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AnnieG

Women And Christianity

9 posts in this topic

Recently a proposal to permit women to become bishops in England's Anglican church narrowly failed to gain the 2/3 majority required to pass it (it was passed by clergy, but not by lay people eligible to vote.)

 

I'm hoping women members in particular will respond to this thread. How does the historical (and in places, current) treatment of women in the church affect you? Is it more difficult for females to identify as 'Christian'? Can you recommend any books / resources on these themes?

 

 

I know Jesus had and has dedicated women followers, and it's a sad irony his message has been distorted and used in the preservation of power. I just feel that as a woman I am also in need of female role models; if I was male it could be just that much easier to call myself /think of myself as 'Christian'.

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Hi Annie,

 

Maybe someone else can respond about church policy, as an “unchurched” person it doesn’t affect me, though I certainly feel the same way about the distortion of the original radical, egalitarian Christianity. As feminist theologian Mary Daly said, patriarchy is the religion of the entire planet.

 

To me, it’s understood that most if not all PC’s think of God as both male and female, but it’s helpful when people say She and Her for God every once in a while.

 

There are so many books on this, can’t really recommend one in particular—I’ve enjoyed anthologies of women in the bible, and writings of women through history, and once took a course on Mary Magdalene. Without her, Christianity might never have been founded. God’s feminine side is there in the very beginning, saying We will make human beings in our image; and there are passages praising Wisdom as female co-creator in the later and apocryphal books of the OT. Some PC theologians write about Jesus as the embodiment of Sophia – maternal compassion and inclusiveness. If anyone in history stood up for women, Jesus surely did. Paul’s authentic words honor a number of women as church leaders, and he often addresses his audience as "brothers and sisters."

 

I’d suggest exploring for the voice that speaks to you, or look at articles---there are many at religion-on-line.org.

Rosemary Ruether gives a brief summary of the Wisdom tradition here

 

http://www.renewedpr....cfm?Web_ID=765

Edited by rivanna
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I can really only speak on this topic from two different places, at least with respect to the question asked.

 

In the United Church of Canada, women are treated as equals to men. Bear in mind that I have attended the same church, so this is based on that church. Women sit on boards, even chair them, with no issues of any kind. Our current minister is a woman, as well! (And she rocks!) In this environment, I have no trouble identifying as a "Christian" because I feel like I'm on equal footing with my male counterparts. When this minister arrived, we did lose a few people (very few, actually) but we gained a few more. Breaking even, I guess.

 

While at uni, I was living in the Bible belt of my province. There were not many churches to attend that weren't at least slightly fundamentalist, evangelical, reformed, or "Bible-based." I tried out a few, optimistically. What I found varied from church to church; some churches had women involved in the running of things, but mostly "women's groups" - lay ministry was virtually always male. The themes in sermons, also, did touch from time to time on men's roles and women's roles. (Women's roles being more submissive.) I also, as a teenager, attended an evangelical service while visiting family. Their Sunday School lesson that day was all about saving virginity for marriage, otherwise we would "lose our light." It was confusing.

 

I think the more liberal churches are accepting of women as equal - beyond nursery and Sunday School, beyond hostessing refreshments. The more old-school churches seem very hesitant to do this. As a woman, I doubt very much that I would ever feel comfortable in a more conservative setting. The men seem to do quite well there, but the women not so much.

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What value do we have, in a contemporary society, in denying the potential of women in their contribution to progress? What society, in the world we now know, can afford to relegate women to a second class status? Evolution tells us of a world we once knew, and that is not the world we seek?

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What value do we have, in a contemporary society, in denying the potential of women in their contribution to progress? What society, in the world we now know, can afford to relegate women to a second class status? Evolution tells us of a world we once knew, and that is not the world we seek?

 

The value in relegating women lies in the value of keeping men superior. Not to push the gender button, but you have to ask, "Who is being served by this?" Keeping women submissive allows men to keep the power and control. Women don't do so well under such a system, but the men certainly clean up. Conventional, old-school religion (not just Christianity) is often patriarchal. It's not coincidence that the Bible, written and "enforced" by men, features a male God.

 

Considering that, stereotyically, women seem to be strong in areas of kinkeeping, emotional support, and the other "soft skill" areas, faith seems like an area where a lot of women would do very well. However, TPTB do not like change, nor do they like giving up their own strength.

 

I always feel bad for women who are brainwashed by these misogynistic cults - told from day one they are second best, second-class, second everything. No dreams or goals of their own, no place but a few steps behind their men. Totally an untapped resource.

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I was once told that women were like the moon, and men were like the earth. God was like the Sun - so earth(man) revolves around the sun primarily, and the moon(women) revolve around the earth primarily. It's thinking that sometimes I still fall back on - it's so very hard to break out of patriarchal mindsets. I'm currently trying to find out if it's still possible to be Christian and yet reject all that baggage. I think it is. I hope it is.

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Kay,

 

I am certain it is possible as many have found already. One of the most powerful Christian writings i have read on that reads....

 

"For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3,27-28 KJV)

 

Joseph

 

 

PS even other religious writings like the TAO infer...

(male and female) They are understood to simply be two sides of the same coin: one could not exist without the other, and it is their “dance” which gives birth to the Five Elements , which in their various combinations produce the Ten Thousand Things, i.e. everything arising within the fields of our perception.

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Yes, I quite like Taoist writings and see them as compatible with Christ as 'the Word'. The verse you quote from Galatians seems so obvious, but I've heard it argued away so many times. I think I shall come back to it and really dwell on what it means.

Edited by KayHarker
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I love the coin analogy, Joseph. It allows for differences but demonstrates that one is not superior to the other, in fact they are complimentary with one not existing without the other. That said I always back Heads when playing two-up :)

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