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Can of worms: gender roles and abuse

I might be opening a big can of worms here, but I can’t help myself.

I subscribe to Paul Wilkinson’s blog,  “Thinking Out Loud,” because I’m interested in how churches function and how they sometimes become dysfunctional.  Paul posts regularly and intelligently about theology, church, and worship, to name a few of his subjects.

Paul has written about a book by J. Lee Grady called “10 Lies Men Believe: The Truth About Women, Power, Sex, and God, and Why It Matters.”  Paul’s post analyzes the chapter that explores the tenth lie:  “#10: A Man Should Never Receive Spiritual Ministry from a Woman.”  Judging by Paul’s analysis, the book sounds great.

From there, I found J. Lee Grady’s Mordecai Project, “a ministry to empower women around the world.”  From the website:

“Lee is confronting all forms of abuse including domestic violence, female infanticide, denial of education to girls, forced prostitution and sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, mistreatment of widows and honor killings.  He also calls for the full participation of trained women in church leadership, and he challenges the global church to reject unbiblical religious traditions that encourage gender discrimination.”

I followed a link from the Mordecai Project to Christians for Biblical Equality, which led me to the CBE bookstore. One of its selections is Hillary McFarland’s Quivering Daughters, a book I read and loved.  Hillary wrote it for young women like herself who’ve been hurt (often unintentionally) by the patriarchal practices of the Quiverfull movement.

That brings us back around to garden-variety abuse, the subtle kind that might not look like much of a problem compared to domestic violence or sex trafficking or FGM.  But how is abuse of any kind related to a book about the role of women in the church?

Churches that treat women and girls like second-class citizens create a climate where abuse can flourish.  It’s that simple.

Even in its milder forms, abuse is abuse.  Kudos to everybody who’s doing something about it.

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