Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why No Women?

Here’s a shocker. When Steve Laube posted the list of Christian Book Award winners on Tuesday, I saw the names of nine authors only two of which were women. And one of those women was the last of three names that co-authored a children’s book, the other two were men. That works out to be 22% for the women and 78% for the men.

The thing that makes this a shocker is that to hear a lot of people tell it, Christianity is dominated by women. Some people seem to think that it’s the women who go to church. It’s the women who work in Sunday school and youth ministry. It’s the women who sing in the choir. Why without the women, the churches would fall apart, or so I’ve heard. (Perhaps they would.) Then look at all the Christian writers conferences. There’s no question that those are dominated by women. Women easily outnumber the men there by a margin of ten to one.

I really don’t believe Christianity is as dominated by women as some people think. That certainly isn’t the case at our church. We’ve got men who are eager to work. We’ve got men who are leaders of their families. Our women are active too, but they don’t have to drag their husbands to church, like some people think. The other thing is that I believe men are active doing things that don’t show up on the stats sheets. I frequently hear some man talking about something he read in the Bible, or talking about a co-worker he witnessed to during the week, or telling people about what he did to help a family in need. So, maybe he’s not helping in the nursery, or teaching the five-year-olds, or purchasing Christian novels, but he’s not a saved and satisfied Christian.

And that gets us back to why it really shouldn’t have shocked us that men would outnumber women on the list of Christian Book Award winners. I’m not going to tell you that women can’t write; words seem to come naturally to women. Rather I’ll tell you that the reason it shouldn’t shock us when men dominate a list like this is that faithful men are still taking on leadership roles. The Christian Book of the Year award went to Nearing Home by Billy Graham. He’s been leading for a long time. But when you think about it, isn’t leadership one of the reasons many of us write? We see things happening around us and we want to use the written word as a means of showing people a better way. Certainly, God has used women in leadership roles, but he gave the primary role of leadership to men. Not all leaders will write a book—most won’t—but with the call of leadership resting on so many men, it is only natural that the best books will be written primarily by men.