My niece is eight; she is passionate, hates injustice, loves Jesus and is becoming quite the theologian. She is surrounded by people who encourage her to obey the Lord – there are strong women who are seeking truth and men who will fight for her right to follow Jesus as an equal heir and priestess.
I want to thank those men.
To the Brothers whose subtle subversion secures her a place at the table. Who assist in rewriting bylaws so that women can serve in leadership. The brothers who pass around sermons by Christine Cain and borrow John Stott books. Your subversion is seen; it is watched.
To the Dads who tell their daughters they can be anything, including pastors. Whose dinner conversation includes the Protoevangelium and Marc Jacobs. She sees when you wash the dishes and when you watch the game. Your respect for your wife is seen and internalized – that is why she sees injustice in relationships. Your mutual submission is seen; it is watched.
To the Single Guys at church, she sees how you conduct yourself with women. She observes your behavior when women speak to you and how you respond to rebuke, encouragement and correction. She listens as you defer to women in the church because their opinion is just as valuable as yours. Your intentionality is seen; it is watched.
To the Pastor who preaches about the men and women of the Bible in equal measure, she hears it. From the pulpit you proclaim equality and your leadership team models that truth. She finds hope in these little things that add up to equality. Your inclusion is seen; it is watched.
So thank you to each of you who quietly, boldly, and humbly speak the truth of equality in your relationships, homes, lives and churches. She is watching, learning and growing. You have the power to shape her future in the church, so keep up the work of biblical equality. She is worth it and the Church needs her.