Monday, December 10, 2007

Was it God's Plan for the Church to Repress Women?

I thought you'd enjoy another question from the conversation I had with Susy Flory about my book, Ruby Slippers. This one covers a controversial question, "Is Christianity really good news for women?" Read her entire interview here.

Susy Flory's Q: Many of the women who are embracing goddess spirituality point to the church’s ill treatment and repression of women. Was this part of God’s plan? Where did we get off track?

Jonalyn's Answer. God never intended his people to abuse one another. I imagine his pain when he watched the Jewish people suffering during the Holocaust or the unnecessary pain women were forced to endure labor as anesthesia was withheld from them during birth to “enforce” the curse. God hates abuse. But we cannot judge a thing by its abuse, especially the church.

Part of the reason I’m so impressed with Christianity is due to the way its founder, Jesus, treats women. Put Christ up against any other major religion’s founder, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, T.C. Russell or Siddhartha Buddha and you find his dignity for a woman body and soul to surpass all of the others in life and teachings. Most religions either magnify the male over the female or the female over the male, or they emphasize body over the soul or the soul over the body. I find refreshment in the Creation Story of the Bible because God created men and women to both need one another in body and soul. It affirms my intuitions, my reason and my experience.

The reason the church and any of these groups “got off track” is due to either exaggerating differences between the sexes to the point of devaluing the gender (usually women) who were different, or flattening the differences so that we don’t need each other. We will not value someone unless we recognize we need them. Valuing a different ethnicity or gender is just political genuflecting unless we realize we are deficient in something this group offers. If we really believed women, for instance, would bring necessary insights to preaching or decision making we would not have to make laws forcing companies or churches to hire them. We would promote them out of sheer concern to “get the bigger picture” and to understand reality more fully.

1 comment:

Grace said...

"If we really believed women, for instance, would bring necessary insights to preaching or decision making we would not have to make laws forcing companies or churches to hire them."
I love this statement. as i read more and more in this topic i find that this statement makes it all come into picture. the continued tradition of the early church fathers has given us this idea that women are not capable of bringing insight into the church unless they are "extremely gifted women." i love the way Sarah Sumner addresses this topic in the chapter, Is it Better to be a Man or a Woman, in her book Men and Women in the church... she really draws out the church fathers and shows how they have impacted our belief now that women do not have any importance in the church and therefore have repressed females. i believe it goes back to the carrying out of traditions and the neglect of correct study of the scripture.
i just wrote a paper on women in the second great awakening and kind of hit on this topic throughout it, i would have loved to have written the entire paper on it, but the professor rewrote my thesis...