Many of you long time readers know that I have had a goal over the past two years to one day write a book that would enable women to encourage the men in their lives, whether in the church or family, to lead lives that would honor God and serve the church. My purpose in doing so was because I had never come across such a resource.
Over the past two years while attending seminary, I personally sought the advice of various complementarian spokesmen (and women) concerning my endeavor.
My first semester in a systematic theology class, I raised my hand and asked the professor:
"What can women do to help reverse certain harmful trends in feminism in the church and marriage? What can we do in the church to encourage the men to lead?"
Perhaps I merely surprised this man who is so influential in speaking on complementarian matters, but his answer did not seem sufficient for me.
After a moment of silent thought, he responded, "It seems to me that the best answer is to do nothing."
"To the extent that it creates a power vacuum and them men are forced to fill that void."
On another occasion, I attended a special lecture by Dr. Randy Stinson from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood titled, The Feminzation of the Church: Detecting and Correcting It (click to listen). I was delighted with the title of this lecture, certain that my questions would be answered here. I became discouraged during the Q&A when men on my right and left, before and behind were called on to submit their questions. Was I being ignored? Perhaps, Dr. Stinson thought I objected to his diagnosis of the church's present situation. No! On the contrary. But time ticked by and my hand grew tired of seeking recognition. Finally, with five minutes left Dr. Stinson turned to address my question.
"Dr. Stinson, as a woman fully concerned about the lack of male leadership, desiring to remove certain harmful trends of feminism in the church, I affirm what you see as a danger in the church. I would like to ask what do you recommend that women do to encourage their brothers to step up and lead? What can women do to reverse those harmful trends?"
Later, others came to me and remarked that they'd found my question very helpful, but were discouraged that the lecturer had supplied no concrete advice for the listeners.
Over the semesters, I asked similar questions to other students, professors, and visiting lecturers only to have similar results each time.
My own discouragement had almost turned to despair. Was there no one who had gone before me that had asked these questions? Had no one given careful thought to these matters? When I discussed my concerns with my peers, they acknowledged that my concerns were valid and pleaded with me that should I come across answers that they would like to be the first to know.
Was the burden to lie solely on my shoulders?
My quest was specific:
Marriages and churches were occupied by men and women shaped and molded by feminism: women who demand leadership and men who grow increasingly apathetic toward the spiritual condition of their family and the church. Marriages are wrecked by selfishness and false expectations. Churches are dieing as men leave leadership positions. Women step up filling that void, and men merely warm the pews one day a week moving closer and closer toward the back door.
What can a woman do to influence the men in her life to be the men God would have them be? How can she influence them to be spiritual leaders in their community and home? How can she move them toward godliness?
My burden has lifted.
In Gary Thomas' book, Sacred Influence, I see the answers to my questions.
While this book was written specifically for wives, I believe that the truths found therein are applicable for all women who seek to influence men toward godly living in their home, church, community, work, etc. They are not motivated out of personal gain so that they may manipulate men to succumb to their vision of how men ought to be. No! This book is for women who are dedicated to their men living lives glorifying God out of reverence for Christ.
Be forwarned! This is not a book that lays out a step-by-step process on how to transform your imperfect men into Jesus Christ. Instead, you will find your own imperfect life being transformed if you, like Thomas urges, let the transformation begin with you.
Are we so self-righteous as women that we are so consumed with the faults of men that we have become blind to our own? God forbid!
In the six posts below, I have presented excerpts from the first six chapters of Sacred Influence. These help to build a foundation for developing a heart and environment for change, beginning in the heart of the woman. The chapters following are listed below:
7. A Claim, a Call, and a Commitment
Focusing on Personal Responsibilities
8. Understanding the Male Mind
Learning to Make Allowances for Your Husband's Masculinity
The Power of a Persistent Pursuit
Part 3: Confronting the Most Common Concerns
10. Ray and Jo: Taming the Temper, Part 1
Self-Respect as a First Defense against Your Husband's Anger
11. Taming the Temper, Part 2
Learning to Navigate through Your Husband's Anger
12. Rich and Pat: The Magic Question
Helping Your Husband to Become More Involved at Home
13. The Biology of a Busy Man
How to Help Your Man Put Family First
14. Pure Passion
Cementing Your Husband's Affections and Protecting His Spiritual Integrity
15. Ken and Diana: Affair on the Internet
Winning Back the Husband Who Strays
16. John and Catherine: Finding Faith
Influencing a Nonbelieving or Spiritually Immature Husband
I will not post exerpts from these chapters because I strongly recommend that you purchase the book for yourself so that you may be convicted through the Scripture, sound doctrine, and personal insights of women who have gone before, founded in Sacred Influence's pages.
What will I do now that my quest has reached it's end? Lord willing, I may learn these spiritual principles now and put them into practice so that I may bless my future husband with a wife given over to living a life worthy of her calling as "helper". In time, I may rise to the challenge of Titus 2 and train other women to love their husbands and children.