Where Are the Mature Women Writers?
November 5, 2015
Lisa Spence has written an excellent article, observing the lack of Christian women speakers and bloggers over 40, particularly at the large women’s conference that she was attending. This is a question I have been asking myself. I will be turning 40 in a couple of weeks, and I am disappointed that there are so few older women contributing in this way.
Lisa expresses her gratitude that there are many younger women passionately writing and given a platform to do so, but laments the lack of more experienced, mature voices to speak to the issues that we are confronted with after the toddler rearing years. She suggests one reason why we don’t hear as much from women over 40:
I have one friend who recently had her mother to move in with her and her husband and daughter. She purchased a hospital bed as well as renovated a bathroom in order to be able to care for her mom. I have another friend enduring the heartache of a rebellious son, another who hasn’t spoken to her daughter in months. One friend suffers ongoing health problems, nothing life threatening, but the kind of difficulty that is both annoying and debilitating in its own way. Another friend is looking for a job for the first time in many years in order to help with college expenses for her child. Just last week I met a woman whose family has sold everything they own to pay for their son’s drug rehabilitation program.
I offer their examples to say this: a lot of us aren’t writing not because we don’t have anything to say but because we can’t say what we have to say. Not on a public forum. It’s one thing for a mommy blogger to write a post about a two year old’s tantrum at the grocery store; it’s another thing entirely when it’s the rebellion of your twenty something year old, not to mention the heartache and confusion therein.
Lisa makes a good point here. There is an issue of privacy that prevents us from writing about these personal matters. But I do hope that the women experienced in these areas are involved in helping disciple the younger women in their local churches, where these matters can be discussed more openly. And I do see that happening.
There are plenty of important issues that I have also refrained from writing about for this reason, but there’s more to it than this. The younger women have offered some great resources to help Christians who are beginning to learn more about the Christian life of faith and obedience. But I long for more women to write with some weightier teaching. Because older women have lived through experiences such as Lisa shares, they have hopefully dug deeper in the Word and have substantial and rich teaching they could now contribute.
And this is where I want to say what Lisa didn’t. Along with a handful of other experienced, faithful, and engaging women, Lisa writes for a blog called Out of the Ordinary, which I regularly go to for a more mature, feminine contribution to the Christian blogosphere. They tackle some of the "middle years" issues of the Christian life in an engaging and appropriate way. And they also offer great biblical insight and teaching. These women have been at it for a while now. But they barely get a platform. I’m thankful to see Tim Challies sharing some of their posts in his A La Cartes and The Aquila Report doing the same. But that’s about it.
Many of the big conference platforms and marketed book deals are invested in the younger women. I’m glad to see that young women have more resources to choose from these days, but what if we want to read about more than being a mother or the beginning foundations of the faith? Where are the more academic or doctrinal contributions from women? Where are the women being included in theological conversations with men that are not on mere token women’s issues? There are some, but the ratio is way out of whack.
Has the Reformed church invested so little into their women that there are only a few that can contribute on a deeper theological level? I don’t think that is the case. But have we adequately shown that we need and value their insight and teaching? And is what they share something the men can also benefit from?
The few women over 40 who do have a decent platform in the reformed community could probably use some company. And I know that the church would benefit greatly if we could increase that number.