About every 6-8 months I get both forgetful and antsy-for-change. The combination is that I forget how much I dread the process of getting my hair braided, and I mindlessly set up a time for a 100+ braids to be put in my hair. About a week before, In the Company of Women, I was seated in my friend’s basement, my hair at her mercy and we began to talk about women and the Bible. She shared childhood perceptions of how God views women and outlined the poor teaching she has sat under that reinforced that God is a misogynist. That was all I needed to get started, as I said to her, “this is my favourite topic.” She laughed and said, “I can tell” as my head bobbed up and down with enthusiasm. I shared my perspective that humans are the misogynists, but Jesus demonstrates that God is a feminist.
As my hair was finished and I was packing up to go, I looked around her space, with her three boys poking their heads in and out, and reminded her that it is up to her to change the narrative for her children — to help them understand that God loves women. It amazes me how many people I encounter who carry in their hearts this notion that God does not like women. This perspective negatively affects their view of God, the church, men, and themselves. It’s an idea that limits what they do, what they say, and if they will or will not lead wherever it is that God has placed them.
From where I sit: this is not ok, and never has been. It is my outrage and my desire to see change — to make things right— that fuelled my passion as I stood before those attending In the Company of Women and declared:
Silence is not an option.
What followed that day was a series of encounters with women and men who are equally tired of silence when their church does not affirm their ability to lead, when their loved ones dismiss their calling to pastor or when they are viewed as less capable by their congregations. Here are some stories of people, impacted by In the Company of Women.