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"Your comment will not be published or responded to if: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.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Twisting Theology

In the last couple of days have been laid low by a nasty virus. Rather boringly, it is the second time this particular ‘friend’ has visited in the past few weeks, and I’m just a little bit over it!

But, given the fact that this past term has been quite stressful on a number of fronts, it’s hardly surprising that it has had a detrimental effect on my health.

The funny thing is that there are people from my religious past who would have no hesitation in claiming that my ill-health is proof of God’s displeasure for my heretical beliefs and my un-submissive ways.

I can almost hear it now:

“God will not be mocked.” “You reap what you sow.” “Obedience leads to blessing, but those who turn from God are cursed.” “You need to repent of your sin.”

I suspect you get the picture…

And yet, I always seemed to hear something quite different whenever sickness or misfortune marred their own lives. It was the enemy trying to stop them "advancing the kingdom". Or it was a particular person (usually one who they didn’t like) who was putting a curse on them.

Never did I hear, “It’s because we’ve sinned and we need to repent.”

Illness was God’s judgement when it afflicted “them”, but it was the enemy’s attack when it affected “us”.

How twisted our theology can get when we need it to prove our point – or even score points against our enemies. No wonder so many believers are walking away from this nonsense.