The Women You Never Hear About 

I’m sure you have all heard something about how toy companies are excluding Rey, the female lead character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in their product lines. One would think that things like this wouldn’t happen in 2016, but here we are.

This whole ordeal has left me thinking about all of the Biblical heroines who are similarly left out of Sunday sermons and Bible studies. 

I worked at an all girls Christian camp this past summer as a cabin leader. This meant that me (and my co-cabin leader) got to hang out with a new group of 9-12 year old girls each week for basically the whole summer. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with the girls, but there was one thing I couldn’t help but notice. The majority of these girls, most of whom had grown up in church, knew the stories of Moses, Noah, and David, but not of Abigail, Anna, and Hannah. Once I realized that these girls weren’t being taught about the strong women in the Bible, I decided that I would read them a Bible story with a lead female character each night.

These girls hadn’t heard about Abigail or Hannah not because they were young, but because the stories weren’t being taught in church.

It’s no surprise that churches who promote male headship are at a loss to find anything worth sharing in the Biblical stories of strong female leaders. 

Ask any complementarian about Judge Deborah and they’ll tell you that, “she was an exception, God only used her because a man wasn’t available … she wasn’t His first option.” They downplay her heroic deeds and bold attitude because it doesn’t fit with their uncompromising list of gender roles.

Ask about Abigail and they’ll say, “she wasn’t leading.” Ask about the Samaritan Woman and they’ll say, “she wasn’t preaching, she was evangelizing” (because there is a big difference, right?)  Ask about Queen Esther and they’ll change the subject.

When was the last time you heard a sermon preached on the book of Esther or the story of Abigail? Personally, in my 20 years, I have never heard a sermon preached on either.

Just like girls need characters like Rey to look up to, they need to know the stories of strong women leaders in the Bible.  Otherwise, they’ll begin to think the Bible was only written for men.





16 thoughts on “The Women You Never Hear About 

  1. I’ve only learned of hierarchical complementarianism in the recent past. I have been puzzled by the phenomenon you note: “Ask about Abigail and they’ll say, ‘she wasn’t leading.’ Ask about the Samaritan Woman and they’ll say, ‘she wasn’t preaching, she was evangelizing’ (because there is a big difference, right?). I have noticed in the teachings of complementarians that if a man performs a certain act he is leading, but if a woman performs the same, it is submitting. For example, if a man agrees to do what the woman suggests, he is leading. If she agrees to his suggestion, she is submitting. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m happy you haven’t heard than Mark Driscoll’s series on Esther, and I hope you never will be tarnished by that horrible sermon. I’m still trying to wash it from my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am grateful to belong to a denomination that ordained my great-grandmother in 1881. She was followed by both my grandmothers, mom and 4 aunts. I was ordained 24+ years ago, myself. I’ve done full series on Esther and Ruth and have preached on Deborah (1 sister named after her), Hannah and, just 2 weeks ago, my sermon included Anna with Simeon, Mary & Joseph. I’ve also shared how the 1st to see resurrected Jesus were women and he sent them to tell the others.
    Ah well, getting off my soapbox. Btw, all my previous generations of female pastors were married to also ordained male ministers. All men who appreciated God-called women. Women who complimented them by following God’s lead, preaching the Good News to all. All strong women.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I am now attending a church who really values women. The first time I heard a positive, main point sermon illustration about a woman was at this church and it brought me to tears. Too many years of silence or minimizing. It’s not ok but I do have hope for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sorry for always commenting ( 🙂 ), but this post was simple yet convicting. I haven’t taken it upon myself to make sure I know the stories of the Bible with female heroines. I know what books of the Bible I’ll be reading first this year. Thanks girl.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is so strange to me that Hasbro can leave out THE MAIN character of a movie from their product line. I noticed she is in some toy but not nearly as many as Poe or Finn. Rey is also one of the first non sexulized main characters in an action movie. I’m glad to see she was in a leading role but it’s only a small step towards a bigger change!

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  7. Absolutely agree. I lift up women and their leadership regularly. The church I pastor has a woman president of the church council, as well as a woman treasurer. I try to bring out passages or references in the Bible that do refer to women or lift them up in some way. (Like the sermon on Lydia I preached last summer– ) Thanks so much for writing such a superb post!

    Liked by 1 person

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