Learning through Life

My photo
Hampshire, United Kingdom
I love how our day-to-day life can teach us lessons to help us understand our past, challenge our today, and inspire our future. We can learn through experiences, situations, conversations, songs, books, nature ... the list is endless! Live with eyes ready to see, ears ready to hear and a heart ready to be touched.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The one where I 'come out' (Part Two)

*This is the second in a series of posts explaining how and why I chose to 'come out' as an Egalitarian.  This post will probably make a lot more sense in light of the first post.*

Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of, right?

As a young girl I used to detest this verse because I felt it commanded me to fit in a box with all other girls: girls that fashioned pink dresses and matching hair ribbons, girls that skipped merrily along holding their Barbies, girls that played house wearing mummy's high heels - girls that were nothing like me!

Me in my football pjs
I seemed to be made of something entirely different.  I wore a red tracksuit, kicked a ball, climbed trees and often had mud in my fingernails.  But I was still a girl. 

Throughout my childhood I preferred the company of boys, not because I thought they were better, or wanted to be one, but because they generally enjoyed the same activities as I did.  They went to the park to play football, rode in the woods on their BMX bikes, and swung from the tallest of trees.  I say 'they' but really I mean 'we'.  At the time it wasn't 'them' and 'us', no gender divide, we were just a group of kids enjoying the innocence and freedom of childhood.

And then, things changed.  I moved up into the next class at Junior School and found I could no longer play football during the break.  Footballs were only allowed on the top playground, and only boys had the privilege to use it.  The bottom playground could be used by all.  Suddenly, I was forced not only away from my friends, but into place of extreme boredom and discomfort.  I didn't want to skip!  I wanted to play football!

So, I did what any ten year old would do - I marched down the corridor and knocked on the Head Master's office door.  Fueled with a sense of injustice, I proceeded to voice my anger.  Of course, in my ten year old world, it was all about me:  I thought the rule unfair.  I couldn't play with my friends. I wanted to play football.  I was good at football.  I wanted to be able to do what I wanted in my breaktime.  I was cross!!
Image Source

I don't remember the Head Master's exact answer, but I do recall him asking the opinion of a couple of the boys. Would they be happy with a girl playing on 'their' playground?  I think about it now and my blood boils, but at the time they answered 'yes' and I was happy.  I could continue to play football with my friends, and once again life was good.  I was their equal ... and it carried on that way.

Until I became a Christian.

At the age of fifteen my friend invited me to a Christian youth group. I had never before been interested in Christianity and knew next to nothing about it, but the group sounded fun so I decided to give it a go. However, I made it absolutely clear to all involved that I had no interest in the 'God stuff', and I really meant it.  God had other plans though.  Six months later I recognised and acknowledged the Truth, and committed my life to Jesus.  Forever.

This commitment changed everything: I belonged to a new family, had a new social schedule, and a new set of rules to follow.  I was a new creation; the old 'Jo' had gone.  This new life excited me, and I threw myself into learning as much as I could.  I learnt about forgiveness and grace.  I learnt about God's love and the cross.  And I learnt that God created men to lead and women to follow. 

I longed to please God, and at the time assumed this meant believing, accepting and living everything I was told.  Why wouldn't I?  I had never read the Bible before, but they had.  I put my trust in their knowledge and soaked in their wisdom.  I simply accepted.

I read the Bible, listened to sermons, spoke with Christians and observed their way of life.  I wanted to be a good Christian - I stopped swearing, smiled at shop assistants, and washed the dishes without complaining.  I also accepted my new role as a Christian woman.

It felt uncomfortable.  It felt unfair.  It felt wrong.  I had always believed in equality, and I couldn't quite make it fit.  But Christianity was about sacrifice and surrender and the laying aside of one's own thoughts and feelings - and the ten year old who fought for justice in the school playground must now be ignored. God had ordered things differently, and who was I to question it?  I told myself off, buried those thoughts deep inside, and prayed they would stay there.

And they did.

Because no one told me that it was ok to read the Scriptures, and question their meaning.
No one told me that God is big enough to cope when asked 'why?'
No one told me that Christians are not always in agreement with each other.
And no one told me that being a 'good' Christian didn't mean disengaging my brain, surrendering my character, and becoming a carbon copy of somebody else. 

So I kept quiet, accepted their teaching, and worked hard to fit into their mould.

Until I started to hear God speak ...

(Part three to follow)

You may also like:
Part One in this series
Part Three in this series
Part Four in this series
Part Five in this series


  1. Jo, A lot of what we've been thought is the tradition of men, extrapolated from Scripture. Each Christian needs to go back to Scripture and examine if what they've been taught is based on a accurate or mistaken reading of Scripture.
    Blessings on your quest,

  2. looking forward to part III!

  3. This is fascinating! Looking forward to part three...
    Thanks for your comment on my post. One of the things I've found really interesting over the last few years is becoming friends with women on the same journey as you - who have learned/are learning that it's ok to question. I've been so grateful that my previous vicar made such a point of telling women in his church why he was a male feminist!


What do you think? I would love to read your thoughts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...