other words, don’t be a Deci-belle. Speak God’s language. Be quiet, peaceful, gentle, attentive, humble, meek, with an attitude of service. This is precious in the sight of God. I want to be precious in the sight of God. Don’t you?

Author:

Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

3 thoughts on “This woman spoke volumes by not speaking

  1. “Be quiet, peaceful, gentle, attentive, humble, meek, with an attitude of service. This is precious in the sight of God. I want to be precious in the sight of God. Don’t you?” Yes!!

    Liked by 1 person

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