Opinion | Discipleship

Why Women Leave the Church—and Come Back Again

Jim Henderson's 'The Resignation of Eve' offers first-hand accounts (and no small amount of editorializing) of women struggling in local congregations.

In 1997, Mary Belenky, Blythe Clinchy, Nancy Goldberger, and Jill Tarule published an important book titled Women's Ways of Knowing, in which they explored how women understand themselves, their minds, and their relationship to knowledge, and considered whether the cognitive process of knowing is different between the genders.

From their research, the authors discerned five relationships to knowledge, the most basic being "Silence." "Silent women" were often stranded in an elementary stage of knowing, having no personal voice with which to reflect on knowledge. Without a voice to represent their own perspectives of the world, these women were virtually dependent on the opinions of others.

Studies like this one demonstrate the power of having a voice. Expressing one's self and feeling heard are uniquely human activities that give us confidence to grow and create. We see this human need even in Scripture, including in the psalmist's statement, "There is no speech, nor are there words, whose ...

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