Famed American bishop, author and film producer Thomas Dexter “T.D” Jakes said women should be able to strike a balance between being successful at work and being a wife at home.
Jakes was responding to a question when asked how African women, with new dispensations of business and opportunities opening up for them, can honour God, their husband and society at the same time.
Some marriages are breaking up because women are becoming more ‘feminist’.
Jakes arrived here on Monday for the MTC two-day leadership conference and inspirational talk. He had morning and evening sessions at Safari Hotel and Conference Centre, together with South African pastor Jermone Campher and Dr David Molapo. He left yesterday afternoon. His net worth is US$150.2 million.
Giving a theological response, Jakes said the Bible does not say a woman is subordinate to men. Jakes said men and women are one and equal in Christ.
“The Bible talks about women being submissive, not to men, but to her own husband … God is setting up an organizational structure for family, it has nothing to do with anything outside the family.”
He said that when a woman is in her home she submits to her husband, but when she goes out in the world she is equal to any man, woman, dog or cat.
“The challenge is to when, and to what. You may be CEO in the boardroom but maybe not so in the bedroom. You must have experience to flip from one role to another, you can do more. If you don’t have the ability, you must give up one role for another, depending on what is most important to you.”
“Maybe you should not get married, maybe you should go after your career. If you are going to be a wife, then when you come from the boardroom and come home and kick off your heels you ask, ‘baby (husband) do you need something?’” he said.
Moving on to sociological issues, Jakes said history teaches us that as any society advances one of the symptoms of advancement is a changing attitude towards women.
“As any society evolves it ceases to abuse its women. We went through changes in America where we had a huge revolution; women were considered property – it’s not unique to Africa, India and Asian culture. As women were allowed to read and go to school, they became entrepreneual and successful.”
“I applaud your success. To me a smart woman is a sexy women. I love a woman who is articulate and intelligent … carry your own weight. I want you to be an asset not a liability … celebrate our success. Any man intimidated by a smart woman is a dumb man,” he said.
He added that a smart woman influences her children positively.
Jakes said what he does not want is to fight with a woman to get the “will of their marriage”.
“That’s why I didn’t marry a man – if I want I would have done that,” he said laughingly.
On Monday evening, MTC had a spiritual service. Jakes spoke to individuals about never giving up to learn, not to doubt what God has given them, realizing their talents and strength, the struggles with change.
Prof Joseph Diescho who attended the Monday evening session said Jakes is one of the deepest and most insightful interpreters of the Word.
Diescho said Jakes speaks to the heart of the people and responds to the circumstances on the ground. “He is telling us we can do it. But before we do it we should first know who we are, understand our context. It is about relationships. You can’t be great if you destroy others. You cannot become what we want if we don’t build one another. That’s what he is saying to us. We may feel lost sometimes but this country can tell a big story and that story is in your heart and my heart. It is not in our frustration but in the promise.”
Diescho said what stood out for him is Jakes’ energy, his faith in Namibians and his courage to make people understand that which we might be taking for granted.
Jesus Centre Pastor Haruna Goroh said the country can very much relate to Jakes’ preaching. “We are happy he related it to the nation of Namibia, where we are at now as we walk towards prosperity. This prosperity is not going to come when we stretch out our hands and wait for handouts from Western nations, from Europe and America. We have to rise and build together. The rest of the world is waiting for Africa, waiting to return and take the resources of Africa, we should not be blind to what other nations are seeing.”
He said his preaching is relevant at this time when President Geingob is speaking about building a nation and where poverty could be a thing of the past.