"Sacred Siblings" in God's Mission

Dr. Mary Lederleitner, in her book, Women in God’s Mission, explores the challenges that women face to thrive in Christian contexts.

For instance, she notes:

Ever since “Eve’s sin” in the garden, it can feel like women are blamed for many of men’s shortcomings and character defects (Genesis 3:12), especially in the area of sexuality. While there are women who choose a life of sexual promiscuity, in all my years of ministry I have not met any women leading in God’s mission who had the intent of snaring a man and hoping to lead him down a destructive sexual path.

This is disheartening. Dr. Lederleitner mentions a variety of ways that women suffer from this framing and blaming. For instance, a lack of access to mentoring, after-hours events, travel opportunities, and developing the friendships required for a growing career.

As I contextualize her concerns for an online community, I’ve heard that on other platforms, women can experience harassment, trolling, and other kinds of unwanted attention. To be clear, those would all be unacceptable here. They are one reason we would remove a participant from the community.

In light of these problems, I appreciated the metaphor that Dr. Lederleitner proposes for how men and women can view each other:

The term that has captured my heart and imagination as a healthy metaphor for the mission workplace is “sacred siblings.” It comes from a book titled Mixed Ministry: Working Together as Brothers and Sisters in an Oversexed Society. I love this term because it presents a vision that can help us imagine new ways of working together without explicitly or implicitly sending messages to women that they are temptresses or stumbling blocks. This image should be integrated in our daily prayers as we ask that God’s “will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

I’m curious to hear from others on this -

  1. What are some ways women are disadvantaged in Christian contexts?

  2. What are some ways men can honor women as sisters in Christ?

  3. What do you think about the ‘sacred siblings’ metaphor? What are the pros (or potential cons) to adopting this language?

  4. What does it look like for women and men to experience value in an online community like this one?

  5. How do we speak up for the dignity of women in a way that builds unity?