So I wanted to be part of this gridblog thing about dismantling patriarchy for the international Women’s Day (March 8) click here for more info
. Yes, some may call all this extreme, but I see it as a vital issue. Granted it has been some time since I’ve personally encountered sexists in the church, I mostly run across them online or in publications. But I’ve come to realize that the oppression of patriarchy is still alive and well, just often conveyed in more subtle forms. Even among those who generally think women in ministry is vaguely okay the bias is still alive and well. So here’s my incomplete and personal list of the things that bug me in regards to this issue – basically what I find stupid and annoying in the way the women in leadership issue is dismissed or denied.
1. The lip-service issue. In many Christian circles the powers that be say they have no problem with women in leadership, but pragmatically it is never realized. There is never a female pastor appointed (although the books say its okay) and never ever are women asked to guest preach when the pastor has to be away. Not only is it not done, it is never considered.
2. The equating being female with sin. Okay so this isn’t the main intention of most people who hold this stance, but it is what I hear. When the argument is given that when women are called by God to serve it is wrong to quench the spirit/tell God he is wrong by denying her an outlet to do so – the most common response I hear is “well what about the homosexuals who think they are called by God?” I don’t want to get into that whole other debate here, but the people who give that response are people who do think homosexuality is a sin. So when they say that, it comes across as if to be a woman is a sin as well.
3. The brush-off. This is one I hear often in the Emerging Church. That we care about women and think they should be in leadership, but there are more important issues that we need to be talking about. So this issue, and women in general, just get ignored.
4. The let’s all just get along response. The “I personally think women should be in leadership, but I understand that others don’t agree and that’s okay – I respect what they think.” I’m all about respecting others opinions, but there are things that are justice issues and should be fought for. What if you substituted black people or the handicapped in for women? Would we still be okay saying that we respect people’s opinion if they say blacks can’t be in leadership in the church or would we fight to change that?
5. The separate but equal issue. The argument that since God has given women the much harder leadership role of being a mom and taking care of the house, therefore this higher calling grants her leadership even if it isn’t the “mundane” forms she seems to want to have.
6. The play with the big boys issue. The “of course women are accepted in leadership as long as they act like men” issue. Women must buy into traditional male power structures, talk like men (i.e. interrupt everyone by talking louder and over them), have the same time and money to attend seminaries and conferences, write books, and network like men (forgetting that the men aren’t also the primary caregivers and housekeepers), and basically be labeled a feminazi bitch in order to exist in that world.
7. The token woman issue. The “we can look all equitable and stuff if we stick one women (or minority or better yet a female minority) into a leadership postion (staff member, conference speaker,…)” thing. Of course she can’t deliver a real Bible message, just something about health or social issues or children).
I’m sure there are many other participants in this gridblog who have more intelligent things to talk about. These are just some of the thoughts that come to mind when I consider “dismantling patriarchy.” I look forward to reading other’s thoughts as well as seeing the results of this effort.
Edit --- So there are many great posts so far ( click here
for the list of participants). Stories, theology, deep thoughts, and funny stuff. Since I always seem to post funny stuff I want to highlight this post
about why men shouldn't be ordained. Its really funny in the ironic sort of way. Enjoy.
Labels: Gender Issues, Reflections