Entering the fray:

Responding to the kerfuffle started by meinmysmallcorner here and continued by Lilytodd here

As a woman in the same generation as Lilytodd and me in my small corner a lot of this resonates very deeply with me. The sense that I am just as capable, talented, gifted and spiritual as the man sitting beside me on the bus is a given. But what about the man on the pew next to me? Suddenly 30 years of church culture takes my self esteem and my self-worth and divides them by 2. I become hesitant, apologetic, willing to stand on the sidelines and careful about venturing an opinion.

Like Lilytodd I am tuning in more to what God thinks of me as being more important than what the church and society say. I am convinced that God delights in the feminine, is staggered by the beauty and talent of his own creation and created me to do more than complement man but to complete him as only an equal can. I am so much more than the church allows me to be and I am sick of the lip service of religious men saying, “Yes, yes, of course we are all equal in the eyes of God – just different”.

The legacy we have inherited as Christian women from our mothers and their mothers is one of oppression and abuse. Those who say I must cover my head, keep my mouth shut and limit my ministry only to women or children may believe they are acting biblically – but what is the fruit? An impoverished church and women who do not know who they are.

Without wanting to get too theologically out of my depth (too late…), I don’t believe God intended the bible to be bad news for women. The problem lies with the fact godly fallible men, some of them wearing misogynist spectacles and all of them products of their own cultures, have been interpreting scripture. And so what in its time was extraordinarily radical good news for women was twisted and misinterpreted to become an utter perversion of the truth.

The other problem is that we are reading these 1st century documents as if culture hasn’t changed at all in the last 2 millennia. In some ways we would do better to treat them as a transmission from an alien planet which needs decoded and set in its context before it becomes useful. The difficulty with this is that there are actually very few people taking the time and the effort to do this vital decoding and even fewer doing it in mainstream Christianity. And where does this leave the women in our churches? Bound and gagged.

We women are so backed into a corner at this stage that protesting at our fate only seems to make our situation worse. We get labeled ‘feminist’ and deemed no longer worth listening to and so the legacy gets carried on to the next generation. Ironically, our hope of salvation lies with the men.

Come on, you know who you are. In the privacy of your own home you may expound on equality. But get your ass off the sofa and into the pulpit and start acting a bit more like Jesus. Quit tolerating that which enslaves and wounds. Start protecting and empowering your sisters so we are free to live freely.


11 thoughts on “Entering the fray:

  1. Welcome! I’d like to say this debacle was all an elaborate ploy to get YOU off the sofa and into the blogging world, I knew you would have plenty of pearls for us. But I’d be lying!

    Thank you for finding different ways to to articulate my own frustrations

  2. I popped into the university Chaplaincy yesterday to “kill ten minutes”; expecting a quick friendly chat about nothing in particular, but suddenly I’m fighting back tears because it turns out that this particular Chaplain is discussing the issue in his church. He’s still not sure what the Bible says, but at least he’s making the effort to find out. Hope.

  3. welcome to the blogsphere and what an entry. Sitting at the willowcreek leadership conference watching bill interview Carly Fiorini – former CEO of Hewlett-Packard made me wonder about some of this. Where is there room in the church for the female high fliers – for highly talented female leaders and teachers? Surely teaching sunday school is almost an insult to women who would do a far better job than some of the men currently in those positions? Surely its not enough to talk about how Jesus’ treatment of women was liberating without looking at what that means today? a few more questions to add to the growing pile…

  4. be great if you could go more into how jesus’ treatment of women was liberating. Would it not have been massive if he had chosen women apostles, or if god had chosen femail gospel writers. Given that he didn’t (we assume deliberatly)… what does this mean? Or even if he told St Paul to tell the ephesions to make sure they get the women involved in the teaching a bit more…. and… it may be a 2000 year old document… but we’re always being told its as relevant today as it ever was – i worry about ‘the buttet bible’ (as i may have said before)

  5. What a beautifully articulated blog! What you said about not confusing the church’s treatment of you with God’s view of you, resonates deeply with me. It still baffles me that in SOME of our churches, sexism, is totally acceptable – it is preached, accepted and goes unchallenged by an unconcerned ALL male leadership. I’m not even talking about issues like women in ministry but rather church rules such as ‘No women are allowed to be part of the welcoming group to greet people as they enter church’ I wish I was joking. I’m not. I feel like yelling from my pew ‘What is this saying to our young girls, our female teenagers struggling with poor self-worth, women searching for identity!’…………………………………………………….Maybe, I should start yelling.

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