This world needs more shield maidens-
In this election cycle we have been hearing a lot about empowering women, particularly since we have a woman running for president. This need to empower women is one of many— “yeah, we need to fix that!”— issues that politicians use to divide us and whip people up into a righteous anger as motivation to hate the other side. And if you don’t agree with whatever social issue the loud voices in the media have decreed is currently out of hand and destroying the fabric of our society there you’re a backward, redneck hater— “so vote for me to prove that you’re not.”
Don’t get nervous, this is not a political message—I do however want to talk about empowering women, something Jesus and the Holy Spirit had done thousands of years ago and continues to do. It is we that are slow to recognize this, especially when it comes to politics. Personally I have no problem whatsoever with women serving in the highest offices—women have been successfully serving and functioning in the role of leaders for all of recorded history and into modern times, and we have indeed finally entrusted many women to serve as governors and senators but for some reason we in America have been slow to entrust a woman to be our president.
We ripped Sarah Palin to shreds 8 years ago, dumped Carly Fiorina a few months ago like a bad habit and are now convinced that Hillary was forced on us like the Castor oil our parents were forced to swallow as children.
We forget about Catherine the Great, Cleopatra of Egypt, Visina, Heid and Vebjorg, shield maidens –leaders of Viking armies, Debra, the Judge of Israel, Boadicea- warrior Queen of the ancient Britons, Joan of Arc who led French armies and died a Martyr for saying she was led by God, Amy Semple McPherson, the Founder of the Foursquare Church of which I am a part.
But this is not about politics, this is about the church. Societies traditional attitude about women has largely come from the church.
We can take a few scriptures, like we can on any issue, and use them to relegate women to little more than servants. But we need to look at the whole of Scripture, to look at what Jesus did and taught about women and look at what God has done in his church through and with women. Because I’ll tell you what, if we are not entrusting, equipping and empowering women to be leaders in the church, we are severely limiting the potential of the Kingdom’s work being done on this earth.
And, subjugating women in the church, using scripture to knock women down a peg or two below men, has allowed and enabled men to abuse women, using God to justify very ungodly behavior against women.
We don’t need to empower woman— God does that, we just need to get out of the way and let them go, to let them follow where Jesus leads with the gifts and the passions he has given them. Having raised daughters, I have no doubt that they are capable of great things, both in this world and for the Kingdom of God and I raised them to believe that. I did not raise any doormats, I raised warriors for the Kingdom—son in laws beware.
I see the gifts and talents the Lord has given them—all 4 of them different—and though they are flavored by the fact that they are women and have estrogen rather than testosterone, their gifts are no different than those a man would have. There are not separate lists of Spiritual gifts for men and women.
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 1 Cor 12:4
God activates them all in everyone.
Jesus empowered women. The Holy Spirit empowered women, his Spirit was poured out on all flesh— There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female (Gal 3)
Who was the very first person to see Jesus after his resurrection? It wasn’t a coincidence; she didn’t just show up before Jesus had a chance to get out of there and go to the men who were hiding away.
He waited for her in the garden near his tomb, made sure she knew exactly who he was and that he was alive and then told her to go; “Go and tell Peter and the others that I have risen.”— Who was the first person to go share the gospel, to share it with the apostles no less? It was Mary Magdalene— a woman— the first warrior for the Kingdom of God.
Jesus never subjugated her, Jesus never limited her, Jesus never disrespected her— nor any other woman. A subjugated woman is a disrespected woman, a powerless woman and the one subjugating her is not acting in love, he is acting in selfishness and pride and is one step away from crushing her spirit and just another step from hurting her physically as well. Why do men hit women? To keep them in their place.
That’s when the barbarian influence on the religious civilized mindset that men are superior to women comes into play and you need to break out the shield maiden that God put into your DNA. Don’t let the maiden part fool you, the shield maidens of the Norse sagas were anything but—they led armies of giant hairy men who gladly followed them into battle, and they won.
All I’m saying is; don’t cow-tow to overbearing and spiteful men and don’t limit your calling because you are a woman, heed the Spirit, follow Jesus. You are loved and you deserve love.
Women don’t get much press in the gospels, other than Luke, but Jesus had many women disciples.
8 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources. Luke 8
…and many others. Men, if you are holding your wives and daughters back from following the Lord then you are not being the Spiritual head the Lord has called you to be. Your job is to lead by example, to encourage and bless your charges, to protect and provide—never to hinder or humiliate them.
Bottom Line; This world needs more shield maidens leading God’s armies. Get up, get out —and conquer!
(Art by Raph Lomotan)