Woman and what defines her

The Confessing Baptist recently did a podcast with Aimee Byrd, author of Housewife Theologian, blogger, and contributor to “The Mortification of Spin” podcast.  Now this Baptist must confess: I don’t always read the comments at the Confessing Baptist. This time I happened to skim the comments associated with the post and it was rather surprising to me. One of the commenters appeared offended at the term “lady”:

Next time you interview a woman I’d suggest skipping the part where you point out repeatedly (that is, on this page and in the podcast itself) that the person being interviewed is not a man and instead go straight to talking about theology and ideas.

It will make your podcast stronger and more edifying for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Blessings,

Tim

P.S. The better word for our sisters in the Church is women, not ladies.

 

The commenter, Tim Fall, has a blog in which he discussed his issue with the term “lady”, which may be read here.

What is a woman, and what is her role in life? What does it mean to be a Christian woman? Can men benefit from women, even if Scripture says women are not allowed to teach or have authority over men (1 Timothy 2:12)? Is the term “lady” demeaning?

And God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27, NASB)

What is a woman?

While a woman, I cannot speak for all women, and would be a poor representative. Many women’s Bible studies leave me annoyed. There is too much “sharing” and not enough digging in the Word to affirm that the sharing is biblical. I do cry at some movies, but despise saccharine-laced mediocrity. Fashion is not my thing, and while I admire my friends who are able to coordinate from head to toe, my efforts at choosing accessories on a daily basis leave me overwhelmed.  While I have a sweet tooth, I didn’t even like chocolate much until after having children!

But are those the defining marks of a woman? What does Scripture say?

How does a Christian woman act?

On one end of the spectrum we have those who insist that the woman’s sphere is only the home, that dresses are the only way to be feminine, and that unless you are promoting material on how to be a wife and mother you shouldn’t speak out and make waves. On the other are those who insist that women should be free to have whatever vocation they choose, wear whatever they choose and should raise their voice loudly and often. Either side holds up their model of an ideal woman. Lately I have grown weary of  opinionated “how-to’s”.

How does Scripture say to act?

Can Christian men learn from their sisters in Christ?

On this blog I make a point that I write primarily for women. Men can certainly learn many things from women, but I do not wish to purposely teach men. I have no way of knowing if men read here in order to be taught, but hopefully they have enough warning that this blog is written by a woman and will proceed accordingly.

Is the term “lady” demeaning?

Is it okay to call myself a Christian lady?  Does lady denote something that we should not strive to be? Can one not be a powerful lady?

If  you ever see me use the word “lady” on this blog, please know I am not meaning to be pejorative. I had not heard that anyone was offended by the word until this week. For me, “Woman” has such a serious tone to it, whereas “lady” is lighter. “Ladies” also connotes an element of fun that “female” and “woman” does not.

We do need to be clear and careful in our speech.  Words should be chosen carefully. We should be respectful when someone has a concern with our words and actions. Yet our words and actions need to conform to Scripture, not the opinions of men OR women.

 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galations 3:27-8, NASB)

 white flower

photo credit: “Flower” by Andreas Thell

C.C.-BY-2.0

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14 thoughts on “Woman and what defines her

  1. Thanks for these insights and for engaging with the points I raised. It was a joy to read your own thoughts on it all. As you could see from the comments on my blog post, there are a number of women who share my view, and some who don’t. I count all of them as wonderful women of God, I also know many of the commenters well enough to know that some of the ones who thought the way I did are comp and some who disagreed with me are egal. It’s a non-doctirinary conversation!

    Cheers and blessings,
    Tim

    • I appreciate your attempt to show respect for women. And questioning the words we use can be a useful exercise in examining our motives and perceptions (after all, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks), as long as we don’t project false motives on others. I had never considered the term lady to be offensive, so it was enlightening to see a different perspective.

  2. Just my opinion…I too write mostly for women, though men could get something out of it, I’m sure. I actually have always felt complemented by the term Lady because I felt it respectful. Then again, most of the time when I’ve heard the word woman used as a title it’s in a very disrespectful manner as if there is nothing about you worth anything and you need to get in your place. So, I would never find Lady offensive.
    But, I do think you make a bigger and better point of being in the scriptures. I’ve been struggling with this a lot cause I’m aggressive and opinionated but I’m commanded to have a gentle and quiet spirit…trying to sort out what that all means. My husband has been super helpful in all this. It means submission. It means am I willing to submit my aggressive and opinionated nature to Christ, my Husband and my Elders. Not that I have to shut everything down and sit in a corner.
    Thanks for this!! 🙂

  3. I clicked over and looked at the comments. Wow. That got a little out of hand. I’m wondering if it’s a Texas Cali issue. I’d never be offended by the term Ladies and never assume it meant all the other podcast were only for men. I’d figure the one for men would say – Gentlemen. All the others are for everyone. Strange.

  4. I don’t have time to go read Tim’s article at the moment (but I will later, I promise). I also don’t have the time or inclination to even contemplate whether “lady” is pejorative or respectful. Please. I think this society is bent on finding something to be offended about. Take a minute to consider – did the person who called me a lady mean it in a pejorative way? No? Then what else might I be in the business of meditating on besides my own sense of self? I have to say I have a bit of wonderment that people put their energy on such things. Love believes all things. And now to end with a quote from a cartoon my son and I used to find quite amusing, “OK, lady, I love you, bye bye!”

    • I admit that when I read the comments at Confessing Baptist all I initially thought of was Fezzik in the movie The Princess Bride: “Hello, lady!”
      Thanks for the reminder that “love believes all things”.

      • I might have also added, “love does not seek its own, is not provoked…” I love The Princess Bride :). I did go back and read Tim’s article, and I am always appreciative of a man who is conscious of treating women with respect. However, I still can’t get on the bandwagon here. How about Helen Reddy’s song, “I am Woman Hear Me Roar!” If you are looking for connotation, you will find it.

  5. Pingback: Woman and What Defines Her | Reformed Baptista | The Confessing Baptist

  6. Pingback: Apr. 2014 Week 3 Dunker Bunker “We Exist!?” Edition [Weekly Audio Headlines] | The Confessing Baptist

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