Monday, January 14, 2019

"The Church Must Listen to Women" by Stephen Mattson, Sojourners, highly recommended

American Christianity has been a horrible place for women. It ignores them, abuses them, assaults them, objectifies them, oppresses them, and then attempts to theologically rationalize it all as being “Biblical” and “holy.”
Regarding the most important issues related to family, education, careers, healthcare, finances, politics, safety, and even spirituality, Christianity has continuously prioritized men at the expense of women. To question this status quo is to be branded a “troublemaker,” “heretic,” and other terms too demeaning to even utter. This toxic religiosity, often branded as “Christianity,” has socialized its adherents to dehumanize women related to every aspect of our society.
Christianity has a history of manipulating the Bible to reinforce patriarchy, in which men are seen as spiritual leaders and women are to submit to their authority. This has resulted in the smothering of women’s gifts of pastoral leadership and ministry. Women are intentionally excluded from roles of authority, and their truth, wisdom, and experiences have been unfairly dismissed.
Christendom is still predominantly built on male-dominated authority structures. Only 9 percent of Protestant American pastors are women. The overall ratio of women spiritual leaders is probably far less when you consider that the Roman Catholic Church has yet to officially ordain women. None of this takes into consideration the countless “pastors’ wives” who work (often in addition to their paid profession) in ministry roles yet receive little to no compensation.
Women make up about 50 percent of all medical school graduates, 60 percent of all accountants, and 67 percent of all psychologists. Yet a significant portion of Christian churches and denominations still forbid them from becoming pastors and ordained ministers, banning them from various positions of leadership.
Furthermore, Christendom has remained regrettably silent in the face of the epidemic of harassment, abuse, and violence against women. One in three women has been a victim of domestic violence. One in six women will, sometime during her life, be the victim of rape or attempted rape. More than half of all women have been sexually harassed at their workplace, and a staggering 87 percent of women between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five say they’ve experienced some form of harassment.

Christian leaders, on the whole, have failed to address the abuse and assault experienced by more than half of all Christian believers. When was the last time your congregation dedicated a sermon or service to sexual harassment, assault, and abuse? If you are fortunate enough to have experienced such a service, you’re the exception to the rule. Despite attending all sorts of churches within a variety of denominations and despite sitting through countless sermons, I have not once heard violence against women addressed in any significant capacity. I’ve heard homilies on the Leviathan, the Nephilim, and the dimensions of Noah’s ark. I have not heard a single sermon confronting a problem that affects nearly every woman in every congregation, and around the world.
Instead of taking a proactive approach against sexual assault, harassment, and abuse, Christianity has been complicit in its spread. Rachael Denhollander, the first women to accuse USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse, had this to say about churches...



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