I seldom cook "home-cooked" meals anymore. There, I've said it. Now you can classify me as a terrible wife and an ungodly Christian woman. I've even been attracted to men who aren't my husband, even though I've loved being married to my husband for almost forty-one years. And I don't iron much anymore either. Still, my husband and I have worked out ways to eat healthy, our clothes aren't overly wrinkled, and we cherish our vows and love life together. But we don't look like the perfect Christian couple, and if you are married and honest, you probably don't either. It's time to shatter the stereotypes.
The world is tired of Christians pretending. I am too. And by the responses to my blog on non-mentoring, so are a lot of other people. Listen, for example, to Mimi express her frustrations that younger generations are turning away from the Church because so many of us keep hiding and pretending:
I think there is a HUGE lack of transparency in the local church. Every church has their own atmosphere of course. We can't be real. I found my best Titus 2 ministry began when my eldest child flaked out on us. Instead of hiding it, I decided I would be transparent about our struggles and Satan reeled. Women flocked, not because I'm special at all, but because I chose to be real, as painful as it was. If we are all perfect mothers, perfect lovers, perfect church goers, we just create a big fallacy where we leave no room for the Holy Spirit to work and we operate by a system of standards that only appear biblical. I think the younger generation sees the holes in this and just calls it bunk and does their own thing. And I can't blame them.
Young women are starving as you well know and we are throwing a broken model at them. We are not addressing the whole person. We are not addressing them in ways that they engage. We are not addressing their big issues. We are not addressing that they WANT to be practically godly women and they don't know how. They want to matter in their world.
When I go to women's gatherings, I find they are either discussing the Bible only and intellectually or it can be as vain and shallow as discussing underwear with no lines or home decor. Not that this is never appropriate, but they don't move past this.
Women want more. i.e., I invited a group of moms mostly my age to my house for the morning a year ago to discuss the ins and outs of college entrance for older kids. I only invited a handful because my table seats 13. I had 19 show up with a waiting list of those I couldn't fit in my house. We went through the agenda, but these moms bottom line wanted to discuss other things. We talked about college entrance, but more on how to educate our kids on common drugs and how to teach our children to answer appropriately and kindly when propositioned (by either sex!!!). THIS IS OUR REALITY – the stuff that is never discussed in church circles, practical Christianity in a crazy world. And when I had that gathering at my house, a morning brunch, the last person left at 3pm. These moms wanted to train their children how to be godly in a REAL world that no one discusses. The church in general is not offering these resources.
I hear you, Mimi, and thanks. We need to get women into God's Word but it needs to be linked to life. Before we can reach younger women, we have to shed our masks and keep it real. I, like you, find women crave an authentic voice that says, with C.S Lewis, "Think of me, who having been admitted to the same hospital a little earlier, can give some advice." And I might add, could take some advice as well.
Mimi probably puts a lot more "home-cooked" meals on the table than I do, with her large family still at home. Mine are all grown. But I suspect Mimi and I could be great friends any way. Before Christians can make a real difference today we've got to kill the masks and love one another despite our imperfections. Ugh--I still sense the need to tell you that I never acted on those attractions I mentioned earlier, that they were few, and that it gets easier as you age. That mask keeps sticking, but I'm tugging.
So what are you hiding that's distancing you from others? Isn't it time to stop pretending? That's the first step toward a revolution of faith and we sure need it.