36: Women on gender (Conversation)

Summary

Part 7 of the gender series. Nate and Tim host their moms as well as some friends and listeners for a round table discussion on the topic. If you only listen to one episode in the series, listen to this one. Hear our five guests - Molly, Julia, Emily, Ada and Julie Anne - as they share their perspectives on how gender ideologies play out in relationships, church and the broader culture. The conversation covers an array of view points and, in the end, answers the question, “What do Christian men and pastors really need to hear from women like you?”

Transcription

Nate: Welcome back to Almost Heretical. This is a pretty special episode because this week we had the privilege of hosting a conversation with five different women.

Tim: Yeah, and when we scheduled the conversation, obviously we just had to take everybody’s schedule into account, try to find a time that would work for everybody. But fittingly, we actually ended up recording this past Sunday on Women’s Equality Day, which this year is the 98th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, which eventually gave women the right to vote in the United States. So I think it’s fitting and a bit ironic that here we are having a conversation about Christianity and women’s role in church and marriage relationships nearly a hundred years after the beginning of sort of the women’s empowerment in the U.S.

Nate: Yeah, and another thing that’s cool is that our moms actually took part in this conversation, so hi, Mom.

Tim: Hi, Mom.

Nate: Alright, we are going to play that conversation for you now.

[transitional music]

Tim: Let’s just let everyone introduce themselves and jump into the conversation.

Julia: I’ll go first. My name’s Julia. I live in San Francisco. My husband and I got married about ten years ago in May, and moved to San Francisco seven years ago. That’s actually where I met Tim and were in a small group with he and Mo, pre-Monique being a Ritter, back when she was still his girlfriend. And then we were also in a church with Nate briefly at Francis Chan’s house. And I would say just to kind of, as an identifier, raised in the church, a very evangelical church. My mom is very, I think she would identify as charismatic, so lots of comfort with things of the Holy Spirit in our home. I don’t identify as evangelical anymore, but I never—I’m very much a believer. It’s one of those things where, it’s a very true thing about my life. As much as it’s hard for me to reckon with my identity, the fact that that’s the most true thing in my life, and so that is kind of my place. So I would say I’m not churched, but I am definitely a believer and looking for ways to follow Christ through that. So that’s kind of a little bit about me.

Ada: Well, I will jump in. I am Ada Ritter, Tim’s mom, and I kind of came to this conversation from listening to Tim and Nate on their podcast for the last, I don’t know, six months, nine months, however long it’s been going on. I came to, I guess it’s called evangelical church, and this is where I need some clarity is the difference between evangelical church versus protestant church. I never really used that term very much, evangelical, myself. But I’ve been in the church for 30+ years, and I’m not sure how else to describe it. I feel, I’ve felt myself to be coming more progressive in my thought process in the last few years, and even more so in listening to Tim and Nate, and I’m interested in hearing this conversation, but I question Tim as to the value I would bring to it. So I’m curious to see where this is all going to go tonight. Thank you.

Molly: Well, maybe I’ll jump in now as the other mom. I’m Molly Hanson, I’m Nate’s mom. And I’m right there with you, Ada. I question what in the world I would have to contribute here, but I have been in church, in fact in the same church, for 55 years. And even deeper than that, my great-grandmother was a charter member of that church. So the roots run really deep there, and I also would struggle with classifying myself anywhere. I’m not particularly fond of being classified as one thing or another, so I’m not going to. I’ve learned a lot listening. I haven’t agreed with everything, but I’m very eager to hear other people’s experiences that would lend validity to what I’m hearing. So.

Emily: Hi, I’m Emily. I live in San Francisco, but today I’m in Montreal at my dad’s house. And I met Tim through our discipleship group. Let’s see, I have identified as evangelical for about twenty years, but as of the most recent election I stopped identifying as evangelical, although I consider myself orthodox in my belief system. And I also used to work with Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, which really has an egalitarian theology within the organization, so I think I’ve been really influenced by how they do things there, so that really colors my view of this conversation.

Julie Anne: Hi, I’m Julie Anne. I don’t even know where to start. I’ve been married 33 years, I’ve been in the church… well, I was raised in the Catholic and Baptist church, back and forth kind of thing because of my parents. From fifteen on I was in a, I guess charismatic church. When I got married, I ditched Catholicism, and my husband and I were really strong Christians. We eventually ditched the charismatic stuff and went to a more fundamental. I was a homeschool mom for twenty-three years. I have seven children. If you’ve heard of Full Quiver, I kind of was into that. So I have a lot of history with the homeschool movement, or the Christian homeschool movement and with patriarchy, and my husband still believes that and I absolutely do not, and that has created a lot of hardship in our family. So I also, we came from a church that was spiritually abusive, and I call it a cult now. When I started talking about my church online, my spiritual abuse experience, my pastor sued me and four others for $500,000, and I just continued blogging. I deal a lot with women who have had a similar background as me, especially in the homeschool movement and in certain groups of protestantism, I guess, is that a word? So fundamentalists, I guess. So I’ve seen a lot of harm done, and ever since going to a, what is it? CBE. Ever since going to one of their conferences and reading, I’ve gone the other direction now, and I feel very comfortable now, even on Twitter, saying I don’t believe that women need to submit under a spiritual headship, that type of thing. I don’t believe that anymore. So I’m pretty vocal about that now. And I’m thankful for Nate and Tim, because what they’re doing is just, oh my goodness, it is so important. And I think a lot of it is because women haven’t seen this stuff. Anyway, thank you guys. I know I’ve said it before, but really, thank you again. So that’s me.

Julia: I’m going to confess that I did not do the pre-work. I went to an Indian wedding this weekend, so was a little bit out of my normal routine. So I don’t know if there’s maybe some thought starters or kind of a couple things you guys might be able to share with us that might help those of us in the back row.

Julie Ann: Well I think I, in the last six? How many have there been, is it six podcasts? For me what it’s done is, I’m looking at Paul through a different lens. You know, before I was looking at Paul as if he was trying, it seemed like he was trying to limit women in what they could and could not do. And it seemed like he was saying that women had a certain place in society and in the home, and really that’s what I’ve been hearing for so many years from the pulpit. So I think what’s been going on the last six weeks has been just extremely eye-opening, because now I’m seeing that Paul was not limiting women, he was actually opening the doors wide open for them. And he was treating women with respect and dignity just like Jesus did. So that to me, it’s life changing. And I think if people got a hold of that truth, we would see a different church.

Ada: Julie, I could not agree with you more. These last six episodes of the whole gender series that Tim and Nate have gone through have changed my perspective of Paul entirely. In fact, I’m in a study of Romans right now with some girlfriends, it’s an all-woman study, and even just some time in the last two months, I verbalized out loud, “I don’t like Paul. I’m struggling with this.” And yet hearing what Tim’s perspective and the scholarly effort that Tim and Nate have put into really looking at Paul’s words has changed my perspective entirely. Whereas I viewed Paul’s epistles with disdain, and there were parts I really couldn’t even read, and I would just have to gloss over; I can now look at this with a newfound respect. And I really appreciate that. Because I would just have to gloss over those, especially at the place I’m in in my life right now. Very hard to hear what many churches are saying Paul is saying towards women.

Molly: So I just wanted to add, maybe this is adding to my introduction. But I want to speak to what I’ve heard in this series on gender, but I feel like I need to back up a little bit and say that I feel like I’m in a different place, maybe, then you’ve been, Julie Anne. Some of our stories could be hand in hand, as far married almost 34 years, homeschooling mom for many years, still am. But my personal experience has been, both in the church and in my marriage, in fact—okay, I have to even say, the terms egalitarian and complementarianism? Am I saying it right? Anyway, the opposite? I didn’t even really, I didn’t know there were two ways of looking at it, because there was only way that I ever heard. And yet at the same time, my husband and I didn’t really live it that way. We lived it in a very much a teamwork, very much a go with your strengths. You know, “You’re strong here, so you lead here,” and, “You’re strong here, so you take that.” There was never any headbutting or, “This is how we’re going to do it.” It’s never been that way. And then my experience in the church as well, I’ve lead worship personally, myself, not just part of the band, but lead, lead the worship, for years and years and years. And so while I did not experience any form of being squelched or put down or lessened in any way, the explanation in scripture was almost like a parent saying to a child, “Just because I said so,” where there wasn’t really like a clarity as to why or an explanation as to why. It was just a, nobody ever said that, like, “Just because God said.” But that was sort of the understanding. It wasn’t super clear to me why it had to be that way. And so listening to this series, there’s been a lot of things I’ve gone, “Ah, man! That makes sense! That really makes sense!” So while my experience has not been one of being sidelined in any way because I’m a woman, I have really resonated with the explanations of what Paul meant. So I’ve really appreciated it. Long story there.

Ada: Ada here chiming in. Molly, I really appreciate you sharing that. I’m sitting here nodding, and you can’t see me, but I’m nodding as you’re speaking these words. My experience is a little bit different than yours, but I’m just coming to understand what that experience has been. I also have been married for over 30 years, going on 36 now. And there was nothing in my marriage that used scripture to put me in any particular place, but it has been and was a very dysfunctional marriage. And I was so active in the church and seeking counsel and seeking wisdom, and I’ve just come to understand, partly through what I’ve been hearing and my own self-reflection, that there was a very subtle message for me all along in the last thirty-some years that if I would just be a better wife and be a better Christian and submit more and let go of my own desires and will, that the marriage would be better. And I can’t say what part of the church doctrine influenced that, but it was definitely an indoctrination in believing that my value as a woman was not as great as a man, and therefore I didn’t, my needs were not to be at the same level. And so I’m not saying the church did this to me, I suppose part of it was my own belief system, and I’m learning more about how my beliefs maybe were erroneous. Sorry, I’m kind of processing out loud as I’m speaking these words. So just take it with a grain of salt, please.

Julia: Yeah, I just would want to chime in and say I feel ya. Made me feel a little emotional to hear you describe that. Because it’s funny, my parents had a terrible marriage, just bad, and I grew up in a house where on the outside it was great, but I was the adult at home, really. And so I didn’t have an example of a good Christian marriage that was, well certainly I did within our communities, but not in my immediate home. And so then I would hear all these things like to trust that man is the head of the household. And that was like, “Well that’s terrifying!” That’s a really scary premise for me, because this person that—and the caveat now, my family is healthier now, with my parents no longer being married, and I have a lot of respect for them, but that phase of their life I’m sure they are also still ashamed of. And they were trying to shoehorn into these power dynamics because they thought that would save them, that would save their marriage, and I just distrusted it in practice from the beginning. As we were talking I was just thinking, my grandma was Catholic, she passed a long time ago, my dad’s mom. We were super close. And I told her that, this was part of my rebellion in high school, is I was going to get confirmed Catholic. I thought she would be really excited about it, and I was rebelling by becoming more religious, which I think is really funny. And she said to me, “You know, I like it. I like the church. You don’t have to be Catholic. I am, but you don’t have to be Catholic.” And she was like, “Listen, I got a few bones to pick with Paul when I get to heaven. Like, I don’t know what that guy’s been talking about.” I mean, and she just lived her life in a way that, I think she saw the selective literalism in teaching, and she’s like, “Well I can play that game.” And so she really honed in on serving the poor and teaching prisoners to read and all these other things that women weren’t supposed to do. She’s like, “Eh, I’m going to do it anyway because it’s good.” And I think her example bolstered me for the very early years of my marriage where neither of us fit the traditional implicated roles. Whether or not they’re prescriptive roles, the things that people expected was that my husband would be more outgoing and be more of a leader and I would be more homemaker, helper, nurturer. And we are opposite. It’s a running joke with a lot of couple friends, my friends are like, “Man, Julia, I could be married to you, because you sound like my husband!” And vice versa. And for a long time we just felt like that was a curse for us. We would be really worried, “Oh, are we going to be okay?” We tried really hard for Tyler to lead our family spiritually and Tyler to lead this and that. And really at the end of the day, the strengths that he provides are so beautiful and so strong, but they’re not those things. And I was our student body president, and I’m a talker and I need attention or I die like Tinkerbell. That’s the kind of stuff that I do. Putting him in that place was very toxic, and when we finally were like, “You know what? I don’t want to live like this!” we kind of just stopped feeling the shame of it, and I feel like our marriage had a chance to survive then. And since then grow. But I think we would have really choked it out if we had kept trying to fit something we thought was biblical.

Emily: Yeah, for my perspective it’s funny, because I don’t really like Paul, so I sort of gloss over a lot of his teachings on this issue. I think for me, when I went on staff with Intervarsity, we did an in depth study of Genesis, and one thing that really has always struck me is there’s that verse, Genesis 2:18, “And the LORD said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helpmeet for him.’” And we talked about how the word ‘helpmeet’ in Hebrew is this Hebrew word ezer, which is the same word that is used to describe God as He is helping Israel. And so in my head that always actually put the woman as being superior to the man, because he needs help and she’s there to help him. But I feel like the way things have evolved and the way we interpret that now is that the woman is diminutive to the man, we’re like his secretary, his assistant, in a very pejorative way. But actually I kind of see it as no, we’re actually really, really capable and the man is needing our help, and therefore that’s why we’ve been put here. So I feel like I have a little bit of a complementarian theology, but it’s like the opposite of the normal complementarian theology. But at the same time, I think this way and I’m single, still not married, and sometimes I wonder how much of it is the fact that I have this frame of thinking that I’m not married. Because I think the church tends to attract men who are more traditional, sort of are more misogynistic, want to put women in their place and have women submit to them in the very secular view of submission. And it’s not really about the biblical submission of ‘service means dying for one another, we’re called to all to it for each other. It’s a very high calling and it’s not about power in the way that we think about it. But so anyway, I come from more of this other theology. I’m not even sure if it’s theology, but this other view that women are here to help, but we’re not somebody’s secretary, and we should be valued and respected for what we contribute and not ignored.

Molly: I think I can see that as well. Even the term, when you think of complementary, that’s like your strengths, my strengths. But I get that it’s out there, that there is this taking something to an extreme. It just hasn’t been my experience, but I think the thing that I’m hearing is if that doctrine could be used in a way, taken to an extreme, to hurt people, then is that doctrine something that would have come from Christ? If a doctrine could be taken and twisted in such a way that somebody could be put down and held back and abused, not just held back but literally abused, because of that doctrine, then that’s what I’m trying to figure out. Then is that doctrine something from Christ? Because that isn’t who Christ is. So while I have not personally seen in my own husband, not the men around me, I mean I just, I don’t know, maybe I’m in a perfect church, I don’t know. But I just don’t see that happening to people around me. But if it is happening, then I think, I think we’re right. We have to say then, “Is something wrong with that doctrine? Is something wrong with that way of thinking?”

Julie Anne: This is an interesting subject to talk about because complementarians will tell you that if the husband is doing the right thing, he’s going to be loving his wife as Christ loves the church. And so if a husband is doing that, obviously he’s not going to be taking advantage of his wife, he’s not going to be using this position over his wife to rule or to abuse in any way. However, within the groups that happen to teach this, there are men who for some reason are prone to needing control and they will use that doctrine to feed that desire, and it can lead to abuse. So we know that there are certain husbands who are prone to need control. There are also pastors who feel that same need. And so consequently, if a wife goes to the pastor and says, “I’m having trouble in my marriage, my husband is being abusive,” that particular pastor may say, “Are you being submissive?” and just keep on using those same Bible verses. “Are you obeying your husband? Are you allowing him to be the head? Because if you’re not doing that, then of course your marriage is going to be out of sync and you’re going to have issues.” So some of the these pastors who teach this don’t even have a grasp of abuse within a marriage or how husbands can use that position of authority to abuse and harm. So when you’re in that kind of a church that teaches complementarianism and they’re prone to have that need to control, that’s where there’s a lot of problems. So I’m thinking, Molly, you probably were at a church where you have pastors that are healthy and are promoting husbands laying down their lives for their wives, and you probably don’t see that. So that’s great. So it’s probably the other kind of churches where perhaps there’s a pastor who’s authoritarian, has that need to control, he passes that along to the congregation, that kind of thing.

Molly: Right, right.

Julie Anne: I hope that makes sense.

Julia: I was just going to say, I had an experience in a church where it really wasn’t common to have complementarian perspective. But when there was a conflict that arose with one of the pastors, he texted my husband and told him he needed to get control of me. And so sometimes that deep perspective of power can actually, it can kind of not be necessary to visit very often, but then when you apply a little heat and pressure, it comes out as sort of like a weakness or just a fix-all, like, “This woman was out of line.” And I remember we both read that and were like, “What?!” This was the man who actually officiated our wedding and did our premarital counseling, and so we were like, “Wait, what? What is this ‘take control’?” But I think there was just this base like, “I don’t like what she’s saying, and so let’s just remember who’s really in charge here.” And so sometimes it’s just this autopilot thing that can kind of creep up to, even if you think that you have a pretty progressive mindset.

Julie Anne: I always like to question, “How do you propose me getting control over my wife?” You know, really? Because my pastor said the same thing to my husband, too. It’s like, “Really? How is he going to do that?” [laughing]

[transitional music]

Ada: Can I ask a very basic question, a definition of complementarianism? Because right now it sounds like we’re talking about it in regards to a marital relationship, but I think it has broader definition than that too, my understanding of it was that it’s the role of women in the world, in the church, that we are to complement men rather than be equal to them? Or can you help me understand how we’re defining that term?

Emily: I think about it in the context of marital relationship but also in church leadership. So the idea that in some churches women can’t be pastors or they can’t ever teach in front of a coed adult congregation, there are lots of different variations on that, but I kind of see it applying to church leadership, not just marriage.

Julie Anne: I think it’s, when you’re using complementarian versus egalitarian, those I believe are referencing a specific type of marriage. And the way I understand complementarianism, it’s about men and women have different roles according to them. And so a woman can do certain things, but she cannot do other things. And so there are distinct roles, and you really don’t cross boundaries on some of these issues. And egalitarian is saying everything is equal. The roles are equal, there’s no hierarchy. So in complementarianism, a husband would be, they would say a husband is the head of the home, where woman is to submit and she could never be the head of the home. She could never be equal in the home. She always has to be beneath him. So it is a specific way of looking at marriage, the context of marriage.

Ada: Can I ask Tim and Nate to chime in? Your definition of complementarian versus egalitarian? Is this a term, a broader term used in church hierarchy as well? Or just in a marital relationship? I guess because I’ve seen now in my indoctrination that I have lived out a very non-egalitarian approach in believing that women did not serve the same role in the church as men did. So can you chime in, one of you two guys, as to what that definition encompasses?

Tim: Uh, I can just share sort of how I’ve construed it and maybe this could be just helpful in creating some common language in the discussion. But similar to what Emily shared, I think there are not just two tiers but three, and I think there’s kind of a sliding scale of complementarian ideology. So the first one of what’s been addressed is marriage, and specifically in a sexual-romantic marriage relationship between men and women, what the roles are and what equality or is there hierarchy there? Two is in the church, so can women be elders, can women be pastors, can women be small group leaders, can women be church treasurers, can women be … in the church? And various churches will take various positions on where they draw the line, but the default through most of church history is that women are excluded from some positions of leadership. So for instance, women have never been ordained in the Catholic Church or the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it’s still rare in protestant churches for women to be ordained as pastors, ministers. But then there’s the third tier, which I think is kind of furthest out on that scale, which is just a broader cultural application of gender. And so that’s the realm where people ask the question, “Should Christian women even be police officers?” Because that would be women exercising authority over men in the public sphere; that is, according to ideas of gender roles, is not what a good Christian women should be doing. So it’s asking the question, “Should women work as elected officials? Should women be school presidents?” All those sorts of questions. So I think three tiers of individual relationships, church community, and broader worldwide application of gender, you can kind of see this ideology play out. So maybe it could just be helpful to tackle sort of one of those spheres at a time, or just sort of highlight which we’re talking about. Or even push back on that way of construing things and that definition, if you like.

Ada: Thank you, Tim, I appreciate that definition. I have thoughts about the church and have come to realize that I’ve held some beliefs that I didn’t realize I was even holding onto, probably very subtly. And Tim reminded me of a conversation we had several years ago where I actually claimed that a particular church wasn’t valid because there was a female pastor, and I don’t even remember that, but apparently I held that belief, and I’m not sure where that came from, but it must have been from my upbringing or my church time. But it just made me think, if we go back to Genesis, and yes, God created man and woman, and a woman is a helpmate, and I totally appreciate your perspective on that, Emily, yet all of Old Testament shows us that women were very much devalued and put as second class to men. So Paul, what has been perceived as Paul’s view up until hearing these last six episodes, has been the widely held belief of all of Israel and God’s people. So it would make sense that people would interpret Paul’s words along those lines. I’m just throwing that out as food for thought, I’m not saying I agree with that. Anybody want to comment on that?

Molly: I was just thinking when Tim was giving the explanation there, and then Ada, when you were talking as well, maybe up until this week, I would have been quite comfortable with the first two tiers that you described, but the third tier, that’s like… I mean I never even thought of that, hadn’t even heard of that until I started doing a little searching and digging around, that that was something that people would take outside the church. I would have thought that was just something that we as Christians would look at in our marriages and then maybe even in the, or not maybe, in the leadership of the church, but outside of that… I looked at it as a thing that God set up for Christian marriages and for His church, that it would run this certain way, that a marriage would run this certain way, kind of as a representation, but outside of the church? It’s like, wow, that really then is like saying, “You’re lesser than, not as smart as, not as capable.” That feels more like that, to me. Taking it to that level.

Julia: Yeah. I think it’s hard, because if you believe something at your core, so if you believe… it’s sort of an identity thing. I think when I… I guess I kind of throw the baby out with the bath water, I’ll confess. I have a really hard time with a lot of the Bible, so I basically don’t read anything that’s not red, or basically not the book of John, because I just sit there, and it’s so inconsistent, it reminds me of people who’ve been really manipulative. And a lot of the things that are said about women, it makes me feel like I was born wrong. You know? And I have a lot of privilege compared to so many other folks that face a lot more steep uphill climbs. But growing up, I always got in trouble for talking. That was the thing that got me in trouble the most, I spoke out, I said things. And there’s decorum you should learn, but I carry just this anxiety that I’m out of line and I’m being shrill, or I’m being all of these things that you hear women described as, and you think about Eve ushering in sin, original sin, her existence, her naivete, her hunger, is what made us sinful. At least that’s what I was taught, and you hear about Catholics kind of worshipping Mary and praising Mary, and that was a very negative to not be a Catholic. “She doesn’t deserve this position, and God is a Father, and there’s nothing…” everything felt very reductive. And so you carry that a little bit with you. I mean, I hear what you’re saying, is there’s this intimate thing that maybe was set up for the community of Christ, but if we’re meant to share that and we’re meant to take our lives outside of the church, it’s really hard to not let it seep into, “Should I talk, should I aspire to anything at work? Is it bad that I’m not at home and that I’m even wanting to work, that I have this desire?” And I was sort of taught that, “Those are things inside of you that are like Jezebel spirits.” And when you think of famous women of the Bible, they’re cautionary tales. And so I think those are the things that are really for me. I again just point to my grandma, where she was like, “I don’t know, seems like everyone’s kind of playing the selective literalism game, so I’m going to just stay close to God,” and I think I feel insecure in my faith a lot of the time, because I just reject a lot of those things that feel false. But then sometimes I’m like, “Oh, how much of this am I cherry-picking with my faith? How true is my faith if I can just wholesale discount some of these things?” But when I do go back to it, it’s really hard to believe there’s a lot of good to come from believing this stuff as a woman. And I have a situation where I have a very able husband who can provide for our family, and all these great things, but I want to work. But I always think about people whose husbands are disabled or unable to work or unable to play into that place, and do they spend the rest of their life with that kind of burden on their shoulders? I mean, I know that some people do, they just feel like, “Oh, we must have done something wrong to be where we are in this place.” And I’m speaking about people that I know from growing up and stuff. And so I think it does feel like the perspective of women at all, coming from the church and coming from a history of not really knowing how to read these things, I guess.

Ada: It’s interesting to consider the three tiers that Tim mentioned, in the home in the marriage relationship, in the church, and then in the broader world community. But I think it needs to, if we call ourselves followers of Christ and believers, and we feel that this and believe that this is God’s call on all the world and all the nations, we have to extrapolate our beliefs out to the world. And if it’s good in our home, then would it also be good in the world? And I’m just pondering these thoughts as we’re talking about them. I’m sure many of have experienced that glass ceiling if we’ve been out in the workforce at all, we’ve seen and felt the disparity between salaries and job opportunities. And for a long time, I embraced that I’m a woman in my role, I’ve been given this gift of ability to bear children and that’s very special, and that’s my real role in the world, and I should just be happy with that. And yet I know now in my later years that I have so much more to offer the world above and beyond that. Not that I devalued that. And I think it was false of me to believe that that was all my value was, or to try to put that out on other women, such as my belief that women didn’t belong in the armed forces because their place was at home bearing children. I still struggle with that because I personally would not want to go to war, but who’s to say that somebody else isn’t gifted in that regard. So I think it’s interesting to look at this from the perspective of all three of those tiers that were outlined in all of those realms.

Molly: Can I just say that I’m a little bit uncomfortable with saying, I’m so on board with equal, I’m so there, but I sometimes feel like we slide from equal to same. And I totally don’t think that men and women are the same. And so even, Ada, when you talk about women staying home with children, I think there’s a lot of weight on the side of women being generally more nurturing than men. I don’t want to come out and say, “All women are nurturing, all men are hunter-gatherers,” whatever, I’m not, I don’t feel that. But there are some things that are typically female, typically male. And some of the conversations that I hear sometimes feel like, “No, we have to be completely the same in everything. Men and women are completely the same.” And I can totally get behind completely equal, but I don’t think we’re completely the same.

Ada: I agree with you, Molly. I hear what you’re saying, and I apologize if the words I spoke didn’t say that.

Molly: Oh, no.

Ada: I’m just trying, I’m in this transition, kind of a shift, partly because Tim and Nate’s conversations have opened my mind to new ways of thinking. I still struggle, that was my example with the armed forces. If I had a daughter and she told me she was leaving her one year old baby and going off to war, I would be devastated from multiple perspectives, multiple ways. It wouldn’t be a choice that I would make. That’s the example that I can come up with. I still do believe in my heart, and I’m not sure it has anything to do with complementarianism versus egalitarianism in this conversation, but I do believe that women, most women, many women, have a special gifting of nurturing with children. And those first few years are the best time for a woman to be at home with her children. But that’s not always a possibility. So just know, I agree with you on that, I’m not arguing that. I’m just putting out all of these different thoughts that are going through my head right now.

Molly: No, that’s good. That’s good. I’m not pushing back necessarily just on what you said. Maybe just the conversations that I’m hearing everywhere, just pushing back on that a little bit, that does equal have to mean same? Can it be equal but different?

Ada: So if we take it back to the church realm, how would be equal be equal and not be the same? So challenging my past belief that women could not be pastors. I don’t know now why I thought that other than just the teaching and indoctrination of the church, but is that a realm where women, that God could call a woman to be a pastor in a church? Is that equal and the same, or is it different?

Emily: Oh, could we just put a pin in that for a second, before we move on to that, I just wanted to respond about women being different from men. Which I agree, there are probably general differences between men and women, but I kind of want to challenge. And obviously I don’t have kids and I’m not married, but I feel like there’s this default that we assume that women should stay at home with the kids, they’re more nurturing. At the same time, I see both a lot of kids who are now adults messed up because they didn’t have dads that were involved enough in their lives, boys who can’t “man up” because they didn’t have that paternal influence. I also have a friend who is a stay at home dad, and his kids are the best kids I’ve ever met in my life. And I don’t know, I just kind of want to push back on the sort of stereotype that women should stay at home with their kids and raise them and focus on having kids. I feel like I’ve seen good marriages where people, both the man and the woman work and they’re both equally involved in their kids’ lives. And maybe the woman has a little bit more responsibility for the childrearing, but it’s not… I don’t know, I just feel like there’s a lot of pressure in churches for women to stay at home and not work and be with their kids, and one woman who is working is sort of stigmatized. And I’m not even sure that there’s empirical evidence showing that women make better parents than men. I just wonder if men have been socialized to think, “Oh, I don’t need to do this.” You know, like, “That’s the woman’s realm, my realm is to conquer the world.” So anyway, I just kind of want to challenge that because I just don’t know how much that is real versus what has been imposed by centuries of tradition and patriarchal thinking.

Ada: That’s a very valid challenge, Emily, and I admit that my viewpoints come from a perspective of myself being one of those women who just loved being with my children but I wasn’t able to, and I had to work. And I have a lot of regrets about that, so that’s my own perspective that’s thrown into my viewpoint. I’m not even going to claim that that’s the right answer or the command for all women. It just comes from my perspective of feeling like I missed out on so much with my own children. And I didn’t have, I see in my own children what you describe, where husbands can be incredible fathers, I just didn’t see it in my particular life, my parenting situation. But I think it’s a very valid challenge, and I appreciate you speaking it.

Julia: I also think this is an interesting topic to kind of consider, because as you were talking, Molly, I was nodding. Like, “Yeah, men and women are not the same.” You know I don’t, I had a CFO at a company I worked at told me that in her early career she worked really hard to do things like the men to be taken seriously, to the point of having an androgynous haircut and dressing very masculine to be considered equal, and she was very disappointed in how that impacted her self-perspective and all these things. And she said, “I needed to be more of a woman to be happy.” And so I think there’s something true. There’s nothing, the feminine embodiment is a good thing, and it’s a gift, I would say. We can make people, it’s really fascinating and cool. It’s like a superpower. But I also have a hard time deciding what I would think is demonstrably different, and I’m very passionate about, I work and I love to work, and I think I’m a happier and nicer wife when I work. And we are talking about starting a family, and everything about that is about how are we going to do this? But my husband is, he’s as excited to take time off and have paternity, and when he looks at work situations, he looks at how they provide family leave. And I’m pretty passionate about the reality that if you don’t treat something as a woman’s problem, then it actually gets a lot of support elsewhere, so if you don’t treat maternity leave as woman’s time off but you treat it as parental leave and everyone takes it, then you’re not hiring someone who’s a flight risk because they’re a woman of childbearing age. You know, you have all these things, they’re just subtle. I think my biggest issue I think with gendered norms is the death by papercuts that happen and the punishment that happens just by virtue of being female, where it’s like, it’s not necessary for us to all agree that… I’m rambling. But kind of going back, I agree with the ethos of what you’re saying. We’re not the same, and that’s actually part of the beauty of men and women existing in this separate nature. You know, male and female are made to coexist, that’s super cool and beautiful. But I don’t really think I know where I would feel comfortable saying that we’re not the same at the same time, if that makes sense. Like I have a little bit of a cognitive dissonance in myself in that concept.

Molly: I’ll have to ponder that. A lot of these thoughts are pretty new to me. You know? They’re pretty new. And I think Ada, for you and I both, we are from a generation apart here, where some of our ideas may be tradition more than truth. So I’m really trying to pick apart some different things and separate the tradition from the truth. I really only want to hold to the truth.

Julie Anne: I keep thinking back to when I started my family, we started our family I should say, in let me see, 1986. At that time it was very traditional for moms to stay at home to raise the children, and even if you listened to Focus on the Family, different shows like that on the radio, that was kind of the expected way. The husbands would work and the wives would stay home. Interestingly, my husband was in the Navy, and we moved to the Philippines in 1988, and the economy is not the same there as it is here and all women work unless you’re upper class. But it dawned on me how that was the evangelical expectation in the U.S.: women stay home and the men work. But why, if this is a Christian concept, is that not applying the whole world? And that kind of got me thinking, “What is this about? Why are we having different rules for the U.S. versus third world countries? Is the Bible applicable to all nations at the same time, or do we pick and choose?” So that kind of opened up my eyes to thinking, “Hmm, maybe this isn’t exactly right,” and I think that was the beginning of looking at things a little bit differently. I was very thankful for that experience. But you know, I still got that same teaching when I moved back to the States, and really much so, especially in the homeschool movement. That was really strong. Of course the moms are taking care of their kids and teaching them as well. So yeah, it was pretty interesting to think about that concept. And then also, the idea where pastors were saying, “Women shouldn’t do this, they can do this,” the different things that they couldn’t do in the church. And it seemed like really the only thing women could do was work in the nursery taking care of the children or maybe the Bible studies for children, or Sunday schools for children, but beyond that—oh and the kitchen of course—but beyond that, where could we use our gifts? Oh, I think I could use it in music ministry. Most of my experience I couldn’t lead in music ministry. So we were just very limited, so that’s another thing. You just kind of have to shut up at church, basically. You fit into the slots that are designed for you, supposedly, and that’s what you get. And you know, we just kind of had to put up with that. And now I’m just thinking, what a waste. It’s so sad that women have been squelched to that degree that they can’t express themselves, they can’t express their gifts or utilize their gifts. I just think it’s been a waste, now knowing what I know. And I just hope that this conversation continues and more women and more men are digging deeper and trying to get to the truth.

Ada: Thank you, Julie Anne.

[transitional music]

Ada: I just wanted to throw out a question that Julie Anne kind of prompted in my mind. I’ve been thinking in my own history. Have I been held back from some area of ministry or some work that I wanted to do that I wasn’t allowed to—in the church, I’m just speaking in the church realm—because of my gender? And I know I’ve heard words like I was allowed to teach in a women’s Bible study because we had the covering of the male pastor, even though he wasn’t necessarily there; because we were in the church, we had his covering. But I’m curious: have any of the rest of you experienced areas in the church where you’ve actually been held back from what you felt you were called to do?

Emily: Um, for me, I worked in a parachurch context with Intervarsity. So because they’re not technically a church, they didn’t feel the complementarian theology applied to the way they did things, so I always felt really empowered in that ministry context. But at churches it was a bit different. Definitely I was at a church where I felt like they were a little bit trying to have their cake and eat it. So in our church, we had a lot more women than men, and so the work had to be done by somebody, and they had the office of deacon where they would officially install men to serve as deacons, but there weren’t that many men. So then they created this secondary office called deaconess, which is technically different. It’s not officially recognized by the denomination. But it’s the exact same roles and responsibilities, it’s just that women would be in that office instead. So women could serve in that role, but they weren’t receiving the same official recognition, which I actually found super frustrating because in my head it’s either you stick with the theology and only have deacons and that’s it, or you actually officially install women and men alike and you don’t create this sort of fake, secondary office. Because it felt so exploitative. But it was sort of just the reality of the work needs to be done and there’s more women than men willing to do it, and so churches need to figure out how to work around the complementarian theology. But it just seemed like a bad, like a hypocritical or just a really bad workaround.

Julia: My experience might not speak to the whole church we were a part of, but when we started going to church here in San Francisco, we thought that we moved to San Francisco because God really wanted us here. And a big part of that was just making sure that we opened our home up to people, which at the time was very small and humble. And we were really eager to do that, but again I’m much more outgoing and excited to start that kind of project than my husband actually more at the time. I would say at this point in time he’s pretty down to be a little more engaged and vocal, but at the time I was ready and eager, “Let’s get conversations rolling,” and about three or four different people, as I was really trying to get involved in this church, just kept asking me what my husband’s strengths were. I’m like, “But I’m here. I’m the one who came to the office today. He’s great, but can we talk about what I’m really excited about and trying to lean into?” And it was like, “Yeah, well maybe he could lead a group.” And it was one of those things where we were like, “We want to do this. We want to be part of this together.” And then we also were involved in another community where it just felt like a lot of the conversations, men and women would divvy up to talk, and that’s okay and I do love having conversations with just women, there’s a lot of value in that sort of sisterhood. But every time it really felt like, “This content has a different application based on who you are, so let’s split up and talk.” And we both kind of go home and be like, “It’s kind of weird that we don’t have the same experience with this group together. We constantly are divvied out.” And I think those are the only really marked times where it felt like, “Okay, you go over here because this is what your gender is, and you go over here because of yours.” But by and large, I feel like most of my experience has been very empowering and encouraging, aside from those two moments.

Ada: So am I hearing correctly that the view of the church in the complementarian role was very subtle for others, not just for me?

Julia: I was just going to say, yeah, it almost feels like it’s this failsafe. Like things can be going really well and as soon as there’s a question or a challenge to it, you’re like, I don’t know… It seems like it’s sort of a back-pocket thing more than overt specific thing.

Emily: Yeah, I guess it wasn’t, it did not feel subtle at the church I was a part of at all. I mean, given that all the elders were male, you could not be part of the session if you were female, and then you know, basically, when I asked, “Where or how do women have a voice in policy-making at the church?” And they’re like, “Oh, well all the elders are married, so by default they’re representing their wives’ points of view,” which I thought that was a stupid answer. And ultimately I’m like, “Well, no, that’s not really satisfactory, and also I’m not really sure that I trust their wives to represent the women at our church and their points of view.” And you know, it was very much baked into the church theology that, you know, clearly men would be in leadership. So I don’t know, it was definitely not subtle. The complementarian theology was out in front and center.

Julie Anne: I think it varies. I definitely think it varies. If you are talking about churches that have to do, that are connected with 9Marks, Acts 29, The Gospel Coalition, Calvinist churches, Reformed churches, those churches for sure are going to be very open about what women can and cannot do, and many of them will be very strict. Other churches, you’ll never hear the word. I didn’t even know what the word was until I started blogging and I had to go, “What is this?” I didn’t get it. We would hear, “Women, submit to your husbands,” but it was like, it was done in a loving way, it didn’t seem abusive or anything like that. Nobody was saying, “Husbands are heads of the home.” That type of conversation just didn’t happen. The topic was, “Are we making a difference in the world?” The conversation was not really about the roles of husband and wife unless you were going maybe on a marriage retreat or something like that. So I think you’re going to get a lot of different answers depending on who you talk to and what denomination and that kind of thing.

Julia: I think for me the hard part is just belonging anywhere that in the back of mind I just know that I’m being thought of as secondary. And that’s the feeling that I, that’s a memory that I have, that’s a feeling that I took away. So it’s less about, again being someone who has struggled to read the Bible, that’s one of my things that I’ve been soul searching on lately. Regardless of what teachers are saying about why I’m secondary, it’s going to raise eyebrows for me, it’s going to give me reason to pause, for me to say, “Why? Why is that important to classify and to structure and to divvy out that way if we’ve all died to ourselves anyway?”

Emily: Yeah, that’s a good point. I think the problem is we haven’t really died to ourselves, and that’s why… I mean, I just feel like every church I go to, the way that it’s hierarchical, the way that power is aggregated, it just demonstrates over and over that the church generally subscribes to a really secular view of hierarchy and power, and it’s not about serving and giving up your life for others. And so I think that’s why this whole feeling secondary, that feeling persists because it’s a reflection of where people’s hearts are. And to me, churches seem to be more about building the institution, it’s about the ego of the head pastor who’s trying to grow his congregation, it’s about the money they bring in. So much of it is more about that than empowering people and loving them and helping them live out their strengths. So I feel like the way that complementarian theology is expressed is just a symptom of a much deeper brokenness.

Ada: I uh, just looking back at the notes that Nate had sent out, one of the questions that I would be curious to hear everyone answer is, “What specifically do Christian men and male pastors really need to hear in regard to this conversation?”

Julie Anne: I think that they need to hear that our voice has as much value as men’s voices. And that we represent 50% of the population. And to not hear from us is just basically shutting us out.

Molly: I’m going to go back to the term that I use, tradition versus truth. And I, that’s always been what I want to get to the bottom of, and I feel like being raised in the church, it’s super hard for me to separate tradition from truth. And it’s frustrating, very frustrating to me, because sometimes I don’t know who to listen to. I don’t know where to find the truth, because you may read these verses and say this, and you may read these verses and you say this. And I just want to know the truth. And so where I am right now is somewhat, who’s giving the better explanation of these verses? And that’s what I’m sorting through. And I have a perspective that says the people who have taught me throughout the years have been loving and kind. They love Jesus, they want to serve Jesus. They may have been taught something that is not truth and then passed that on to me, and so I think it is so important that the pastors hear what the truth is, if it isn’t the tradition that we’ve always been taught. Does that make sense? My point is I don’t think it was, in my case, the people in my sphere, I think it was not a malicious attempt to hold women down.

Julia: Yeah, I think that’s generous. I think that’s a good perspective and a place to bring ourselves back to. We can have more generosity, I think, to men who maybe have participated in something with good intention. I also think their impression of women probably represents in the church culture a repression of men as well, where they feel like they can’t be softer, or that they can’t live into other more nurturing places that maybe they’d like to. They feel like they have to have this climb-a-mountain, slay-a-dragon manhood. But it actually, being a man, being masculine, being like Christ is actually permission to be gentle and to put others first. And I think there’s a dichotomy there where you see Jesus being so kind and holding the children and doing all these wonderful, beautiful things. And then it’s like, I grew up in Colorado and there was a pastor in Colorado Springs who was very well known for these sort of, “Beat your chest, get your manhood back,” kind of retreats. And I think that’s also very limiting, and it just doesn’t let someone be a whole version of themselves when they’re forced into a gender role, either. I think I would want to say to male pastors and male Christians who maybe feel defensive of this conversation is, “It’s not you, you’re not wrong—maybe you are. But you’re learning too. We’re all just figuring this out, and we’re not coming for you, you’re not bad.” It’s more just we all want to be a more whole version of ourselves, and maybe having empathy is something that doesn’t feel feminism offers right away, but I think it’s important. There’s empathy here that we know what it feels like to be pushed into a box.

Julie Anne: Yeah, I think it’s important to be gracious and realize that they too have been taught, probably, the same way we’ve been taught. And so they’re passing down something that they believe is right in their heart. I mean, they’re not meaning harm by it. But what I would like to ask pastors to do is to consider, please consider that there may be other interpretations. We’re not trying to be malicious when we’re saying, “I don’t believe in this submission stuff anymore. I don’t believe in this headship stuff anymore.” We’re not trying, I’m not trying—I need to speak for myself—I’m not trying to be malicious when I speak loudly and I say, “Women, go search, search the Bible and watch Jesus. Watch how He treats women. Find, dig deeper into Paul and what he’s saying, and see that he’s echoing Jesus.” So I’m just saying, “Pastors, you too, look deeper. Dig deeper and think, would a righteous and holy God want to squelch fifty percent of the population? When Jesus went to the woman at the well, He elevated her. Just to talk to her was just amazing. So considering how Jesus treated women, is there a possibility that what you’ve been taught is slightly off? Even slightly off? Can you just listen to some of these biblical scholars, because there truly are biblical scholars.” Philip Payne is one who spent decades studying this stuff. There’s Ron Pierce, a professor at Biola. Both of those men used to be complementarian. In fact, I believe it was Philip Payne wanted to prove something to the egalitarians and so it brought him to dig deeper and deeper and was like, “I can’t go there.” Actually, Ron Pierce was the same. I know both of them have the same kind of background. And so I’m saying, “If these men who have given their lives as biblical scholars or professors in theology and whatever religious capacity, if they uncovered this, could you might also uncover it too? What have you got to lose?” That’s my encouragement.

Emily: Actually, I feel like they could stand to lose a lot, and that’s why they wouldn’t want to, like in terms of power and control. I think, I guess I’m not going to be as generous to men. I’m also coming, I’m a person of color and I’m looking at this from lens as well. Just over all, white men, whether they are in the church or not, history has accorded them a lot of power and privilege, and some of them have wielded it well, and others have abused it and used it to oppress women. And whether it was cultural, explicit and intentional, or implicit and unintentional, there are real consequences, and women continue to suffer to this day. I think that men need to take responsibility and really take a look, whether they’re complementarian or egalitarian, to me actually it doesn’t totally matter. At the end of the day, I keep thinking of verses like Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” At the end of the day, is a man thinking of himself as a leader who dies for somebody else, who serves and gives up? And if that person has that frame, I actually don’t care what theology they subscribe to. But I just feel like, I don’t know, I just don’t want to let men off the hook and be like, “Hey, just look at this, maybe you’ll find something!” Like it’s like, “No! It’s timely and urgent. We’ve had centuries of women being oppressed and power is on your side, and there’s a timely call to share that power and to think about the consequences whether you intended them or not, of this power structure, what those consequences have had on women before us and currently and in the future.” So I don’t know, I definitely want to be empathetic, and I know the feminist movement has come off as very anti-male, but I’m also really concerned about how in a lot of churches, they sort of view feminism as like the devil. And again, I think that’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There’s a reason why feminism exists, there’s a reason why, because women’s rights have been pretty much nonexistent for centuries, and so now there’s this sort of backlash. And obviously any backlash can go too far, we have to wait for the pendulum to swing, but I don’t really want to speak softly about this. And maybe this why I have trouble dating in the church and I’m not married, et cetera, but I mean, there has to be a reckoning around this, both from majority male perspective and majority white perspective. There needs to be really deep thought about people who are in the minority position, people who lack the power and the resources and what God calls us to in terms of justice and mercy, and I think the church, the evangelical American church has not really reckoned with that properly.

Ada: You say, Emily, that they have a lot to lose, and yet if you look at it from the perspective, women do not just make up fifty percent of the church. Women, and I don’t know the numbers, but I know women outnumber men in the church. It is women who come to church. We drag our husbands and our children along, but it is women who come to the church, just like in the first century. It was the women who followed Jesus. He didn’t have to ask them to follow Him, they did because they recognized Him, and it was the women who started the church and ran with the church. So if pastors, modern day, white, black, color doesn’t matter, but if they empowered the women in their church, I can only imagine how it would grow. How even those pastors who are seeking power, if they could just see the power in their congregation in the women that are there. So it’s more than fifty percent. They are devaluing more than fifty percent of their congregants. Now, is that a right reason to see women of value? No. But that’s just speaking to, they have a lot to gain by doing it.

Nate: I hate to jump in, just because I want this to keep going on. This has been so wonderful and amazing. Two things. One, I think we should probably wrap up the conversation, but I also wanted to say, Julia, one of the experiences you were talking about was actually a church that I was a leader of, and it’s part of the reason I wanted to do this show. As stuff that I started thinking about changed, and Tim and I talk about this a lot, it’s almost like a chance for us to say publicly and apologize and say sorry for our role in some of these things, because we did teach and we did believe this way, and that influenced how we led the church. And so I’m actually remembering what you’re talking about, and even though things didn’t feel completely right at the time, I never spoke up, even though I was one of the key leaders in that church that you were speaking of. So I just want to say I’m sorry. And this conversation around, how can pastors, what’s the—I don’t even want to just say pastors, because there are a lot of women pastors out there—how can male leaders who don’t currently see it this way, what’s the message to them? I just wish I had ears to hear and had opened my heart to this years before I was leading the church. So yeah, I just wanted to say that.

Julia: Thank you. That was very kind and healing, so I appreciate you saying that a lot. And know that I don’t harbor any hard feelings or anything towards you from that. And totally have all the forgiveness would be necessary there. But I appreciate you saying something, that’s really meaningful. I think just as we wrap up the conversation, there’s one… this is just where I’m at in life in general, but I really love Saint Francis of Assisi. In my heart, I probably would be Catholic except for the many reasons not to be Catholic because I just love the letters from the saints. And one of the things that he said was the world can only catch us by the fringes of our garment. It’s sort of like, the thing that’s going to hold you up is usually not the thing that’s most important, and I think that’s one of the things I always try to orient myself to. And he said it in context of very interesting and specific, so it is dangerous to play this kind of high level prescription to it, but I guess I come to this conversation with that perspective. I do think equality is a core issue, but I also think, it’s also just really important for me to not let those fringes of the garment kind of destroy and tear away at the really beautiful fabric that this all is meant to be part of. And so I don’t know, I just really wanted to share that, because that’s one of the things I was thinking about.

Emily: For me, I just want to end on the note, this conversation made me want to go look at Proverbs 31, which a lot of times Christians hold us as the ideal woman. And it’s fascinating, because if you actually look at it, there’s so much in there that speaks of a really strong woman who’s wise. Verse 26, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” But just the fact that she has a voice and it matters, and she’s respected and praised by her husband, and it just talks all about her being enterprising and taking care of her family and working. And so it really falls very far, it’s very different from what we think of when we think of Focus on the Family and sort of that American evangelical ideal of a woman if you actually dissect Proverbs 31. To me, this is more the truth than what we’ve been indoctrinated by, through those fundamentalist Christian media channels.

Julia: I’ll have to go look again. That’s one of the one’s I’ve been like, “Hmm, it’s there.” And I don’t revisit. [laughing] I’ll have to take another look.

Emily: [laughing] Yeah, no, it’s pretty awesome. It’s like, “She seeks wool and flax and works with willing hands. She considers a field and buys it. With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night.” This is not… anyway, this is not a meek, submissive woman who just gives into all of her husband’s whims. It’s someone who has a mind and is incredibly capable and enterprising.

Molly: I’ve really appreciated hearing perspectives of everybody, whether we all come out and say, “Okay, yep, we’re absolutely like-minded in all of it,” you guys have given me so much to think about and ponder, and I will. I hope I can sleep tonight, but just thinking through all of the things that you’ve said and really even what my responsibility is as an older woman teaching younger women. So I have a lot to think about.

Julie Anne: I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to meet these ladies and connect and just share our thoughts. You know, we all come from a different place and have learned maybe different things, but I think we can all agree that the church can do better about how women are treated and the level of participation that women are given. So this conversation is so important, and once again, I’m just very grateful to Nate and Tim for offering this opportunity.

Tim: Okay, well thank you all for joining. I feel so, honestly, appreciative. I feel like this was really good for me. As Nate said, part of why we do this show is not out of some sort of weird guilt or trying to atone for the past, but we really feel like we have a responsibility and a passion to try to pave a better path than our early church leadership ministry days. And so just this little opportunity to be able to share our platform, however humble it may be, to listen to people that aren’t Nate and I, and especially to listen to some women share your experiences, your wisdom, your opinions, takes, I’m just grateful for it. And I think it’ll make me a better person. So thanks for being willing to push back on one another, share some tense moments and some different experiences and being brave in it. So Julia, Molly, Emily, Julie Anne, and Mom, last but not least, thank you guys for being here. I shouldn’t say thank you guys. This is me perpetuating the patriarchy. Thank you, women, for joining.

[collectively] Thank you.