Arthur commented recently on the necessary attention that some Christians have started paying to masculinity but questions continue to remain about femininity. The more I speak to women, the more I hear a cry for satisfying teaching on this issue. Rather than just critique others, I thought I’d have a go myself at trying to work out what this whole feminine thing is about. I’ve given it the grand name of ‘A Feminine Manifesto’. It’s on its way.
So, why write a feminine manifesto?
- To start the conversation. I figure this is going to take time to sort out. So you have to start somewhere.
- To clarify my own thoughts. I worked on this material last year for my work with Evangelical Students, North Terrace. But I go round and round in circles on femininity. My fervent hope is that if I have to write something on it, I’ll have a chance at cohering my thoughts.
- I haven’t been satisfied yet in my reading. While I doubt I’ll be the one to ‘work out’ femininity, I haven’t yet read the person who has, so I feel like I might have something to say.
- I’ve been frustrated with definitions of femininity that are only relevant in marriage. I’d like to think more broadly about this issue.
- I fear that discussions about femininity have too quickly jumped to discussions about men and masculinity. For example, a discussion of submission can often end up in discussion of how men should love their wives. While that may be a helpful counter-active to the sin we see, it often deprives women of the proper attention that should be devoted to explaining their role.
Here are some reasons I’m hesitant to write it:
- This is a contentious issue. Writing on it (especially in a public space like a blog) is like throwing yourself to the sharks.
- In all likelihood, at some point in my life, I’ll change my mind about this. I would hate for either you or me to think that this was my final conclusion.
With those two things in mind, here’s what I hope will happen: that the gentleness and discernment of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of Scripture will shape what I write and how you respond, and that we’ll be patient with each other as we seek to get that bit closer to understanding what it means to be a Christian woman.
Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.