Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I'll be honest with you - I'm not so sure that men are more theologically oriented than women are. Women are often the more faithful when it comes to being at Sunday School and are often more teachable and reliable than men. There are obvious exceptions. There is a drive in males that, if you get them passionate about theological studies, they are typically more motivated and focused on the single task of study but such men are few and far between. I always note, in fact, that men will complain about theology being difficult to understand but then you can get most guys to prattle off a million statistics about their favorite football team or a variety of sports. It's not a matter of not having any knowledge or passion but where those passions are typically directed.
In Reformed Churches, I think there are many reasons why women seem less interested in theology than men. One of those reasons, frankly, is that a lot of stuff that should be accomponied with passion is treated as if it were just so much theory. In this, I'm not saying that theological presentation has to manipulate emotions but, frankly, it's sort of a male thing to think that theology is supposed to be monotone and staid or it's not really theology. If you teach theology in the way that Job cries out to God or David marvels in his love for God, or Paul speaks with passion against the Judaizers then, not only do you demonstrate that to be male isn't to be without passions, but you also interest many of the women who might otherwise not be interested in these things.
I think men and women need theology that cares about them with the love of Christ. Men are composed in such a way that they sometimes will learn anyway out of the hobby of it all. Women can too but I really think the nurturing and caring character of women makes a dry theology too hypocritical for them to pay attention to.
You said what I was thinking. Women tend to draw their experiences into situations. They want to know "how can I apply this truth to my life?" That is what God wired us to do. I love this quotation by The Earl of Lytton (1831-91):
"It is a wonderful advantage to a man, in every pursuit or avocation, to secure an adviser in a sensible woman. In woman there is at once a subtile delicacy of tact and a plain soundness of judgment which are rarely combined to an equal degree in a man. A woman if she be really your friend, will have a sensitive regard for your character, honor, reupte. She will seldom counsel you to do a shabby thing; for a woman friend always desires to be proud of you."
This quotation implies two things that I find important in this discussion: 1) Women are equal but different for a good reason. They help balance out and compliment men. 2) A man who does not carefully consider the value of a good woman in his life is foolish.
So, should women study theology and be included in theological discussions As I already said in a post above: "YES!" However, our approach will be different, and we will add a different perspective to any discussion, and that is a good thing, not a bad thing. What we need to learn in the church is appreciate those differences and work together to grow our knowledge of Christ and build His Kingdom in the world.