Announcement, Announcement, and a Question

First the fun part—at least for the winners. For those hoping to win and getting news that someone else will be enjoying what they wanted, it sounds too much like getting a rejection letter from a publisher. I so empathize!

But the reality is, I only had two books to give away. One I already announced in the comments section of Friday’s post. The winner of the question about Brandilyn Collins’s first publisher (Avon published her true crime, A Question of Innocence) is Serena Haneline. And for leaving a comment during the three-day tour … Todd Green. Congratulations to you both.

The next tour I’ll be participating in will be the CSFF blog tour for Kathryn Mackel and her latest release Trackers. And there just might be another book give-away connected to that one also.

Now for the questions. I had occasion to sit in on a discussion of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code by a panel of college professors. Interesting.

One of the issues mention though not explored in depth was his theme of feminism. Someone in the audience asked a question loaded with attack on the church for a misogynist attitude.

Misogynist?

As I recall, the question was specifically about evangelicals. I could be wrong. Since the only church I am familiar with from the “inside” is the evangelical church, I asked the question about what I know.

And here’s the thing, I attend a healthy, Biblical church. It is not my experience that women are in any way disrespected, looked down upon, considered second class, marginalized, or in any other way treated in an unBiblical manner.

At the same time, in one online community a number of people have commented that their churches are dominated by women. I am also aware of a number of churches that are ordaining women and hiring women as pastors. Women are the predominate readers of Christian fiction and if the numbers at writers’ conferences are an indication, women dominate the writing as well.

Far from a trend toward misogeny, I see a trend toward the feminization of the church. But then I had this thought—why do women who complain about male dominance within the church covet male roles?

The particular person who asked the question began a monologue after the session, all about her involvement around the world with all kinds of professions—doctors and lawyers and such—but when she makes herself available to serve in the church she is asked if she would like to be involved in women’s ministries or work with the children or what can she bring to the potluck.

I understand that not everyone is gifted for those areas, but the way this person talked, you’d have thought she was being asked to take the lowest of the low jobs.

So who is really devaluing women? I mean, God did make men and women different from one another—for a reason. I think some women abhor their role and look down on their place in the body of Christ far more than any men do. (Even saying women have “a place” is an irritant to some feminists). This from a Mary, not from a Martha.

Is there a closed door to the Marys in evangelical churches?

Which, by the way, brings up another irritation—the insinuation the questioner at the panel discussion made that the Catholic church has the right attitude toward women because of the way they revere Mary the mother of Jesus.

I don’t think making an idol of a woman puts things in balance. I don’t think focusing on one woman to the near exclusion of others—Deborah, Eve, Ruth, Esther, Mary Magdalene, Bathsheba (she’s in Christ’s lineage, as is Rahab), the woman at the well, Tabitha, Lois (Timothy’s grandmother), naming just a few—marks the Catholic church as having a more positive attitude toward women than evangelicals.

Am I missing something? Are things really off kilter in the evangelical branch of the church and I’m just unaware of it?

Published in: on October 2, 2006 at 12:15 pm  Comments (8)  

8 Comments

  1. Interesting to see this pop up. To see more discussions check out the following blog entry by Jana Riess (and follow the link in the comments to the entry).

    http://janariess.typepad.com/reviews/2006/09/a_kingly_dud_ki.html

    Interesting to see some say that women who don’t follow their viewpoint have just been brainwashed to the wrong way of thinking.

    I’m also a bit concerned how loosley the term misogynist can be tossed around. Just because a Church teaches that God created men and women for different roles means that they are teaching a doctrine of hating women?

    *shrug*

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  2. Well, Stuart, that article illustrates just what I’m talking about. Give one hint (and I guess the book she’s criticizing does more than hint) that men might actually have a role that is different from women and she makes all kinds of wild assumptions.

    I don’t know what this kind of feminist thinks of women like me. The lady I was talking with (or more actually, who was talking AT me) claimed she was not a feminist. LOL Thing is, she insulted the intelligence of every woman who is content to work with children, run women’s ministries, and bring dishes to potlucks. I’m sorry, but there are a lot of really smart women in those roles.

    I agree that misogeny, like homophobia against heterosexuals who believe the Bible teaches against homosexuality, has been misused as a cudgel against any man who thinks there are God-given differences in the male/female make up, not to mention those that still think Scripture speaks to a woman’s role in the church.

    But my question—is this thinking wide-spread?

    And is there a feminization of the church among evangelicals? (OK, you caught me—that was two questions. 😉 )

    Becky

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  3. Fascinating questions. Women were no better than dogs in Christ’s day and prior. Childbearing was their only value–they were shunned if unable to produce children. With Christ’s appearance, ministry, death and resurrection, women attained a spiritual equality and value with men that they had never experienced, even though the Father didn’t regard them as men did. However, their roles have always been different and will always be. You point out to a feminist that woman was created for man as a helpmate and because he was lonely and alone, horrific shrieks can be heard for miles.
    On the other hand, shrieking women can be a real deterrent to some men who would rather abandon or abdicate their place or position in the home, family, and church than listen to the loud protests of women who want to assert an authority they were not given. Women are respsonsible in our churches today for the seepage of any possible misogeny and feminization, and men are responsible for allowing it to happen. It is there, no doubt, though I think it’s an undercurrent in some denominations and more prominent in others which have watered down and melded the scriptures to walk in step with the world. (Genesis 3:16 says it all–the “desire” speaking of wanting his place of authority.)
    What those shrieking women fail to realize is that both positions are places of honor. What men fail to realize is that they are responsible for maintaining their God-given positions whether they want to or not, and so are women.

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  4. Excellent post, excellent discussion. 0=)

    Actually, for me it is a bit of a sticky spot. I am not a feminist (ask anyone who knows me, including a mutual friend of ours)…But, truth be told, I find most of the women’s activities boring. I think a men’s breakfast or a sports event is far more fun…or dessert theatre. I haven’t a clue what to do with anyone too young to backtalk…and I’m not exactly a gourmet chef. Give me a machete and a shovel any day.

    Now, your questions:

    But my question—is this thinking wide-spread?

    I think, overall, moreso in the non-Christian world than the Christian world. And I think that women brought up under healthy circumstances are less likely to feel “dominate,” for lack of better word (Sorry, guys, I really couldn’t think of a better one, and it’s not my word anyway). My sister and I, for instance, are highly independant, and not your typical American girls…but we both expect our guy friends to take the lead. On occasion we demand it.

    The thing is, yes, we can pretty well handle things ourselves. But neither of us is stupid, nor do we necessarily have to. Chivalry is quite fun when looked at this way. As a prof of mine said once, “The purpose of the wall around the garden depends on your perspective…you either see it as a prison or as protection.”

    And is there a feminization of the church among evangelicals?

    Yes, and it drives me over the cliffs of insanity.

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  5. Not usually a girly-girl myself, although I love high heels and cool clothes. The roles of Christian women have to come from the heart, not in activities or their God-given traits to be strong, independent, or even self-reliant. Same with men and the “gentler” sort who actually like to cook romantic dinners or whatever. God creates the characteristics, but He doesn’t change the positions He ordained. However a man and woman are obedient to God’s structure in their homes and churches–this will create a harmony (not always easy to arrive at and maintain, I know) that is blessed by God, achieving the peace that his principles fully applied produce.

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  6. Amen to all you wrote Becky. You present a balanced view about women as well as some thought provokers. Good job neighbor. (My, that’s sounds awfully British doesn’t it? Oh well, at least the Queen will be proud of me). Our Great King actually gives women the greatest honor of all. If some try to belittle the remarkable role of women or if they see the role of caring for children or cooking as a belittlement, then they have no idea what a child is in God’s eyes or what it means to be called to call for the King. If others, on the other hand, want to exalt women to a masculine role then they are not in fact exalted them at all, they are usurping and thus undermining their real value.

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  7. Becky,

    A few years ago I was rabid about men-women roles being Biblically defined i.e. men as elders, etc. I am past those days and do not have problems with women in positions of ecclesiastical leadership. Now, I am concerned with men and women who want to dominate. Domination is not a fruit of the Spirit. People who want to be offended can always find a reason. Most people do not mean to be offensive, a little tact and understanding can often diffuse the situation. So what I am saying is that people who think the church misogynistic can always find data to back up their belief. But Christ is still Lord.

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  8. Great discussion. Wonderful comments. As you can see, I turned my response into another post on the subject.

    I agree with remade—I find chilvary to be fun. I also agree with Nicole—that this dissatisfaction we see in women with accepting who we are is what God meant in Genesis 3:16.

    I also agree with Marvin—anyone wanting to be offended can find abuses within evangelical churches, now or in the past, and on both sides of the issue.

    The key is not looking at what the church has done or is doing but at what Scripture teaches. That is to be our model, the source to guide our beliefs. If others have misused Scripture, that does not invalidate it as the authority by which we must be informed.

    (Do all these discussions ultimately come down to our belief in the Bible?)

    Becky

    Becky

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