Women in Ministry, Challenging Orthodoxy, Part II

Angie (on the left) with three of the women she ministers to on Bangla Road

February 20, 2011

Neosho, MO

Given For The Saints of the World, February 20, 2011.

Dedicated to Angie Blattner, now ministering in Phuket, Thailand.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

Several weeks ago, I introduced our readers to our niece Angie Blattner, who is ministering under the guidance and leadership of The World Race. She and her team mates are sharing the Good News of the gospel in eleven countries, one a month for eleven months.  These young people work with local missionaries, “preaching, teaching, serving and loving on people from all different cultures and walks of life.”

Angie is in Phuket, Thailand this month, working in the red light district on or near Bangla Road.  She gained valuable experience last month in the Philippines, ministering to desperate, pitiful women whose only source of livelihood is selling their bodies to the tourists and locals.   It seems barbaric to us that the sex trade is considered by any government to be a viable industry, yet 66% of the tourists who visit Bankok, come for the readily available sex.

There are 200 bars on Bangla Road with 6 women and/or “lady boys” in each one, making approximately 1200 people trapped in this degrading and soul crushing line of work.  Angie’s blog includes pictures of some very pretty, very intelligent women.  Her team splits up, and takes turns, one half going out at night to minister to these women, while the other half remains at the mission station to pray. The next night, their roles are reversed. Their goal is to share Jesus’  love with these sex glutted, but love starved women, and show them that there are other ways to make a living open to them. The missionaries there teach them ways to earn a living without selling themselves to the highest bidder.

Angie’s blog is so real, so honest, so inspiring, so Jesus filled that it feels like we’re right there with her.  Reading her words, I am always gripped afresh by the love of God for His children, and His determination to bring us ALL into His loving embrace. There’s a place on her blog for you to sign up to get her posts if you are interested in following her journey (Link at end).

After reading her blog report aloud to Lenny about how exhausted she was from the massive effort they have put into this ministry, we took a nap. I awoke furious at the men who make their living off these women. The terrible revenge they take on them for needing them is they berate, abuse, denigrate and demean the women who believe this is all they deserve. Not surprisingly, my anger also extends to church men who have kept women repressed and forbidden them to minister simply because they are women. I said as much to Angie, and I want to include a bit of her reply, because it is the essence of this writing.  She wrote,

“I get so frustrated being a woman sometimes, but we truly are the minority and the “second class citizen” in this world, even today. I am blessed to have had strong, beautiful, bold women in my life like you and Momma and Marilyn and Gramma Max and Linda Randolph and Nurse Ellen from church to teach me that I can be a disciple of Christ. I can be exactly what God has set out for me to be…I just have to work twice as hard as a man and want it ten times more. Honestly though, I am never, ever going to see the day when I take missionary work or preaching or ministry for granted because the pure fact that I am a woman, means I have worked for it so hard that it’s so much more special to me than it is for any man in that line of work. End Quote.

Folks, it is 2011, yet this antiquated attitude is alive and well in churches today. Here’s a portion of my e-mail reply to Angie:

“Men are basically threatened by women at some level.  Sexually, the Christian man may fear that a beautiful woman will make him lust and fall into sin, and spiritually, they think they are superior because the heroes of faith in the Bible were 99% men.  That’s because of the culture back then, of course, but the attitude is carried on today to justify their discrimination of women in ministry.

For the most part, I just blow it off, but when I read your blog, I really was angry about this for you, for me, and for all of us women who are bringing the gospel to a terrified, love starved world.”

When I brought up the subject with Harry Fox, he said it wasn’t until he got into counseling that he realized the anger many men have for women is that they need them too much, which they resent and therefore, they discriminate against them to marginalize their value.  That’s a blockbuster concept, which many men who denigrate women would be loathe to admit. Instead, they put women down, refuse to allow them equal pay for the same job, and in church settings, will not let them minister except to little children. It also explains the Muslim Fundamentalist’s treatment of women today, which is brutal.

I grew up in a church which blamed Bathsheba for David’s sins, claiming that if she had not exposed her body to David, he wouldn’t have strayed. Using that as their reference, they then railed on about modest apparel, and the sin of “mixed bathing, by which they meant swimming with the opposite sex.  Forcing Muslim women to wear burkas comes out of the same play book.

The groups who take the Bible literally are the most prone to this kind of discrimination, yet they overlook Paul’s statement in Gal. 3, quoted above, that there is neither male nor female in Christ. We are ONE.

Admittedly, I was not discriminated against as a real estate agent.  It was one career where being a woman has advantages.   I enjoyed equality in my real estate career, and did as well as the men in my area.  Thus, it was a shock when we began the Internet ministry and I began to get unsolicited advice and admonitions suggesting that I didn’t know what I was talking about from men.

Often, it was male chauvinism rearing its ugly head, but when I asked the Lord what to do, He usually said, “Just keep walking.” In other words, it does no good to debate with a man who feels superior to me by virtue of being male.

Praise God for the men like Lenny, who have seen that we are all equal in God, and ministry abilities come from God, not from our gender. Our regular male readers are liberated, supportive, and reflect Jesus’ attitude. He loved women, enjoyed their company and their fellowship, and did not assume that He was better than they or better able to serve God simply because He was male.

Male chauvinism stems from cultural prejudices and ignorance. In Bible times, women were considered chattel, possessions of their fathers or husbands, possibly because they couldn’t make a living and depended upon men for their livelihood.

That certainly is NOT true today, yet the attitude is alive and well in church settings.  Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

Isn’t it time to lay our prejudices on the altar of God’s love?  I’m speaking to Christian women here as well, because if they were not complicit in this medieval attitude toward women in ministry, it would not have survived.  Women are the “gate keepers” in churches. They lead husband and kids into acceptable behavior, and support the idea that women should not be in ministry. Isn’t it time to accept Paul’s declaration that there is neither male nor female in the kingdom?

Father, gift us Your vision for the body of Christ that we may lay down our preconceived notions and follow Your lead.  You made us free in Christ; help us to stand fast in that freedom to serve others and share Your love with them without reproach and without feeling inferior.  For in You and through You and to You are all things and all people.  Amen.  Jan Antonsson.

Lenny and Jan Antonsson,

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850

All our writings from 1997-2010 are on The Glory Road

Here’s the link for Angie’s blog posts You can sign up there to receive her posts.

We always enjoy hearing from you:     Jantonsson@aol.com

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts