Reluctant Xtian: The Church of the Perpetual Misogyny

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mysogynyThe California Shoot has exposed misogyny in Hollywood, but the Church has been practicing misogyny for centuries.

By Timothy Brown

(This is an abridged post originally appearing on ReluctantXtian. For the full post, click here.)

This shooting in California has my heart breaking.

The fallout has sparked intense conversation and it’s heartbreaking to see the comments coming from the dusty corners of society where misogyny still lives and breathes.

Don’t get me wrong, misogyny lives everywhere in our society.  But it does have a hard time breathing in some places, and for that I thank God.

Unfortunately one place it doesn’t have a hard time breathing is in the church.

I’m going to point to churches who still refuse to ordain women despite the fact that while Paul (inconsistently) makes misogynist comments Jesus (consistently) treated women as part of his inner circle and entrusted them with the news of the resurrection first

Explain that rationale for me, please?  The men were all too chicken in their hiding places and when the women told them about the resurrection, they didn’t trust their testimony (after all, in a court of law, women couldn’t be trusted, so why would God entrust this good news to them?)  And we look at this and wink and laugh as if it’s some sort of Laurel and Hardy episode where the one who was supposed to “get it” doesn’t.

But I don’t think that’s it at all.  I think the women were supposed to get it.

I’m going to point to churches who still refuse to let women vote, as if somehow their opinions are less important than the opinions of human beings with a Y chromosome.

I’m going to point to churches who still refuse to acknowledge the presence of feminine examples for God in the scripture, yet who claim to take the Bible literally.  If God is male, then God is also a hen. And, for that matter, a rock.

I’m going to point to churches who allow women preachers but who won’t allow women preachers to lead churches by themselves.  Or who allow women preachers but won’t allow them to preach primarily to men.  Or who allow them to preach as long as they tell their fellow sisters to “submit” to their male partners.

But it doesn’t end there. Just because mainline Protestantism ordains women that they’re free of blame?  I know more female pastors across all the mainline Protestant denominations without churches then I do male pastors without churches.  I know of situations where churches have rejected every female candidate received in the hopes that they would receive a male candidate eventually.  I know of churches who still feel as if their pastor is inferior or that they “weren’t good enough” for a male pastor, just because their pastor is a female.

The church should be the place where misogyny comes to die, not where it comes to life.

And while this individual who murdered these innocent people may or may not have been religious, it doesn’t really matter.  If religion isn’t able to critique culture, to model for the wider culture a way of living that embraces the life of Jesus rather than the hate of any “ism,” we’re useless.  We can say that it’s sad that this man was violent, but on Sunday mornings many churches preach a violent, male god.  We can say that this man shouldn’t have thought of women that way, but until we acknowledge that we at least had a hand in that education we’re speaking out of both sides of our mouths.

If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves; the truth is not in us.

Rev. Timothy Brown is the pastor at Luther Memorial Church of Chicago in the Lincoln Square neighborhood. He blogs regularly at

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Justin Shimko

Justin Shimko is an award-winning writer and political analyst. He began as a reporter in his college days at the University of Oklahoma, writing for The Oklahoma Daily (rated as one of the best collegiate newspapers in the nation) and The Oklahoman, the statewide newspaper, winning awards from the CSPA and the Society of Professional Journalists. He later moved on to research and writing work for a number of political campaigns. His email is [email protected]

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