Yesterday, I realized that I harbor a strange prejudice against women's events, and I'm trying to understand the origins of this feeling.
Last night, one of the churches I have been visiting had two special programs, one for men and one for women. Each event had its own speaker. I went because I thought it would be a good way to meet more people from the church. However, as I sat at the table, I was distracted from my desire to make friends by waves of sarcasm. Before the speaker was even introduced, I had made up my mind that it was probably going to be overly emotional and focused on something that was not particularly relevant to me. Apparently I need to start resting from snarkiness on the Sabbath.
As it happened, the talk was on a subject I've lamented is usually neglected in churches--friendship. The speaker's message (dare I say, sermon?) was deep and compelling and challenged me to re-examine a painful and confusing division I have had from one close friend.
My pride was wholesomely wounded over the course of the evening, and I repent of my bad attitude. Today, I'm trying to understand why I am so ill-disposed towards events like that. I have always had strong female friendships, and although I have never planned anything called a "girls' night," I spent almost every Sabbath last year sewing and knitting with Katie. And I've never been a tomboy -- if I could, I would wear silk blouses and pearls to work every day for the rest of my life. I've even been to excellent programs for women, including two women's retreats with my church in Texas.
So what is my problem?
Maybe I'm uncomfortable with these events because they seem in danger of making generalizations about women and/or gender roles? Or perhaps I am still worried that the boys are getting to do something more interesting, like Greek? Or maybe (and this might be nearest the truth), I have been scornful simply because I don't see the point of women-only events. I'm not denying that there are issues women might best discuss with other women, but I'm not sure what those are for me. I'm not sure if this is because I am willing to discuss more things in mixed company, or because the questions that really haunt me are such that I would be slow to discuss them with anyone, male or female.
This realization is so fresh that I don't entirely understand it myself. Whatever the cause of my disdain, I want to use my fresh humility to keep an open mind about women's events in the future. If I truly believe that it is presumptuous to say whom God can and cannot speak through, then I should be ashamed to doubt that the Spirit of the Living God will show up at a girls' night.
What about you? Do you like church events that are geared for a specific gender? Am I missing something in my lack of appreciation for them?