Something wondrous has been happening. A side effect that the CBMW did not consider possible as they pushed women underground, snowed on them and iced them forever into slavery and silence—or so they thought. But similar to how bulbs and roots gather strength in the winter and push out shoots and bloom when the time is right, and similar to how sap flows within trees while they appear to be dormant, so has the “sap” been flowing virtually unseen in the lives of a growing number of women. Women have been gathering strength to shoot forth and bloom and no weed-killer complementarians devise will shut them up.
While complementarians have been silencing women and forcing them to lives in the lowest level of the caste system, not allowing them to speak in churches, forcing them to remain with abusive, destructive husbands, the women have been studying the word and writing what they find. Gary Smalley once shared that although he began as a one-on-one counselor, he found that speaking to groups was more effective and reached more people, that video tapes reached even more people, and that writing books was the most effective and reached the most people. Without intending to, complementarians have kept lowest-caste, spread-thin women from doing the busy-work of pastoring, thus freeing them in the small time they have available to do the most effective work of all—write books.
Women from all over the world can “hear” other women “preach” via books, no matter where they live. Women are not limited to those in the local congregations; their work and outreach goes global.
True, complementarian male pastors also write books and their work goes global. But in their effort to silence women by hanging the most time-consuming work around women's necks and refusing them a pulpit, complementarians inadvertently directed women to the one door complementarians left unblocked—the most effective means of communication—especially for the small amount of time women have available to pursue their own interests—like communicating truth for women from God's Word.
So all these years, while women have been silent in the churches, the roots and bulbs have been growing underground, gathering strength and power to spring forth in glorious freedom in Christ.
Daughters have been prophesying—via books and blogs. Women and men have stopped hanging onto every word of the men behind the pulpits and instead are listening to the teachings in books and blogs, teachings that make far more sense than what was being taught from the pulpit, teachings that agree with what we know of the heart of God.
Joel's prophecy has become true and the power of God is becoming increasingly evident: “And it shall be in the last days, God says, that I will pour forth of my spirit upon all mankind, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.” Increasingly more daughters are prophesying, and a ground swell is growing, similar to the power of an avalanche or a tsunami, with the power to destroy the evil doctrine that is holding men, women, and the entire Christian community captive to that rotten and divisive caste system teaching that has been inflicted upon the church all these generations.
Praise God! Indeed, all things do work together for good to those who love God and who are the called according to His purpose. Rom 8:28. What the complementarians meant for evil, God meant for good—to bring freedom from oppression and a voice-heard-by-all to women.
The long winter is nearly over. Spring is beginning to burst forth.
Glory be to God.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See www.wanetadawn.com A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.