[=Context: Part 3 of Anne Kennedy's rant against Jory Micah=]
So, yesterday I chattered away about all the annoying possibilities for women in the church–the Duggar Option, the Ray Romano Option, the Giving Up Option, the Backing Furtively Away Option. I started with three but it looks like it morphed into four. We needn’t worry too much about how many there are and what to call them. The fact is, since that long lost edenic landscape, men and women have never been able to comfortably sort themselves out. Some millennia or other we’re going to notice this and lower our expectations.
I am going to get to the other annoying option for women in the church–showing her her place–but before I do that I want to talk about Tone, which means the other one will have to wait.
In the Land of the Internet–that great vast playground of everybody saying and being whoever they want to be–it’s very natural that we would want to bubble wrap ourselves in protective layers no matter what the conversation is. As human discourse has become technically easier, it seems to have become exponentially more tetchy. Anyone can talk, therefore we are all much quicker to have our feelings hurt.
This being so, I have some friendly counsel. I think if women want to be taken seriously in whatever sphere they hope to inhabit, it would be helpful for them to set aside many of their trigger warnings.
For example, one of the jarring thing about reading so much Jory Micah in one day is the vague feeling that she has Definitely Overcome. She has been victimized by the church and everyone, but she has gloriously overcome all the hideous persecution to forge a better and more enlightened way for herself, a way that actually fractures the body of Christ because she’s going off to start a new one. But me noticing this in the public writing that she is publicly doing, will doubtless bring cries of ‘don’t be so mean!’ Which shuts down the conversation. Either you can say something publicly, and have people respond to it publicly, or you can go hide in your cupboard. But we like to have it both ways.
As we are increasingly offended and hurt, the church becomes an impossible place to actually sort things out. What set of men will want, reasonably, to talk to women about anything, let alone what women can do, if the women are poised and ready to cry Foul at every turn? Men, for all they are so evil, are not usually spoiling for a fight. They want the women to be happy so that they will leave them alone sometimes. I jest…sort of.
What I’m trying to say is, the victimization tone needs to go away. There are some true victims in the world–lots of them actually, more of them women and children–but being in a church that doesn’t think you should, because of the Bible, preach the sermon, does not make you into an oppressed woman. And when you insist that it does, it actually only serves to close off other avenues where you might be useful in the kingdom of God.
If women want to be taken seriously in any sphere by men, I think it would be awfully helpful if they set the tone of the conversation in a more Gospel centered posture–with wisdom, grace, humility. I actually think this is already how things are trending. But the specter of hurt feelings mingled with the muddy heritage of feminism is always hovering.
Likewise, for the men, not assuming that every woman who isn’t squatting over her cooking pot adjusting her veil is the same as Jory Micah would go along way towards calming troubled water.
Someone has to be willing to leap in and talk through what might be seriously uncomfortable issues. Do we want to return to a golden, if not actually real, past? Where women stayed at home and men earned the check and little Beaver Cleaver pulled up to the dinner table in his collared shirt and his cheerful attitude? Where June was so taken with Ward and he was so clever and her pearls were so perfect? (Actually, I would not have minded this. Especially the air brushing.) Or shall we go back further still to the yet more glorious past where the man was probably cobbling the shoes in the front room and the woman was cobbling the meat pie in the back and when they went to church they knew it had been great when that nice bell rang?
Or, maybe we could start from where we are, with women and men both in the work force, women in even greater numbers in university programs, and children expected to all be geniuses by age three. None of these various ways of being are perfect. But we have to account for where we are, and we need to let go of the foolish ideals of utopia. And we need to center our gaze back on the scriptures. And if we want to really go forward we need to stop getting our feelings hurt every few seconds. I say we but I am obviously just talking about you. (JOKE)
Anne Kennedy, Patheos 3 Comments
[4/22/2017 12:05:35 PM]
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Submitted By: Christopher