By Ron Wood / guest columnist
The Meridian Star
Thirteen years ago I began work on a manuscript for a book, "Women on the Team." Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be working on it today. But I am still learning and still confronting my bias. I am in awe of how radical Jesus was in the way He taught women despite the woman-hating culture of Judaism. If you think that statement is extreme, just look at Islam — that's the same attitude Jesus confronted about women.
My challenge was (and is) that the material I'd prepared for sermons did not automatically translate into a form suitable for publication. A lot more work had to go into making it ready for a book. Why is that?
If you are a person who attends a church, then you frequently listen to sermons. Usually the preacher's words are well received, right? Sermons don't often result in strong negative reactions. Here in the South, we love our preachers and we enjoy what they have to say. But books are different. Books have critics.
An author of a book, if making a point about a subject we have not yet examined, can expect objections, rebuttals, or even anger. Therefore written materials, unlike sermons in a church, need to incorporate all of the anticipated objections up front so the reader won't stumble.
Plus, as my editor keeps telling me, "Less is more!" He has put so much of my manuscript into the "boneyard" that I feel like a plucked chicken. My ego is bruised as his ruthless pen has slashed into my labor of love. But, it is becoming a better book about a very important subject.
He has done me a great service by forcing me to examine what I believe and to think clearly on paper. He has made me improve how I present my material on the written page, something that I am not as meticulous with in my verbal sermons. But I am slowly changing in that area, too.
I confess: I used to hate women preachers. I was certain they were wrong. Now, I am certain that I was the one who was wrong. I have repented to God. As a prophetic act, to heal wounded women and to invoke God's mercy in the church, in identifying with sinners, I have asked groups of Christian women to forgive me and forgive the men who devalued them.
I am confident my doctrine is right based on years of careful study of God's word. I know what the historic church believed. I know what the apostles practiced. I know we have allowed our male-dominated tradition to invalidate the word of God; grieve the Holy Spirit; and frustrate many good women.
For this offense, we leaders need to repent. For myself, I am striving to refine my ability to communicate so that people who read or hear what I say can understand, lay aside wrong thinking, and become transformed by the truth.
Ron Wood ministers at Trinity Assembly of God. 601-483-8189. Visit trinitymeridian.com. "Blessings and Curses" this Sunday on The Father's Power, 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., 103.3 FM. Everyone welcome at Bible Class Wednesday at 11 a.m.