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What Does It Take to Be A "Christian Woman?"


It's always interesting to see how a random comment on social media can turn into a flurry of dialogue. A while ago, Karen Swallow Prior made a prediction on Twitter about how 2018 was going to be the year of the evangelical woman. Much discussion ensued, and then last week, this article addressing the idea, On Being a Christian Woman in the Year of Our Lord 2018 popped up. It was shared repeatedly. I read the article and some of the reactions to it. I wished I could ask the author a few questions of clarification, and I didn't entirely agree with her premise that all women are looking for is good women teachers. I'm not necessarily looking for a woman to teach me. I just want good teaching no matter if it's a man or a woman. But, that's a little thing, and I do understand where she is coming from.

That said, one of the comment she made concerns me, and I had questions I wish could be answered. I don't normally write about such things because, honestly, my role right now other than a wife and mother is student, and I would rather spend mental energy on my school work. But the comment nagged at me for a few days. I was still on a break from school, so the words were more able to interrupt my thinking. It was this comment here that I found myself thinking about:

But there's another side to it: we must teach the women to act like Christian women, not door busters. We must teach them that the Christian life is not one of getting our way or forcing our plans or barging in––it's one of dying daily, humble waiting, prayerful dependence, and unseen service where our right hand is ignorant of our left. That breaking the doors down would be the path toward anything but misery seems obvious enough––which doors are enough, when does it end?

What does it mean "to act like a Christian woman?" Who decides what that looks like? Are "door buster" and "Christian women" mutually exclusive? The idea of dying to self and being humble, patient, and dependent upon prayer is for all Christians, is it not? Does the author discourage men "door busters" or just women "door busters?" Who are the powers that be who have determined that women must not try to break down doors? In all likelihood, a select few people of privilege.

Though they did not operate within the Church, I am thankful for the "door busters" like Emily Murphy, Nellie McClung, Irene Parlby, and Henrietta Muir Edwards. These "famous five" women were not afraid to break down a door to ensure that women in Canada were considered "persons" under the law. I, as a woman in Canada, am the beneficiary of the work they did. Nellie McClung, a Christian woman, was especially influential in this matter as well in ensuring that women had the vote. Was she not demonstrating proper Christian womanhood in her work to enable women to vote? Would the author of the article forsake the benefits she lives with which came as a result of a woman breaking down a door?

Of course, the two situations are not entirely parallel; I understand that. However, I find it curious how we will accept (and even encourage) the door busting of women in one area but not another. Does that mean we have two codes of conduct, one for inside the Church and outside the Church? If that's the expectation, I don't agree.

Kim Shay lives in Southern Ontario, Canada. She converted to Christ in 1985. She has been married for 30 years and has three grown children and two unruly Beagles. She is currently attending Heritage Seminary where she is working on a Masters of Theology. She has been a member of her local church for 21 years, where she serves as a Sunday school teacher. Find her online at

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