As I type these words, my wife is eagerly anticipating the annual Ladies Day at the country church we’ve been members of for the entirety of our marriage (and which I’ve attended since I was six days old).
I know the word “ladies” sticks in the craw of some segments of the unchurched (as well as the ultra-progressive churched). They see it as a lingering, condescending vestige of oppressive patriarchy. They imagine a Ladies Day lecture sprinkled with scriptural references such as “The Mansplaining on the Mount” (their terminology) and the chauvinistic effrontery of someone holding the Pearly Gates open for them.
They divide all church women into either cowering doormats or abrasive, self-righteous biddies like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady on “Saturday Night Live.”
While most nonreligious motorists can pass a Ladies Day marquee without a knee-jerk reaction, some sigh with a mixture of pity and contempt. They have a preconceived notion of the attendees and can just picture the women (even octogenarian Mrs. McGillicuddy) fighting over door prizes. (“Yee-ha! Nail clippers and Chinese herbs! I get to stay barefoot and pregnant! Eat your heart out, Betty White!”)
But in a world of selfishness and vulgarity, I rejoice that we are still blessed with women who have some measure of self-control. decency and modesty. I am proud my wife is part of a broad cross-section of women (stay-at-home moms, career women, retirees and spiritually minded teens) who share a reverent goal while retaining their own hobbies, personalities and dreams. These women can enjoy some good, clean fun and serve as pillars of strength for their families and their communities.
It’s ideal when talk and ACTION can be combined, as when Ladies Day is paired with a food drive or clothing collection. The ladies can take care of the less fortunate -- defined as people without enough school supplies, people without their necessary medications, people without 13,000 grandbaby pictures to share.
The hosting congregation and their visitors can bolster one another’s faith – faith that wayward adult children will see the light, faith that doctors will be guided in performing delicate operations, faith that when Jesus is preparing “many mansions” for us, he isn’t tracking mud into the foyer.
Certainly, ladies can reach even greater heights with an appropriate overarching theme to tie the activities together. Such themes include “Showers of Blessings,” “Balancing Your Act” and “The Potter and the Clay.” Less successful themes have included “Jesus, Take The Wheel – and Hold My Purse While You’re At It” and “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade – but not that awful stuff Judy Beedlebaum brings to all the church socials!”
Women come away from the meetings with memories they will cherish for a lifetime, but it helps to leave with calendars, refrigerator magnets and other doodads to bring verses to life. Of course, different churches have different budgets. Not every fellowship hall rings with shouts of “You get an ark and you get an ark and you get an ark!”
Not many macho men would want to participate in the entire two or more hours of Ladies Day, but I suspect a few of the curious would love to be the proverbial “fly on the wall.” That is, until they’re overcome by fumes from scented candles and pumpkin spice tea. (“If I could just reach that spider web...and sweet, merciful death...”)
Danny welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”