Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Kathy Escobar – wrote a post recently about how much influence the church has in our culture.  that resonates for me –

when it comes to church, i firmly believe that the “best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.”  at the same time, i think it’s sometimes worth calling out its inconsistencies when it comes to the so-contrary-to-the-non-oppressive-ways-of-Jesus as a reminder and to gain resolve & clarity on why we feel so passionate about change.

yes, i recognize “the church” is a flawed system made up of imperfect human beings.

it also has an incredible ability to influence people…when it comes to issues of equality and inequality, this means a helluva lot of people are being influenced to believe in complementarian theology and practice.  so many sit in the pews and nod their head when they hear about biblical manhood & womanhood and how men just need to step up and be the head of their households and women just need to support them properly…

Working on “Resignation of Eve” has put me in the middle of this conversation in a way I haven’t been for a while – maybe since the 1970s and 1980s. It seems like my awareness is up and I am bumping into examples of gender bias “everywhere”. For me, it seems like things have gotten worse in the church in the past 10 years as it relates to gender equality.

I love this quote of Margaret Meade’s, “every time we liberate a woman, we liberate a man.”

Both men and women have been put into a box. Limitations and expectations have been put on both genders. It doesn’t seem to matter to the church or our culture whether that role fits the individual or not. People are being punished for being who God made them to be.

I would have thought the Church would be leading the way in inviting people to use their God-given gifts and talents as “God calls them to serve,” not as “man” calls them to serve.

And one last thing, people disparage feminists.  Let’s be clear about the definition of feminism is:

“Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women.[1][2] In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment.”

By that definition, I am proud to say I am a feminist.  I am not asking for “more than” only equal.

Ooops… 700 Club Reporter Is Wrong Gender for Church Service

Kathy Chiero has an extensive background in journalism, radio and television communications. She worked for almost 20 years for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in Virginia Beach, Virginia. While at The 700 Club Kathy served as a Senior Producer, News Anchor and Reporter, and occasional co-host of The 700 Club television show.

She left full-time television in 1996 to begin a career in real estate. She also started her own radio show called The Sitting Room. She will be interviewing me next month and in preparation began reading The Resignation of Eve. After reading the first half she sent me her story of resignation. Kathy will be a featured guest on The Cloud Event next Monday night

“Jim, Thank you for writing this book. Thank you for being willing to broach a subject that most churches won’t…at least with any clear definition.

I am half way through “The Resignation of Eve” and I think it’s wonderful. While silently cheering that someone (Jim Henderson) is finally pulling the ugly veil off of this spiritually-sanctioned-silliness of sex discrimination I am remembering my own experience:

I was born and raised in the church ( I was baby Jesus in the nativity at 9-months – no sex bias at this point) and grew up with a passionate love for Christ and a gift for communication. As I grew older I found that the gift was celebrated and rewarded professionally (Christian media) but stifled and marginalized inside the church. Except at women’s conferences where they showcased my big-fish-in-a-very-small-pond celebrity. Interestingly, no one every questioned by spiritual credentials when I was on television – I look back at Kathy Chiero age 25 an wonder what I had to say. Then I grew up, had something to say but was no longer on television and, as a woman, I discovered this strange world of neanderthal male church leadership for whom gender spoke louder than calling, spiritual giftings, or common sense.

I could give you many, many examples – but here’s one for the ages…

My husband Jim has severe health issues: two heart attacks, three strokes, limited mobility. So, since 1997 I have been the sole income in our home. I am a Realtor and from 1997-2005 became one of the top Realtors in Central Ohio. (Gift of communication) Even during this difficult housing market my business and generally thrived. Jim and I are generous givers per Biblical mandate and it is because of this we know God has blessed and favored our business. Around 2008 I wrote my Pastor an email telling him of the blessings in our business – all of which I attributed to following the mandate to tithe. He excitedly emailed me back and asked if Jim and I would share our story from the pulpit on an upcoming Sunday. I told him that I would be glad to but Jim 1) is not a public speaker and has no desire to do so and 2) his health issues limited his attendance at church. I didn’t know if he would feel up to coming that or any particular Sunday. Hmmm. Problem. That meant I had to be the one doing the talking. In front of the church. Which included men. Their solution: they asked me to write my story down so the Pastor could tell it and I would simply stand with him and nod in agreement. Apparently, they found no irony in the fact that I MADE all the money, and I physically paid the bills (gave the money,) I just couldn’t be the one to talk about it.

Jim, I could go on and on. Maybe I’m a bit sensitive to this (YOU THINK!?!?) because I love women. I have a heart to pull women into honesty and all that God called them to be. God did call me to communicate. He gave me a voice, a gift to teach, and a heart for people. I have won numerous awards for my real estate training and could make a living accepting invitations to teach real estate – because the world doesn’t care what my gender – they welcome my gift.

Stephen Mansfield, Author and Fox commentator said “The most talented Christians in America are at Starbucks on Sunday morning – because they are women and their gift is welcomed without bias.”

So – I did what a any woman frustrated with the church would do – I created my own platform, The Sitting Room. And God is blessing it tremendously because HE created me to do this and created me a woman.

Thanks for your book, and letting me vent. I look forward to venting on the air with you.

Kathy Chiero

This side of the Cross

I’ve been thinking about how to tell the “rest of the story”, especially what has been happening since I was interviewed for RoE. Before and during the time of the interview, we (my husband Tom and I) were reasonably certain we would be transitioning away from active ministry in Mexico. The reasons have little to do with my disenchantment regarding the status of women in ministry. In fact, I had greater freedom to minister as the Spirit led in Mexico than ever before.

I have come to believe that the ‘gender wars’ in the church merely reflect some very root issues about how little our perception of self and each other has changed for those who are in the church compared with those who are not. Sadly, inside of the fellowship of believers (which we call church) many have continued to base our sense of identity on and gain our value from externals such as gender, roles, power, appearances, and performance. We read the Bible through a filter fashioned outside of Christ, rather than reading God’s word backward, through the Cross. Continue reading

The Resignation of Eve Cloud Conference

Jim Henderson Presents The Cloud

A 60- minute talk show on your cell phone (not a lecture-centric conference call)

  • Fast moving interviews with thinkers and doers
  • Lots of music
  • Interact with Jim and his guests
  • Audience members discuss show with each other as it happens.

Celebrate the Release of The Resignation of Eve

Jim Henderson, author of The Resignation of Eve and David Kinnaman author of You Lost Me and President of The Barna Group, discuss the latest research regarding women in the church.

Jim will also interview several of the women featured in his book.

Plus you will discuss your thoughts and ideas on this topic with other audience members in real time.

Date: Monday/February 27th

Time: 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern

Cost: Free

Register Here