I am one of the lucky ones. I am a man who has been positively influenced by both strong men and strong, perhaps even stronger, women.
I grew up in an Italian family. My grandfather was quiet and steady. My father was strong and a great provider. My grandmother was ever present and larger than life while my mother was sensitive and nurturing. And Amy, my wife of almost 30 years and who incidentally is pink with ever darkening streaks of green (versus lime green ala long-time friend, author, preacher, and founder of The Marcella Project, Jackie Roese), is such a perfectly fitted and complementary partner to me that we are clearly stronger and better together than apart.
As far back as I can remember I have always had respectful admiration and valuable appreciation of women. I was raised Catholic and attended private schools through most of my early education. I am grateful to have been taught, at such a young age, that God not only exists but loves me and desires to be a part of my daily life. I also learned that the Trinity (God existing in three distinct and divine Persons but one God) is a beautiful and very real presence. In a similar manner, the combination of distinct male and female persons, whether in one marriage, church or other organization, has the power to do great things when employing their unique gifts. For instance, I found both male and female educators contributed greatly to my education and my way of thinking. Each using their talents, abilities, and experiences for the benefit of students seemed very natural and normative.
As I moved into adulthood in what had been referred to as “a man's world” and became a part of a conservative evangelical Bible church, I “learned” something new. At some point, a woman’s opportunity to lead is limited. This seems incongruent with the way I was raised as a boy, and now, as a man and a follower of Christ, this concerns me. As a father of two adult daughters, I want each of them to have the opportunity to pursue God’s calling, and I don’t want, or believe, their gender should restrict them.
Enter The Marcella Project. The Marcella Project is working hard to reshape the way women view themselves and the way the larger church views them. Through Scripture-focused teaching, training and dialogue, The Marcella Project is bringing awareness and transformation to traditional gender inequalities that have hindered the mission of the church…to go into the world and preach the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples. My wife Amy and I are privileged and honored to be Marcella 100 Members. Through Bible studies, salons, and retreats we have been equipped, encouraged, and challenged to engage in conversations and movements to promote the ennobling of women in the local and international church community.