Dear President Dalton,

I have a daughter. Her world is young and innocent, brimming with a child’s intensity of feeling — ecstasy and despair are infinitely magnified when confined to only four years of life. Though to an adult her joys are simple and her sorrows trivial, every one of her tears hits me with equal weight, no matter their cause.

As of yet, she has no notion of what it means to be a woman in today’s society, much less in the church.

But I fear that day.

She is still on a first-name basis with Jesus. The words Lord, Christ, Savior, or Judge are irrelevant to their relationship. His love encompasses her entire knowledge of the gospel.

I fear the day that changes.

The words misogyny, sexism, chauvinism, hierarchy, rights, and inequality remain beyond her reach, for now. But like all children her age, she is beginning to grasp the concept of what is “fair.” She is especially sensitive to the issue whenever it involves her younger brother. This is why your words have troubled me so:

You will understand your roles and your responsibilities and thus will see no need to lobby for rights.

I fear the day her simple concepts of Jesus and “fair” come into conflict. They really shouldn’t have to. She knows I will always love her as much as her younger brother. She knows that, in addition to my spoken assurances of love, I will never treat her as less than her brother, merely because she was born my daughter instead of my son.

But will she always know this about Jesus?

I am all too aware of our constant protestations of how important women are in the church. I wish I did not feel like we are trying to convince ourselves. I do not believe that Jesus would want my daughter to have to choose between Him and her self-respect.

I know how heavy her tears feel. The anticipation is crushing me.