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Monday, January 22, 2007
So now women can't teach???
So the discrimination against women continues. I got online this morning and read this post over at Scot McKnight's blog Jesus Creed regarding the removal of a female seminary professor by a new administration because she was female. Read the news brief here. Since reading it, I have been seriously pissed off all day. It was one of those last straw moments - how much more of this crap are we as women willing to take?

Now Scot McKnight poses some good questions on his blog regarding if one is inclined to ban women from teaching where do we draw the line? Can men read books by women? What about in high schools or non-theology classes? While I think those questions point out some of the absurdity of the stance that views women as lesser creations, there are guys commenting there who really think they should be considered if we are to be biblical. Since when does the excuse "being biblical" make it okay to be a sexist immoral jerk? And when women there complain about how hurtful situations like this are to women in general, men there accuse us of overreacting and getting away with it just because we are women. I feel like I'm being treated like I'm a puppy dog - "that's a good girl, settle down now, there's no need to get excited, you don't count anyway, your opinion is worthless to me...". So if we are hurt or offended we aren't allowed to do anything about it because then we are overreacting or claiming to be victims. That's a great way to guarantee the continuing spread of injustice.

I am sick of having to fight this battle. I am sick of having to actually defend the equality of women. I am sick that there are people who are so wrapped up in hated and fear that they do things like this to women. I am sick that the debate of whether women are capable of doing XY or Z or if we are inferior to men actually still happens. And I am sick that the only place that it is still happening is in the church.

So yes, this is an opinionated rant. I had to share here because my toddler wasn't really interested in the long monologue she had to hear about the stupidity of men who think they are better than women just because they have a penis... But I had to say it. The news needs to go out, because the more people who know the more people there are to stop the evil from spreading.

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posted by Julie at 1:31 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/22/2007 02:28:00 PM, Blogger lydia

    how much more of this crap are we as women willing to take

    I don't know, but I can tell you that attitudes and policies like the ones you mentioned nearly drove me away from Christianity permanently about six years ago. I liked God, I just couldn't fathom investing my life in a culture that seemed to hate me so much.

    And it's one (of many) reasons why I've basically given up on meeting with other Christians in any sort of formal, "religious" setting.

    In general one has to want to change in order for that change to take place, I don't see that sort of willingness in most of the people I've met who hold the beliefs you outlined in the OP, I have no interest in being anyone's whipping girl in the meantime.

    I do have a great deal of respect for those who do slog it out in this sort of situation, though.

    " had to share here because my toddler wasn't really interested in the long monologue she had to hear about the stupidity of men who think they are better than women just because they have a penis"

    Heh. She will be sooner than you think, though. :D

  • At 1/22/2007 05:47:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    I am definitely with you on the argument that something is "biblical" not being a good excuse for what is plainly immoral and against the character of a loving God. Genocide, slavery, racism, sexism, homophobia and self-righteousness have been the fruits of this kind of blind fundamentalism. I'm sure we could proof text our way into rationalizing prostitution and child rape by looking at certain texts and drawing theology from them. I am thankful that the bible itself is a self-critical collection of writings, and I choose to interpret through a Jesus-Love ethic.

    I saw a bumper sticker a while ago I was tempted to get: "I don't have a problem with God, it's his people I can't stand." I find that I am naturally suspicious of people who hold a narrow evangelical/fundamentalist view of scripture because it can feel so impossible to reach the living, breathing, feeling, thinking human being behind the filter screen of dogma that separates such people sadly, from our common humanity.

    And yet, I remember following logical lines of reasoning as a college student of, "well, if we REALLY believe this, then what are the implications? So I think a rethinking of overall presuppositions about the the bible and women is an important step to fully reclaiming women as full participants in the body of Christ and truly equally valued members of the human race.

  • At 1/22/2007 05:48:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    P.S. Julie, I'm relieve that I am no longer the only EW contributer to type "penis" on a post ;)

  • At 1/22/2007 06:23:00 PM, Blogger linda

    don't give up julie! but do take a break if you need one. it is a battle. as i was having the discussion on the ooze not long ago about driscoll's comments, i was glad to see that you were on scot's blog battling away as well.

    i'm actually glad to see this issue of women in ministry getting so much attention as i do believe it will bring much-needed change.

  • At 1/22/2007 06:53:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I also respect those that battle this out. The thought of it absolutely exhausts me even thinking about it.
    I had subconscious actions and thoughts about "women teaching", and accepted it as is...mainly because I "had be taught" that the Bible stated it. As I have moved down that road, I personally disagree.
    I guess I avoid dealing in these other realms, because I have enough of this battle at home right now. It sucks to not be ok anymore, but I agree, many times when you stand up, regardless of how, you are dismissed, emotional, a bitch, causing problems etc., etc. I find that I hate "causing problems", but realize change won't happen if we don't confront it.

    We're listening Julie, and I sympathize with your emotions! Thanks for taking this on, where some like me haven't quite got the words/knowledge to join the battle. Someday!

  • At 1/22/2007 07:03:00 PM, Anonymous Christina

    "I am sick of having to fight this battle. I am sick of having to actually defend the equality of women."

    I get so angry whenever I hear situations where women are discriminated against. To claim that it's God who is really behind the discrimination is infuriating! (I wonder what God thinks about people using his name to treat us as inferiors.)

    I don't think it's very effective for us to fight those who are discriminating, though. They won't allow a woman to teach them, so how can we convince them ourselves? Other men need to take up the cause and show them the truth. We need to continue to be exactly who and what God made us to be and recognize that our value isn't decided by any man or group of men, no matter what their title.

    My husband wrote a book, Chatter in the Sanctuary, that deals mostly with Paul's supposed discrimination, as well as the other 'difficult' passages. He's studied it inside and out and heartily encourages women to fulfill whatever God called them to. He is my (and other women's) champion. He vowed to make sure that he would do whatever he can to make sure I serve God in whatever capacity I'm led (I'm a loud-mouthed Bible teacher and pastor). Whenever he has speaking engagement outside of our church, more often then not, he invites me to teach with him and he always makes a place for me.

    Whether men make a place for us or not, God is able to make a place for us and be our Champion. He believes in women in ministry even more than we do and has a bigger interest in seeing that our voice is heard.

  • At 1/22/2007 08:27:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Amen Christina, preach it sister!

  • At 1/22/2007 08:37:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I went back and read more of the comments of Scot's blog. I found a link to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary that someone had posted. They state that they do not allow any one who is divorced or married to someone who was divorced into their programs. It also stated that women can only pursue degrees for mission work and education.

    I have definitely reached the place where I finally see why many non-Christian's or non-legalistic/non-fundamentalist people dismiss so many Christians in their thinking.

    I guess I tend to think, if one was really not sure (ie, Jesus certainly seemed to respect women in a different way than Paul) and women were found to be an asset to our world, what do people think would happen? If women led men, women, and children to God, would God then punish them and the others who supported them, just because "Paul was clear"? The whole thing seems utterly ridiculous to me...and I support many comments on that blog that women many times are the "teachers" for children and teens. Many men can attribute their spiritual raising to their mothers, grandmothers, Sunday school teachers etc. (Ex. At my church we have approx. 30 volunteers in our children's programs, outside of our nursery/preschool programs, only 2 men teach in our K-2nd program) My mother still thinks that women have certain roles, but I can tell you my father didn't teach us about God. So should I just dismiss her at this point, especially because many "men/pastors" that are teaching me now disagree with what a lot of what she thought? It's seems like a lot of wasted energy, and is very sad.

    I also think more men need to make an effort to support women in these issues. It seems like some men don't have issues with women having voices, teaching, being in prominent roles, etc. but then consciously or unconsciously the support is lacking. I know more men are taking up the torch to stand with women, but I would like to see a more conscious effort. I have made comments in my church of needing this support, it is slow, but I am gracious that we have had a lot of changes. Women predominantly teach in our children's programs. Jr./Sr. High is taught by men, and our "weekend speakers" are men. I hope that the women and our "needs" are just as much of a concern as other things that we are pursuing as a church are. I have had women in our church ask for book clubs/ women's gatherings (not necessarily as a separate thing, but as a time for focusing on empowering women, and encouraging them in their journey with God,men would be welcome also), some including myself, feel a little slighted. One woman has told me she has asked and asked, and nothing has come of it, and really didn't get much of a response. She is ready to make a group outside of the church. I don't want to see that happen, we certainly could do that, but I have faith in our community, that it will come in time....somehow. In the mean time, I am trying very hard to not take it personal or get to worked up about it. I have literally felt dismissed at times, but at others feel supported. So, I am trying to give it time. That is not always easy. It is a struggle to know whether "you" need to be the one to "push" the issue or not. Right now I feel like I am pushing and expecting too much, but then the back of my head, I feel like God could use me in the place I am. Who knows.... Just to add more thoughts.

  • At 1/22/2007 08:39:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Oops, correction only 2 men teach in our K-5th program.

  • At 1/22/2007 09:39:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    I've been reading along with Scot's post as well, Julie.

    In the course of the last year, I've been fairly vocal on women's issues at our church. I feel pretty well accepted and encouraged. I'm also viewed as an "exception" to the "standard." At one point that felt like an honor. More and more, it feels frustrating, primarily because if I can't continue to volunteer within the church and manage home responsibilities "exceptionally"

    What I've found really interesting though is not the men placing limits on women, but the women doing that themselves. So many women see other women as incapable of leading effectively. I

  • At 1/22/2007 09:45:00 PM, Blogger Amy

    I seem to have published before finishing my sentence. I should have written, "I sense that I'm beginning to be labeled as having an "issue", but am tryign to figure out whether it's really just my issue or that of the church's."

  • At 1/22/2007 09:55:00 PM, Blogger Cary

    Julie, I totally understand you being fed up over the whole SWBT thing. (Although, what exactly did you expect from the SBC?) But I was a little confused by your remark about being upset by the comments on Scot's blog. It looked to me like there were only a couple of people who agreed with SWBT's decision (one of which was specifically called out by Scot near the end of the comments). I was actually encouraged that the vast majority of the commenters seemed to be in support of the professor who was unjustly yanked from her position on the grounds of "lack of penis." :-)

  • At 1/23/2007 12:26:00 AM, Anonymous Barb

    Hi. We just heard a great sermon message on Women in Leadership, not just women in ministry. Our not so senior, senior pastor is 29 yrs. He shared how he changed on this issue in his journey with Christ. He did his homework. A well stated message.

    Have a listen: parksidechurch.ca
    Go to downloads: Jan. 14/07


  • At 1/23/2007 04:33:00 AM, Blogger Miz Melly

    I read a brilliant book called Why Not Women? by Loren Cunningham and it was terrific. It answered lots of questions for me and dealt with all those difficult passages and came out championing women in leadership. I was living in London at the time and arguing with friends who were being asked to 'obey' their husbands in the marriage service. I even went so far as to write to an emminent vicar asking why he encouraged the use of the word when it's not in bible passages. He replied that it was in the common book of prayer used by the Church of England, so Nyah. (Well obviously he didn't stick his tongue out at me but that's what it felt like when I read his letter!) I was really challenging the subtle wall holding women back in some Anglican churches (despite the bar on female ordination being lifted) and was discussing this with a couple over dinner. I was saying that it was sometimes hard being the one shouting the loudest all the time. And the woman in the couple said "Well maybe you should just stop then. Stop making such a big deal o f it." I think I saw stars I was so cross but my husband (fairly new husband at the time and still coming to grips with my fireyness!) championed me and said that he thought I was right to stand up against oppression, wasn't that what God called us to?, and that they should be supporting me. (And my stars went into soft focus and violins came out playing from nowhere)
    I am in Ireland now and in a Methodist church and training to be a lay preacher with about six other women and it's such a relief!!
    I really believe that the pushing of women to the sidelines in the church is not from God and if it's not from God then who's it from....

  • At 1/23/2007 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Miz Melly, I like the way you write and the things you have to say :)

  • At 1/23/2007 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous sonja

    Oh my dears ... I could just write books on this. I've actually been told (to my face) that as a woman I am not allowed to teach men. My response was to ask when I would be allowed to ride at the front of the bus.

    I was furious. I still am. I don't like highjacking a conversation by saying God told me to teach ... but He did. That is my calling. It is my passion. Just who are these tiny little men to stand in the way of that? And tell me I am less than them? What. Ever.

    I am still trying to figure out what to do with the hurt, pain and anger ... how to channel it for good. How to take what was meant for harm and use it for good.

  • At 1/23/2007 02:21:00 PM, Blogger lydia

    I thought you'd like this quote, Julie:

    "Women getting angry for a sensible reason seems extraordinarily threatening to people. You don't get angry if you're a doormat. You get angry because you have a clear picture of yourself, and know that somebody isn't taking you seriously. You know when somebody else can’t see that picture of you clearly. Anger can be perfectly reasonable if somebody does something to you and does it deliberately---not accidentally, unless they're recklessly careless-----and then tries to weasel out of it.

    When a man gets angry, he's righteous and a stand-up guy. When a woman does, she's a shrew and a fishwife. She's shrill. She's out of control. She’s hormonal. The only exception is when she's a nice traditional woman doing something nice and traditional, like defending the children."

    Source: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/GetAngry.shtml

  • At 1/23/2007 07:30:00 PM, Blogger wit4life

    If more men and women read Dr Sarah Sumner's book "Men and Women in the Church" and realized what a Biblical view of women really was, the discord, prjudice, and un-Jesus-like behavior would start to change. Anybody here read this book?

    We should send one to Scott. with hearts and xoxox

  • At 1/23/2007 07:56:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Anyone interested in reviewing some of the books mentioned in this post? Sounds like there alot of good ones out there, and some synoposis and reviews would be great!

  • At 1/24/2007 03:41:00 AM, Anonymous sonja

    I'd be happy to write a review of these and several other books on the subject. I've read (conservatively) 10 books on women and men and church/ministry in the last 5 years.

  • At 1/24/2007 07:40:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Monroe

    Thanks sonja!

  • At 1/24/2007 11:28:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Lydia - thanks for sharing that quote.

    I've heard a lot about Sarah Sumners' book (actually Scot McKnight had a series of posts on it), I just need to get around to reading it!


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