Well. It seems I struck a chord with my post on blogging in the middle years and while I haven’t been able to keep up with all the conversations it spawned, I am grateful I do not lament alone.
Here are some of the follow up posts I do know about and if I have overlooked any, please let me know and I will be sure to include them here.
I am thankful for the wise input of these women and the others of you who commented on Facebook and Twitter and here at the blog. You’ve all given me much to think about and, as I said, I am grateful that I am not alone in asking these questions.
Speaking of comments, my sweet friend Jessalyn posted my favorite. Actually my two favorite. You’ll have to click over to the post and read them to see why. :)
As I continue to think on the void of mature women’s voices in blogs and books and social media, I agree with what most of us have concluded: it’s complicated. There are, I think, certain mitigating factors of this stage of life that contribute to our reticence…
Our circumstances. As I attempted to highlight in my post, a lot of us are finding ourselves in situations and struggles for which we are totally unprepared and inadequate. Life is just hard, whether we are dealing with aging parents or rebellious teenagers. Along with these new challenges comes new uncertainty of what is appropriate to share in terms of the privacy both of our situation and those we love. And we are busy. We’ve transitioned out of the mommy years and our time is less our own. Many of us have returned to work full time and no longer have the freedom to write and comment.
The medium. Those of us who began blogging ten years ago or more fondly recall when blogs were places of conversation and community. As Twitter and Facebook have taken over the community aspect, blogs have become less dialogue and more monologue. Blogging itself has become more professionalized both in terms of monetization and publication and thus increasingly intimidating and isolating.
The industry. Some of you mentioned other possible reasons; for instance, how the publishing market seems to be geared toward younger women. Youth does sell, that is true. Maybe I’m naïve but I’m not certain publishers are actively discriminating against the older woman in favor of the younger. I just think there are a greater number of younger women writing.
“Women’s ministry.” I do agree that another possible factor may be how women’s ministry has been modeled in the local church over the past couple of decades, particularly in churches that hold to a complementarian position in terms of women’s roles in the church. As I’ve observed before, in a small complementarian church often the only places open for a woman to serve is in the nursery and children’s ministry. It’s not discrimination against the woman teacher; it’s the need and size of the church defining her opportunities. In that scenario it is difficult for a woman’s active pursuit of theological training to be modeled. Not impossible, but difficult. Added to this is the prevalence of video based studies forming the sum of theological dialogue among women. I’ve talked to many women who think they have nothing to offer the conversation because they don’t fit the mold of the dynamic, skilled orator.
Pushback against the egalitarian position has also resulted in a lack of investment in a strong theological foundation for women which in turn leads to less women writing and talking of theological matters. I once read an article, years ago, that advocated all Biblical instruction for women be taught through Titus 2. As if that were the only passage of Scripture relevant and necessary for the woman of God!
As I said, it’s complicated. We could offer up reason after reason and personal story after personal story—and I would seriously love to hear your story if you’d share it!—but my hope is not that we would merely have forum to complain and commiserate but that as we reason through our silence, we would find our voice. How I hope more women will be thinking and talking–and yes, writing–about theology and real life! Young or old, I pray that we will all use whatever sphere of influence the Lord grants us to joyfully assert the hope we have in Christ.
So many of use are eager for more mature voices! I love that. Maybe more of us will blog; maybe some of us will write a book; maybe there will be more honest, deep conversations between friends and across generations. You have a voice. You have a story. Go. Tell. Speak. We want to hear from you!