Monday, 24 April 2017

#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenSay?

I don't know about you, but my newsfeed has been full of talk about the conversation started by Sarah Bessey recently. Using the hashtag #thingsonlychristianwomenhear, women are speaking out about the crap they have had to endure in the name of religion.


But I wonder if perhaps we need a 'sister' hashtag - #thingsonlychristianwomensay

Because at the weekend, I was introduced to a blog written by a christian woman which is chock full of #thingsonlychristianwomenhear

This woman has no hesitation in denouncing her sisters as "false teachers" based on the belief that her own interpretation of the bible is the only correct one.
"The Bible tells us that women are not to preach to, teach the Bible to, or exercise authority over men in the gathered body of believers. Not in the four walls of a church, not on a simulcast, not at a Christian conference. Period."
And is happy to shut down any conversation to the contrary:
"While I understand how disconcerting it can be to see a warning against a celebrity Bible teacher you happen to love, please don’t waste your time commenting (it won’t be published), messaging, or e-mailing me to lambaste me for doing so. Your objection is not unique, clever, or biblical..."
She has no problem in insisting that her view of scripture is simply basic training for all "real" christians.

And apparently she doesn't recognise how Pharisaical it is to deny others a liberty:
"Your comment will not be published or responded to if:
It... questions my salvation or the salvation of others who share the beliefs I’ve outlined above." 
which you have no hesitation in indulging yourself:


The incredible arrogance of such a position is staggering, and I find the sickly sweet wrapping of "christian" solicitude nauseating. So naturally enough, it got me indulging in my favourite sin of thinking.

And while I am not wanting to single out or attack this woman as such, I do question the acceptability of her behaviour, and it does raise the question in my mind, "Is her behaviour actually the fruit of her theology?"

Because I wonder what it does to your sense of self to have spent your entire life buying into a theology which says that men are created as leaders and women were created to serve them. And if you have had no choice but to submit to someone simply because they are male - to suppress so much of who you are in order to prove your godliness and your worth to God - how does that affect your beliefs about your (male) god?

And let's take it a step further. If your unquestioning compliance is taken as a given from those you are told God has put in authority over you, how does that affect the way you "lead" in your area of authority?

Does a woman who has bought into this theology - who has convinced herself that this is the only right and godly way for a woman to be - simply pass on the favour to those below her in the pecking order? Knowing only an authoritarian style of leadership herself, does she simply demand that those she is "allowed" to teach (i.e. other women, and children) be every bit as submissive and unquestioning as she is to those above her?

Does this theology in fact breed arrogance and hypocrisy? Does it have no other response to questioning, than silence and shaming? Does it only stand up by denying any other voice but its own? Because from where I'm standing, it looks remarkably like it does.

13 comments:

  1. I generally keep my mouth shut on these types of conversations these days because to my ears it comes off as "who gets to be in charge in this sick oppressive organization" which anymore seems like a silly question to be entertaining.

    That being said, a lot that I saw come out of that hashtag was just wretched. Fruit of that rotten tree.

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    1. I was talking to my husband about that hashtag and I said the same thing! I'm like "who cares if it's a woman or a man leading it--it's all corrupt garbage!" And it all does feel like a huge power trip. The pastor title is one that will corrupt the best of people, IMO. I do agree that so much has been said to women. My last church alone, I could have written a book. I still get pretty mad when I hear anything remotely like it again, such as "you should submit to your husband" or "God wants to you to submit to your pastor". I can't take it. It trigges me. But I've felt so much better now that we've been gone 1.5 years. I still am undoing so much of that damage. It really screwed up my self-confidence and made me a weak woman being in the church. Now that I'm gone, I'm finding ways to speak up and be confident in my everyday life. the church does a good job of promoting fear and shame. I'm glad to be out of it.

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    2. It's rotten through and through Dallas :(

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    3. Yes! For me at least, it's not about whether women can be "leaders". Personally, I've been there, done that, and got the scars to prove it. But having found my way to health and wholeness, and seen the system for what it is, I will continue to speak out against a "theology" that regards any human being as somehow "less-than" in the eyes of some religious people. No-one should have to pretend and perform to be approved by them.

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  2. Oh my gosh, i know exactly who that is! Ha ha! Oddly enough, my last church was full of people just like her. I remember sitting in a bible study and listening to one lady say how awful it was that she saw women on facebook saying spanking is wrong. I knew she was talking about me because I'm against spanking and I've been very verbal about how awful it is. Anyway she said "Are you going to go against scripture and disobey God's word?" It's crazy to me how confident these people are in their interpretations. It's like they can't for a second consider the fact that they may be wrong! I'm so glad I'm out of that atmosphere. It created in me a sense of paranoia and fear that I have been able to become free of. Another post I read this weekend was by this guy and he had written a post about how he left the church. Apparently people had come out of the woodwork to tell him he was wrong. He wrote a follow up post and said he understood why people had felt insulted because they love their church so much, however, he had outgrown the church. That really spoke to me because I realize how far I've come since leaving. The church creates a false sense of hope in yourself and in the church itself and therefore, you become quite rule oriented. It's all about those rules and traditions. So it makes sense why this woman can't let anyone argue against her. She didn't publish my last comment so whatever. She has to answer to God someday for how she acted in this life and I'd hate to be her.

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    1. Elle, it is that blind refusal to even entertain the possibility that there might be another way of seeing things that absolutely floors me. "I am right. Period."

      Which of course means that if you don't agree you're just plain wrong. And you are arguing against scripture. And you are probably not a real christian, anyway!

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    2. I posted my own blog about this and said similar things: https://byebyechurch.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/churchianity-the-god-of-fear/

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    3. Great post, Elle! Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. appreciated everyone's thoughts..

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  4. The truth of the matter is that as followers of Christ all of us, men and women alike, are equally functioning parts of the body. We all submit to Jesus who is the head. No need for anyone to submit to a human being.

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