Cherchez la femme

That’s what I usually write in my book on feminism when I have been asked to sign a copy.  It’s French for “look for the woman.” As American’s say “follow the money” to solve a crime the French say “look for the woman.”  And I know what you’re thinking.  This guy, meaning me, must be some kind of sexist pig. I don’t deny that I have, can be, and at times am one, but not here, not now.

“Look for the woman” in the Scriptures and you will find the Gospel.  It’s there in the first Gospel promise to Eve that the Seed of the woman would crush the Serpent’s head.  It’s there in Sara’s mouth where she proclaims in Gospel boldness, “The son of the slave shall not inherit with the son of the free.”  The Gospel is there when Moses’ mother gives him up in faith to the waters of the Nile. It’s there in Huldah’s mouth when she speaks to the king of Judah.  And of course “look for the woman” in the New Testament and you will find the Gospel in Mary saying, “May it be to me as You have said,” and, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it.”  “Look for the woman” on Easter morning and there you’ll find the Gospel of He is risen.

“Follow the money” shows the greed and baseness of men.  “Look for the woman” shows how important women are in the economy of salvation.  They are like the proverbial canary in the coal mine.  When things go wrong with them, you know things are wrong on a grander scale.  From the 19th century poem that observed that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world” to the early 20th century sage, G. K. Chesterton who said all men are feminized, in a good and right way, by virtue of being born of a woman, people have known this.  But we in the church are forgetting it.

We think we are giving them their rights or their due by making women acolytes, ushers, readers, and communion assistants, not to mention trustees, elders, and presidents.  What we are really doing is taking away from our glory.  The woman is the glory of man (1 Cor. 11:7), so when we fashion her in our image we are taking away from the glory of mankind.  “Look for the woman,” and don’t mess with her when you find her in the divine roles and glorious places the Lord has placed her.


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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