As I read Micky De Witt's guest post from Friday and continue to reflect on it I feel sadness and sorrow. I grieve that a woman like Micky should feel shame simply because she is a woman. I mourn that the world has sold her a lie concerning her identity and her worth.
And I feel angry. Outrage rises within me when I realize that it is not only the world that has sold her this lie, but the Church has peddled it as well. The people of God, the very people who should be affirming her worth and dignity, have far too often been the very ones limiting these, even denying them. How many women like Micky has the Church – have we – injured, wounded and excluded by policies and practices of exclusion? How is it that we have chosen to deny and denigrate the worth and value of our sisters, who are made fully in God's image? We men have clung to our position of privilege and power and in the process have hurt so many people, creating barriers and hindrances that keep them from discovering and embracing their true identities and potentialities in Jesus.
Micky, I apologize. I apologize that as a man I have benefited and participated in a system that has told you that you are worth less as a woman; that you should be ashamed of yourself, your beauty and your gifts and talents because you are not a man. I have reaped the benefits of being a man both in the world as a whole and particularly within the Church long enough, and it is time for change. I ask your forgiveness. And I ask that you as a woman and as a sister in Jesus, would allow me to walk alongside you in this journey of faith, learning from you and together with you, listening to you and conversing with you, affirming the dignity and worth that you have as a child of almighty God.
I am so glad you are overcoming shame. I rejoice that you are embracing your identity in Jesus. And I give thanks that I have the privilege of knowing you—and other beautiful women like you—who enrich my life and this world and who radiate the beauty of our creator God. This world would be a terribly dull, colorless, empty place without the richness that women like you bring to it.
I am encouraged by the growing awakening that I am becoming aware of, the awakening within God's people that affirms the value and dignity of each person and welcomes her or his contribution to the Kingdom of God, without regard to gender or education or ethnicity or any of the things that we currently allow to divide us. Don't give up the fight Micky. We're in this together and we're not alone.