I've been part of a conversation on a colleague's blog about the church and the way that it seems to have been "feminized" in recent years. A while back, I wrote an article about the subject, which I've been thinking a bit about today. I've especially thought about a comment that Greg sent me: "You are suggesting (it seems to me) that because men tend to participate less in our events that there are less men in the church. Why must we perpetuate the idea that church is something so spacial. I am not part of the church because of any gathering I attend, or any creed I espouse or and rituals I have completed or regularly practice. I am a part of Jesus' church whether I do any of these things or not."
I've come to (mostly) agree with this position. It was over a year ago that I wrote the first post. I was writing to ask a question: why are so many women in "church" and not men? When I said "church," I meant the group of people that attend what the majority of Americans define as "church," aka the established church.
I still think that my reasoning is valid for that particular question, if you limit the parameters of the question to the established church. In my most recent experience, the numbers even out significantly if you expand the definition to include the missional church. The church plant I'm involved with is significantly more balanced in gender than any other church I've ever been to. To be sure, it's still very small, but we're almost 50:50 (men to women), although the largest group is actually children (so cool).
Basically, the missional church views women the same way it views men; they're people, called by God. In Jesus, there is "no male nor female." This is not to say that men and women are not different, each gender with their own unique abilities (for example, men are better at spacial relations while women are better at multitasking), it just means that each individual is just that: unique and distinct. Scripture never mentions that spiritual gifts are given only to one gender or the other, but to people.