(Tim, w/thanks to Kamilla who gave me a heads-up and has done several good posts on the subject) Here's the setup. Mrs. Frank James (who prefers to be known as Carolyn Custis James), was teaching a group of pastors how better to utilize women in positions of authority when one pastor asked her, "If we work with women, won't we be tempted?"
Mrs. James wasn't pleased with the question or what followed. She writes:
What followed (the question was) a laundry list of precautions to safeguard oneself from moral hazards when working or dealing with women. Women find this kind of thinking offensive, and rightly so. This low view of women conflicts with the Bible's high redemptive view of us.
So now, a word for church planters and new pastors. When I took my first call, Dad forwarded an article about a youth pastor who had given a young woman a ride home after youth group. Later, he was sued by the young woman's parents for some sort of sexually predatory behavior--which he denied. At the top of the article, Dad had scrawled, "This is a warning. Never give a woman a ride in your car, alone. Never counsel a woman, alone. Have a woman present or keep your door open and stay within sight of your secretary."
When we built our church-house a couple years ago, we put lights (windows) in every door as protection for everyone, everywhere...
And this is just one of many precautions we take against temptation.
But the voluble Mrs. James sees such precautions as one more proof of that which she sees all the time, everywhere: a "low view of women."
When I first began the work of ministry, I was involved in a small group with my wife, three singles, and several other couples. During dinner one night, we were discussing whether it was OK for those of us who were married to spend time alone with someone of the opposite sex. One married women was disgusted I'd said it wasn't OK, and she challenged me: "Do you mean you wouldn't be willing to have lunch on campus with me?"
Knowing I was looking like an insecure young man with a monstrous view of women, I plowed ahead and responded, "No. I'm sorry, but I wouldn't have lunch with you."
She was furious.
I was humiliated.
But, the truth?
Later that evening as we were clearing the dinner dishes, that young married woman made a point of pressing certain parts of her anatomy against my body. From then on, I gave her the widest berth, possible. Through my shirt, I'd felt the fires of Hell.
A year or so later while her husband was out of town, this young wife committed adultery. Her husband stayed with her, gentle and compliant to the end. Within five years, they were divorced and this young wife was living with one of her art professors.
In the pastorate, temptations to adultery are constant and require us to take the most inflexible precautions. Sadly, though, such precautions will meet with the disapproval of a certain kind of woman like Mrs. James. Being foolish, they think such precautions are demeaning to women, perpetuating a view of women as temptresses.
Truth is, women often tempt men--just as men often tempt women. And truth is, not one of us is beyond committing adultery if we remember King David was "a man after God's Own heart."
Fear God and you won't fear what the Mrs. Frank James of the world think of you. When you're older, you'll be so grateful the Lord gave you had a wise father who warned you to be on guard, taking concrete, rigid precautions.