Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Women And The Church And Everywhere Else

First, Happy Thanksgiving week everyone!

MaxedOutMama, a favorite blogger of mine not only for her economic insights which are excellent and often prophetic but also for her social commentary, wrote a humdinger of a post that you should all know about and read. She discusses a woman's role in the church. Has the church become feminized and will women behind the pulpit kill the church?

This year in England, more women graduated from seminary than men. The trend is even more significant in some U.S. schools. What will be the likely effect? There is no question in my mind that society has steadily been neutered and I've written on this in the past:

I think the modern feminist movement has pushed a neuterization of our culture.

The essence of femaleness, the essence of masculinity is being pressed through an androgynous mould where we end up with wussified metrosexuals (all grooming and sexual grazing) and butch babes (all power grabs and gonads).

The emphasis both ways is self and self-gratification, either through money accumulation and/or sexual conquest. Is this the ideal those bent on gender-equity have fought for, lo, all these years? That men and women are essentially flawed and must "evolve" into one genderless, narcisstic being?

I'm not sure this "neuterization" was the goal, but that is where we are in America now. The result has been confused, used, materialistically wealthy and spiritually empty people seeking meaning everywhere but where it can be found: through faith, family and fidelity.
My concern about a woman having authority in a church is this: It will do no good for the future of the world, if women win in the church but souls are lost for Christ.

So, some people relate the decline of the church with feminism. Does a woman giving a sermon drive men away from church? One male commentator hypothesized that a woman's sermons tend to focus on relationship and soft teachings rather than tough doctrinal stances that might make parishioners uncomfortable. In essence, a woman's desire to avoid conflict makes a sissified church. Says one commenter:
Sissy theology seems to have come hand in hand with women taking over the clergy. One cannot fight nature; we are part of it and subject to it. So I would say, based on history, there are certainly women who are likely to be very good at a macroscopic pastoral duty, but likely so few as to be the exception.
This assumption implies that men are talking tough behind the pulpit. But the rise of popular televangelists like Joel Osteen give evidence otherwise. His church is full of men and women because he speaks a softer gospel message not in spite of it.

I also wonder if it is just that women haven't had as much access to the pulpit and in those positions. I know something that drives accomplished women from church: being consigned to kitchen duty when they sit on the board room during the week. For women who believe a more traditional, conservative theology, the church can seem downright oppressive and a throw-back to a bad time.

Maybe it's just the softer doctrine spoken by everyone that is killing the church. It is distressingly apparent how theologically ignorant many preachers now seem. There is only one preacher I know who can, without thought, put his finger on nearly any verse to support a doctrinal position. He is an ex-Rabbi and is thoroughly trained in theology, exegesis, hermeneutics and ethics. I might disagree with his conclusions, but he always has something concrete to back them up.

So, I'm putting this topic out there. If women in the church ruin it as this commenter notes:
Can a Christian denomination survive women’s ordination? It would be incumbent on the innovationists to prove that. Evidence for: The Assembly of God church. Evidence against: Sweden. My inclination is that the Anglican church will go the way of the Lutheran church in Sweden where 1/2% of Swedes attend church on a given Sunday (most of those being immigrants). Liberal feminized theology has effectively killed Christianity in that country.
Does feminism spell disaster for the business world and society itself?


Anonymous said...

Yes, I read her post... as well as your and the other comments. Her post is thought provoking and brings up questions that I've pondered for many years.

The scriptures speak of great women leaders...but I am mindful that the "church" is only one of the vehicles to true spirituality. I feel the church as a whole is in need of strong leadership...be it men or women speaking "truth." It is simply lacking and very often it is difficult to take pastors and ministers very serious anymore as they are caught up in programs, political correctness, as well as an obvious lack of fasting and prayer. (Most of them are heavily overweight.)

It will be interesting to see as time goes on how the church will rise to the occasion of the "Jihad -Holy War" that has been declared. We need strong leadership and people will follow true leadership...be it a man or a woman as long as they don't couard under the pressure. That is, however, only my point of view.

Anonymous said...

I think the modern feminist movement has pushed a neuterization of our culture.

And Islam is waiting in the wings to offer Remasculinization. (Actually Hyper-masculinization.) This has already happened in much of the American black community; the women are overwhelmingly Christian, the men overwhelmingly Muslim.

Check out www.churchformen.com sometime.

This assumption implies that men are talking tough behind the pulpit. But the rise of popular televangelists like Joel Osteen give evidence otherwise. His church is full of men and women because he speaks a softer gospel message not in spite of it.

Internet Monk took apart Osteen last month; check out his October 14-16 postings and podcasts. One of the things that came out in the comment threads was that Osteen appeals to women because (1) he's not threatening (one of the girls) and (2) "He's soooooo CUTE!"

MaxedOutMama said...

Dr M, I just don't feel that feminism is the threat here. Nutty feminism, sure, but any type of nuttiness is pure death in religion.

I keep thinking about this and cannot resolve it for myself. Actively engaged woman are not the threat. Your neuterization hypothesis might be the best answer.

Religion is unlike business because religion has to address fundamental truths about life and ethics.

Could it be possible that women are naturally better at religion, and therefore it's necessary to get men speaking and talking about it to get the message across to other men?

Our styles can be very different!

sandy said...

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