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In dire need of some theological conversation that would feed my soul, I decided to try this group out despite being the youngest by a margin of somewhere around thirty plus years. So here is where there is a great divergence between the wise women who taught me much and the modern movements of Titus 2 Women: courage to speak the truth, to identify injustice supported by our church traditions, to call out theological arrogance for what it is, namely, sin. While none of these women, sans the pastor, was formally educated in theology, each one had, over the course of her life, reflected deeply about God and life, about living and dying, about pain and faithfulness.
I suppose in some ways this group of women is simply reflective of the best tradition of Methodism, the notion that we can disagree about our beliefs and yet create a vibrant and healthy community of faith. My concern with the Titus 2 Woman movement is not the idea that older women have much to share. But when the Titus 2 Woman is one whose message is confined to a certain segment of the church, when she is valued because of her willingness to support sexism in the name of the church, when she is heard only if she echoes the patriarchal values of some segments of Christianity, then I mourn the loss of what could have been. Marketed as the biblical injunction of older women to teach younger women to be modest and sober, to be good mothers and wives, Titus 2 women strive to pass on from one generation to another the acceptable traits of a good biblical woman.

It happened several years ago when I attended a Wednesday morning Bible discussion group at my church. Over the first few weeks as I dashed out of my university office in order to make it to the church in time, I began to notice how the anticipation of being with this group of wonderfully wise women gave my day—and often my week—a much needed lift. And in so doing, each one had arrived at a unique understanding of God and the ways in which God interacts with the world. Yet, what I found so remarkably refreshing about this group was they really practiced this Methodist claim. Too, these women were willing to hear what others said, to take it in and fully wrestle with it, and decide whether or not she saw some fresh insight. In fact, I would venture to say most churches would benefit greatly to have older women speak from their pulpits regularly.
And you’ll know you’ve truly found them, when the wisdom they offer invites you to wonder about the mystery of what it means to be truly human and when they encourage you to realize there is nothing faithful about certitude.

We talked through things I’d never heard anyone mention in church and all theological ideas were on the table, too.
But there was never the sense that anyone had the corner on truth, not trained theologians, not the pastor, not the denomination.
Here was a community where life experience and critical thinking infiltrated all reflections upon biblical texts. Instead, it was a genuine sharing, trusting that the mystery of what we contemplated, in some small way, was beneficial.
And women who have lived long in the shadow of church and yet refuse to let it supplant their experience, well, they are the ones who have much to teach.

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17.03.2015 admin

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