Why Would Any Woman Want to be an Evangelical Christian?

by Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Way Forward

Why would any woman want to be a Christian? If the Bible is the Word of God, inspired by God, and every word is true, why would any modern, thinking woman ever darken the door of an Evangelical church?

Over the past hundred years women have continued to gain rights and privileges kept from them by men, law, and social propriety. The right to vote. Equal pay for equal work. The right to use birth control. The right to have an abortion. The right to divorce.  While women do not yet have equal rights and privileges in this country, huge progress has been made to that end.

Why don’t women have true equal rights and privileges in America? Don’t deceive yourself into thinking they do. There are still places in our society where the signs say Men Only.

The primary reason women are denied basic civil rights and social privileges is the teachings of the Christian Bible. While we rightly criticize the patriarchy movement, the basic tenets of the movement were common practice a hundred years ago.

Christianity teaches that women are inferior to men. The Bible calls women a weaker vessel. The Bible teaches women are to be married, keepers of the home, bearers of children, and sex partners for their husband. (unless the husband goes Old Testament and has multiple wives and concubines). Quite simply, the Bible teaches that the world of women revolves around husband, food, children, and sex.

If the Bible is meant to be taken as written, women have no part in the governance of society or the church. Women are relegated to teaching children, and, as women age, they are given the task of teaching younger women how to be a good wife.

1 Timothy 5:14 says:

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

Titus 2:2-4 says:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

The Bible teaches women are to keep silent in the church:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 1 Timothy 2:11,12

The Bible regulates how women are to dress and wear their hair:

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. I Timothy 2:9,10

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.

For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 1 Corinthians 11:5,6

Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering. 1 Corinthians 11:13-15

The Bible teaches that women are to be in subjection to their husband:

For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 1 Peter 4:5,6

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Corinthians 11:3

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Ephesians 5:22-24

The Bible teaches that having a wife is a sure way to avoid fornication:

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 1 Corinthians 7:1-3

Women were created for men:

Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 1 Corinthians 11:9

And this is just the New Testament. The Old Testament portrays women as chattel, not much different from livestock. Women should be thrilled to have all the liberties the New Testament gives them. (this is sarcasm btw)

Liberal and progressive Christians try to make all these verses go away by saying they are no longer applicable or that they must be interpreted in their historical context. Fine, let’s do the same with Jesus. A case can be made for Jesus being no longer applicable and surely we must interpret the teachings of Christ in their historical context. Of course this would result in Jesus being more irrelevant than he already is.

Millions of women attend Christian churches that believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The church they attend proudly claims to be a bible-believing church. Some churches follow the above mentioned verses to the letter while other churches pretend the verses are not in the Bible.  The latter are bible-believers lite. If they taught these verses as written there would be empty houses and beds by nightfall.

Many Christian women, those not brainwashed by literalist pastors and husbands, ignore the verses I mentioned. They tend to love Jesus and say screw the rest. While this viewpoint is rationally inconsistent and contrary to the teachings of the Bible, I certainly understand women doing this.

Most Christian women are not into theology. Theology is what men do, they are told. Women are not educationally proficient enough to “do theology”. Best to let men do the hard thinking. Women embrace Christianity and continue in the church because of the social and family connection they have with others in the church. They are willing to put up with being considered second class citizens as long as they can maintain the social and family connections. I suspect this is due to the maternal instinct that most women have.

Some Christian women realize they have been taken captive by the Bible, a book that men use to dominate and control them.  Remember the “hell hath no fury” line that talks about a woman scorned?  Once women realize they can be free from the control and domination of men…watch out.

Many women, once free, leave Christianity altogether. Others make their peace with God and the church. If their marriage survives, they adopt an egalitarian way of life. Marriage becomes a joint, a shared relationship. Gone are the religious and social strictures meant to keep women in their place.

For those who have left Christianity, how did your marriage and your relationship with your husband change?

For those who are still in the Christian church, what changes have you made to your beliefs and practices to reflect your rejection of the Bible verses above?

Perhaps you still embrace the Evangelical/Fundamentalist teaching on women. Your comments are welcome too.

Comments open below

Read everything by Bruce Gerencser!

Spiritual Abuse Survivor Blogs Network member, Bruce Gerencser blogs at The Way Forward.

Bruce Gerencser spent 25 years pastoring Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Christian Union churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Bruce attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. He is a writer and operates The Way Forward blog. Bruce lives in NW Ohio with his wife of 35 years. They have 6 children, and nine grandchildren.

About Suzanne Calulu
  • pibaba

    the verses he quotes are the ones i continually come back to in my questionings of the church/Christianity.

    (btw, his further thoughts in the comments section on his blog are excellent!)

    The church tradition I grew up in was the Church of Christ (a branch of the restoration movement in the 1800s)— hence, a point of pride for years in our churches has been our adherence to ‘biblical literalness’ and the authority of the biblical text. My mother has rejected what she sees as the utter legalism of her parents (our church is right– hence,everyone else is wrong), yet still believes the Bible to be true, a guide for today, and a rock to come back to when questioning.

    And yet, when I bring up those verses regarding women (and how our church certainly doesn’t take ALL of those literally), she is very uncomfortable with the implications that divergence might have for the rest of the Bible’s message.

    All that to say, Bruce brings up great points about women/Biblical literalness and the slippery slope that can come after seeing its misogyny. Even though some of his wording felt a bit absolute, I do agree that many women don’t question/push back against the Bible’s teaching on women much (i often feel like i’m stirring up trouble when I do)—- and men don’t bring it up because, i mean, why would they? :D

    • Kristen Rosser

      There are actually lots of Christian men who do push back against the fundamentalist/traditionalist interpretations of the passages on women. Egalitarian Christianity is a widespread movement within both evangelical and more liberal branches of the faith.

      • pibaba

        i was referring more to the men/women in the faith communities i’ve been apart of.

        I agree that some men do push back…. to a point. as for how widespread it is (being what is taught/promoted) within the evangelical communities (not those defined by Reformed or Driscollian ideas or John Piper) , i don’t know. in my experience even in the more progressive evangelical church i’ve been apart of recently (and dated men who attend there)— they give lip service to egalitarianism, but complementarianism is still alive and well in the books they recommend, the Bible studies they conduct, and how annoy the men get with you when you step ‘out of line’ or push back vocally/bring up counterpoints.

        interestingly, some women at that church have said they don’t buy all of these verses– but they still attend, serve and lead these studies. So, there is a disconnect, in my experience.

        certainly, my experience is not indicative of all churches everywhere.

  • https://www.facebook.com/jean.hoehn/info?collection_token=1524166867%3A2327158227%3A35 Phatchick

    In my case, I had left fundyism long before I met my husband. I still believe in God and in Christ’s love (which was one of the reasons I left the Baptist church, where I saw very little love except to the few who were willing to follow the rules) and Jim was a good example of what I felt a christian should be, kind, honorable and understanding of everyone, not just a select few. His attitude was what convinced me to give the Lutheran church a fair chance. He passed away last year, and I still miss him but feel blessed to have had him in my life. His love and respect was what made the difference to me.

  • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

    Growing up Mormon, it’s kind of interesting. Those verses aren’t discussed-at all (except by some missionary, thinking he’s clever), and yet LDS pretty much lives by those tenents. Yes, women can speak in church, but mostly on subjects of family, tithing, and obedience. No, hair length isn’t regulated, but modesty is strictly adhered to. Men are the heads of the family, and women *should* be housewives.
    I left Christianity and Mormondom about 2 months ago. I was never that gung-ho about the church’s insane demand of patriarchy, so my marriage was egalitarian to start with. I have to say, though, since leaving, I feel a lot less guilt for wanting a career and not a bunch of kids.

  • Dana

    I used to believe that wives had to obey their husbands, until I became convinced that the New Testament really doesn’t teach that women ought to have any different status than men, and in fact teaches the opposite. There are plenty of passages to say why the Bible seems to be pushing for greater quality against the patriarchy of the culture, but there are three main ways to explain those awful passages that seem to go in the other direction:

    First, several passages tell women to submit and so on, but it’s advice given in particular to *believing* wives of *unbelieving* husbands, and it’s given for the purposes of converting their husbands and giving Christians a good name. Obviously, if you are in a patriarchal culture, if you convert to Christianity and then suddenly stop obeying your husband, that’s not going to make him like your religion very much, and it’s going to make people wary of Christianity. Instead, you should be an extra good wife *by your culture’s standards*, to give Christianity a good name. But this is advice for a very particular circumstance and set of reasons; fundamentalists quote it out of that context as general advice for what all women in all circumstances should do. The text makes it entirely clear it wasn’t intended that way.

    This is comparable to the way slavery is treated in the Bible. Paul tells slaves who are Christians to obey their masters and be good slaves. But it’s *also* clear, from Philemon, that Paul doesn’t actually believe in slavery. He tells the guy that he ought to free his slave, because they’re both Christians so how can it be compatible with Christian love to keep his brother a slave? So his advice to slaves to be obedient is no endorsement of slavery at all; it’s pragmatic advice about how they can help give Christianity a good name. He is decisively NOT claiming that this social structure is actually a good or right one.
    For the exact same reasons, he tells women who are living in a patriarchal culture (i.e. one in which they are something close to slaves) to be “good slaves” so they don’t give Christianity a bad name, but that is no endorsement of patriarchy, and it gives no excuse to Christian men who enslave and oppress their wives rather than embracing them as equals.

    Second, a few of the nastiest passages that look like they’re Paul bashing women appear to actually be something like quotations or examples of a kind of thinking, which are then followed by his refutation of what he just said. If you read some of the awful-sounding passages cited in this post in their context, you’ll realize that in context they make *no sense* until you hear them as a quote followed by a refutation. But fundamentalists don’t quote the refutation that comes after it.

    And third, the other really bad parts of the New Testament are in the “pastoral letters” (Timothy I and II and Titus) which just shouldn’t be in the canon. They claim to be written by Paul, but scholars now realize they couldn’t possibly have been written by Paul, and instead they were written in a later generation. We should just cut those books out of the Bible–they were only ever included because people thought Paul, an apostle, wrote them, and once we know that isn’t true, there’s no reason to think they should have the status of scripture.

    • Madame

      Great post, Dana.
      I think that whether we belive the pastoral books should be part of the canon or not, doesn’t really affect whether we should take everything in them as authoritative for us today.
      Jesus praised Mary for sitting and listening, and told Martha she was too busy with the wrong things, effectively inviting women to come listen to him. Jesus took time for women, like the famous woman at the well, and sent them off to deliver the good news. He didn’t silence them. Jesus praised a woman’s love for him and contrasted it to the cold reception the rich man had extended to him. Jesus lifted women and children. Why do fundamentalists silence and beat them?

      Jesus’ treatment of children, inviting them to him and saying that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them, stands in stark contrast to the way fundamentalists talk about children.

      All this to say, whatever Paul wrote to the churches should be studied in the light of what Jesus taught. Whatever other instruction we find in the Bible should be held up in the light of what Jesus taught. Did Jesus tell parents to beat their children? no. Did Jesus tell women to obey their husbands and shut up? No.

      That leaves me with a very thin Bible that I still find hard to read. I haven’t “come out on the other side yet”. I appreciate Christianity that sees the problems in the text and how it has been taught, and studies it further, trying to understand if it’s even intended for us. I struggle with just discarding it all.

      • Dana

        Good point.

        One of the most important lessons Jesus had to teach, that he emphasized over and over and over again, was that the religious laws were originally intended for the benefit of human beings, not as ends in themselves. If what you’re doing when you “follow the law” is unloving to human beings, you’re doing it wrong. What’s important is loving other people, and if the religious laws get in the way of that, screw ‘em.

        That’s now how I read the Bible. If it says to do something, that gives me a strong reason to think that’s what I ought to do–but I check that against love, and my own ability to judge how well it’s working out and what its effects on people are. There are “rules” given in both the Old and New Testaments, but they’re intended as guidelines. Nothing oher than “love God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself” are absolutes, and the Bible itself makes that clear. If my conscience is screaming that following this law is hurting people, Jesus’s command is for me to break it. The Bible *itself* tells us clearly that we’re not supposed to take the Bible’s own commands legalistically, or to follow them above the voice of our own conscience speaking in love. So people who are trying to do what the Bible says should listen to that!

        So I agree, even *if* there was real endorsement of inequality in the Bible (I honestly don’t see it in the New Testament), we are still as Christians obligated not to go along with it now that we know better. But we should still throw the Pastoral letters out. :P

        • Madame

          “Nothing oher than “love God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor
          as yourself” are absolutes, and the Bible itself makes that clear. If
          my conscience is screaming that following this law is hurting people,
          Jesus’s command is for me to break it”
          I agree.

  • Saraquill

    I clicked on this article looking for insight as to why some women find this line of thinking attractive. I’m disappointed that it’s not addressed.

    • alfaretta

      I think it was meant as a rhetorical question.

  • Theo Darling

    A couple quick points:

    I know that Bruce has had his own harrowing experiences within the Church, and that his intentions in this piece are good. Because it’s always good when men align themselves with feminist, pro-woman values. BUT at the same time, after identifying oneself as someone who cares about women’s rights, it’s a bit counterintuitive to proceed by telling women why it’s in their own best interest to (fill in the blank). Part of believing that women are fully capable, intelligent, separate human beings is recognizing that sometimes they will make decisions that you do not understand, because people aren’t clones and it is possible to come to different conclusions about the same thing. Men who tell women they’d be better off without religion are still adopting a stance of superior intellect and projecting the view that they know better for women than women do themselves. The only way this works is if you assume that women are not only unaware of what their religion teaches, but too culturally uneducated to realize the personal implications those doctrines may have. But women don’t just join religions willy-nilly because it looks like fun any more than men do; religion often occupies a large space in a person’s life, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone within the reaches of Christianity, believer or not, who has somehow missed the bullhorn broadcasting “the Bible’s” views on women, LGBT people, and so on. Women join and remain in religion either in spite of regressive teachings (meaning they’ve found other values present in the religion significant to outweigh the bad), or because they don’t object to them (and while internalized misogyny is upsetting and allows women to participate in and perpetuate their own oppression, it can hardly be attributed to a state of blissful unawareness). More blatantly offensive are the allusions to religious women’s “irrational” thought processes and so-called maternal instincts. These are not the words of a man convinced of gender equality. Unfortunately, women who do flee the sexism of the Church find themselves assaulted with the same sentiments by more “enlightened” men in the freethought community.

    Second, it strikes me as unfair in this instance to undermine even the commendable aspects of more progressive branches of Christianity. I say this as an ex-Christian; I am glad to be out of the Church and am on a road to becoming healthier and happier than Christianity would have ever allowed me to be. This is not to suggest that every progressive Christian can or should do what I did and abandon religion, but progressive Christianity was an important stepping stone for me, in that it provided safe(r) spaces to deconstruct what I’d grown up with and internalized (conservative evangelical doctrine based on fear and control). Bruce’s claim that “Liberal and progressive Christians try to make all these verses go away by saying they are no longer applicable or that they must be interpreted in their historical context” is more than a little disingenuous here. The push to take context into account is an important one and provides a much more nuanced and subjective look into what “the Bible” says–quotation marks because given the history of the text, it’s impossible to know how the original documents read and irresponsible to just give up on textual criticism and agree that, fuck it, the fundamentalists had it right all along. In addition, such a statement actually /contributes to/ the silencing of women in the Church and in theology by erasing the progressive theologies (feminist theology and liberation theology in particular) that are largely the work of women. Keep in mind that these are the /good/ theologies, the ones that speak to oppression and exploitation and under-representation. You cannot make the Church “better” by erasing the contributions of women, POC, and the queer community.

    • Kristen Rosser

      Yes! thank you for this.

  • Brennan

    I don’t know, Bruce, but it’s probably because white knight atheists don’t spend enough time mansplaining their religion to them.

    But, hey, what do I know? I’m “rationally inconsistent.” Must be all those “maternal instincts.”

  • Kristen Rosser

    Odd that you ask the readers’ opinions, when you already did your best to shoot mine down. Well, I’m a woman who is into theology, despite your apparent implication that if I truly wrapped my lady-brain around theology, I’d leave Christianity. Not so. I do believe both Jesus’ teachings and the “clobber verses” for women should be interpreted in light of their historical context– and that this doesn’t make Jesus irrelevant, but clarifies his teachings and makes him even more relevant to the modern world and my life. So why be so dismissive to the idea that there might be other ways to understand the Bible than the fundamentalist one?

    I’ll answer your question, Bruce, though you have been so dismissive to my mindset. I became an evangelical Christian because I encountered Christ and understood the encounter in evangelical terms, as a “born-again” experience. Evangelicalism is supposed to be about that encounter and about a personal walk with Christ, and it is Christ that women like me have been attracted to and Christ that keeps us. I am now a post-evangelical because I am dismayed that evangelicals have largely come to overshadow this fundamental encounter with Christ by focusing more on all kinds of tradition-based teachings that have little or nothing to do with Christianity as I believe Christ and the apostles actually taught it– things like gender roles and culture wars.

    It really makes me sad to see you blame all of women’s subjugation on the Bible, when women in Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim cultures have been just as much, if not more, subjugated. The primary reason women are denied civil rights is because men are in power and wish to hold onto that power. Religious texts become highly effective tools in that endeavor because they use God’s authority to keep the dominant group in power– but the same texts can often also be read in ways that liberate and empower the disenfranchised, and that certainly applies to the Bible and Christianity. Check out my posts on the NLQ’s FAQs page sometime and see how it is possible to carefully engage such texts as you have quoted above, and come to different conclusions.

    It bothers me, Bruce, that you think the reason I’m a post-evangelical Christian, the only reason I didn’t leave the faith entirely, because I apparently decided to leave theology to the men– that I just haven’t thought deeply enough or studied enough. Also that my maternal impulses make me care more about relationships than about the truth. Do you realize how sexist this is? You have left the patriarchy, but has it completely left you?

    This No-Longer-Quivering website isn’t supposed to be about dismissing other people’s journeys out of fundamentalism. I’m sad that you feel the need to dismiss the path I have taken.

    • Theo Darling

      I’m NOT a Christian, but holy hell, great comment. I’ve enjoyed Bruce’s work in the past but this post is too Tony Jones (a la the “Where are the women?” debacle–deliciously ironic in they argue opposite points) for me.

    • pibaba

      Your points are interesting, but I don’t think Bruce will see them here. You might want to repost this comment on his site/original post.

      • Kristen Rosser

        I don’t generally post on websites dedicated to atheism because such websites are generally very hostile places for Christians to speak up. If Bruce wants to say things like this on his own website, he’s free to do so as far as I’m concerned. What I dislike so much is this post appearing here, on NLQ, which is supposed to be a safe place for everyone journeying out of Quiverfull-type mentalities.

        • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

          I doubt anyone would describe me as hostile. How about actually investing some time and effort to understand why I write and the context I write in? Or you can continue on with your baseless assumptions.

          I have given this site free access to anything I write. They don’t need my permission to post it here. That said, if you are upset about this post being posted here, you need to take it up with Suzanne or Vyckie.

          If you have specific questions you would like me to address…you know where my blog is.

          • Theo Darling

            It makes more sense for you, as a man writing about misogyny, to invest time and effort to understand why Kristen reacted the way she did and the context of her lived experience.

          • Kristen Rosser

            I actually have read several things that you have written in the past, Bruce, and I have visited your blog from time to time. I have read your story and I know a little about why you write and where you come from, and I’m happy that you, like me, escaped from fundamentalism, even though we took different paths afterwards. No, I wasn’t saying your blog was hostile or that you were hostile– I was saying that in general, websites dedicated to atheism are hostile to Christian commenters who write in to disagree. I learned this by painful experience, commenting on the blogs of other people who also post here at NLQ, and being rather brutally treated– not necessarily by the blog owner, but by other commenters. This is not to say I necessarily would be so treated on your blog, but it’s an explanation of why I don’t usually post comments on atheist blogs.

            I’m not sure what you think I’m baselessly assuming. I am writing in response to what is written here, neither more nor less. What is it that you said above that I misunderstood? I would be happy to receive clarification where you didn’t mean what I read your words as saying. As far as “taking it up with Suzanne or Vyckie” — I thought that by saying what I have said here, I was doing so.

          • Alexandra L.

            “How about actually investing some time and effort to understand why I write and the context I write in? Or you can continue on with your baseless assumptions.”
            -I would describe this as hostile.

      • Theo Darling

        A few people have voiced some concerns on the OP, and though he responds to each objection, he’s doing so in a way that seems to reinforce the problems commenters brought up in the first place. He’s in uberpolite I-resent-my-feminism-being-challenged-and-here-is-why-I’m-right mode, with a side of evolutionary-biology-supports-my-thesis. It’s an interesting but frustrating conversation, and I’m not sure one more rebuttal would make much difference to Bruce.

    • SheSellsSeashells

      You don’t know me, but I’m Christian and a fairly dedicated lurker on this site, having had a (much milder) dose of evangelical culture in my childhood. The original post left me feeling hurt and argumentative, but I left it alone since I don’t really have a presence here. You said everything I wanted to, but more thorougly and more kindly, so thank you. Seriously.

    • JoannaDW

      I don’t know who wrote it, but some other poster said something under the “Male Atheists and White Knight Sexism” on Libby Anne’s blog that I just thought was brilliant. On one hand, nonbelievers insist that religion is fluid and man-made, but they treat all its negative attributes as fixed and supernatural in nature. Religion is sexist! Religion is racist! You can’t believe or do this and still call yourself a member of this group! Well, if religion is fluid and man-made, then technically, I can do whatever I wish and call it whatever I want..can’t I? It’s a transparent attempt to get you to renounce an identity and set of beliefs that they don’t agree with, and that’s not fair.

      What really amazes me is how…seriously some nonbelievers take religion. If you don’t care about religion, or go out of your way to demean religion, then why do you care if someone “disrespects” a religion or isn’t a “true believer” because of [inset reason here]? Some of them get so! upset! that someone that drinks coffee has the nerve to identify as Mormon, for example. Some of them are more dogmatic than fundamentalists over who gets to identify as what, and that just mystifies me. I don’t hunt down self-identified atheists, badger them into admitting to mystical beliefs or doubts about God’s existence, and then taunting them about how they aren’t real atheists. That’s not accurate, fair or productive.

      Then there’s the tactic in which people ask you to explain or justify beliefs that you don’t hold because someone who shares your label holds them. I don’t hold fundamentalist beliefs about the Bible and I never have, but I still get accusatory questions from people who know this about me demanding that I account for people like Fred Phelps. I can offer my insights but ultimately, I’m not a mind-reader.

      I want to make it very clear that I have no problem discussing these issues with nonbelievers or other believers. I’ve read many thoughtful blog posts from nonbelievers, many of which had the potential to be offensive, but are not offensive to those with an open mind. I’ve had these hard discussions with all kinds of people in real life with no damage to my friendships. All I ask is that the conversations are fair, and not, as I mentioned earlier, a transparent attempt to trash my beliefs or convince me to abandon them.

    • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

      It would be nice if you would raise these questions on my blog. You didn’t so I will try ONE time to answer them here. This is post is about my GENERAL observations about Evangelicalism based on the 50 years I spent as a Christian and the 25 years I spent as an Evangelical pastor. During this time, I suspect I have come into contact with a lot more Evangelical Christian women than you have. Now this does not invalidate your view of what I have written, but it should cause you to pause for a moment before suggesting that this post should not be posted here or suggesting that I am sexist, patriarchal, or any of the other pejorative things you said about me. If my post is truly offensive, by all means, Suzanne or Vyckie should remove it from this site.

      I have never said that there is only one way to understand the Bible. Good luck in finding one place where I have ever said that. I HAVE said, that I often find that Fundamentalists are more honest with the Biblical text than progressive or liberal Christians. I find many of the liberal or progressive reinterpretations of the Bible intellectually lacking and they often violently distort what the text says. All that their interpretations prove is that you make make the BIble say most anything.

      Words have meaning, be they English words or Greek or Hebrew words. People can believe whatever they want, but they don’t have the right to make a word or words say something different than what they actually mean. This is a huge problem in religion and politics. Way too many people take the “this is what it means to me” approach instead of determining what a text actually says. (using proper critical methods)

      Christianity, like all the Abrahamic faiths, is a text-based religion. There is no Jesus, no Christianity without the Bible. If a person says, I am a Christian then they are, to some degree or another, accepting the Bible as authoritative. No Bible, no Christianity. If people just want Jesus but not the Bible, then they should call what they have spirituality and not Christianity.

      I see little to no value in hanging on to ancient religious texts as a basis for morality, ethics, or social construction. We simply don’t need them. And since I live in a secular state, it is proper and right for me to insist that the government and educational system be kept free from the pernicious influence of the Bible. Individual s are free to believe what they want and I will most certainly defend their right to do so, but I don’t have to accept their beliefs as intellectually valid. People believe all kind of crazy, irrational stuff and much of it comes from religion. Beliefs like virgins having babies, dead people living again, humans walking through walls (Jesus), walking on water, and miraculously healing people by touching them. (to name a few)

      I make no apology for the fact that I am an atheist. Both Suzanne and Vyckie now I am an atheist. I am respectful of the beliefs of others but respect does mean that I find those beliefs intellectually valid. I have several family members who believe if they think “good thoughts” that they will get what they are thinking about. I find such thinking intellectually insulting, but, hey, if someone wants to think God or the universe is helping them get a parking spot…who I am to object?

      What you have done is taken my general observations about Evangelicalism and my experience as an Evangelical pastor and conflated them with your own experience. You wrongly assume that your experience is the norm. It is not. You are the exception to the rule,not the rule. As a writer I deliberately paint with a broad brush. I make no apology for this. I have no time or patience for having to modify every statement I make about Evangelicalism just so the those who don’t fit what I am talking about will be happy. What I wrote didn’t apply to you. Good, but that does not invalidate what I wrote.

      Note to Suzanne and Vyckie. I am really starting to rethink the whole cross posting thing. :) Time for bed.

      • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

        Yes, words have meanings – and Kristen certainly care about the meaning of words. Unlike some who are satisfied with translations which are really bad on some points – “exercise authority”, which a woman should not do over men according to 1 Timothy 2, is for example from a Greek word that meant murder, suicide, seduction and violence when the New Testament was written – Kristen really looks into the meanings which translaters did not care enough to look into.
        As for the amount of evangelical women you knew – what a dismissive attitude. A male pastor knows women secondhand and most religious people in their put-the-best-foot-forward-and-only-say-what-the-preacher-would-like-to-hear mode. I am sure a not-a-pastor-of-a-congregation female Christian will know women and their real way of thinking about Christianity as least as well as you.

        • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

          How could you possibly know about the relationship I had with the hundreds of women I pastored? You don’t think I could know intimately the woman I pastored? Especially since I counseled hundreds of women and couples over the course of 25 years in the pastorate.

          Again, you are taking the general observations I made and conflating them with your own experience or Kristen’s. I am glad she studies what the various words mean. Your point? Did I not already say that she is the exception to the rule? Her own experience, or yours for that matter, does not invalidate the observations I made in this post.

          I am sorry to found my comment dismissive. Of course I could say the same about your statement about those who are satisfied with translations that are really bad on some points.

          This is my last comment. I hope you will understand Suzanne.

          • Brennan

            Okay, but your observations do not invalidate her lived experience, or Kristen’s. They’ve both made the point that you are overgeneralizing here. You’re taking your experience pastoring in a small denomination which is considered fringe even by other evangelicals and you’ve generalized it to make sweeping pronouncements about a religion with *billions* of adherents. And when presented with any evidence that contradicts your view, you rationalize it away as “the exception, not the rule.” There is a lot of sexism inherent in telling Christian women that you know what it means to be a Christian woman more than they do. I feel for you in that I don’t think you meant for this to be read outside of your blog on the atheist channel, but this post is sexist, as is your non-pology to Retha.

      • Kristen Rosser

        I’m not asking you to apologize for being an atheist, Bruce, and I’m not attacking your atheism. I’m also not quite sure why you have responded defensively only to me and not to the other writers here who are not Christians but who have definitely agreed with my objections to some of what you said in your post. For instance, Theo Darling said below that “Men who tell women they’d be better off without religion are still adopting a stance of superior intellect and projecting the view that they know better for women than women do themselves.” I’m not the only one who saw this in your posts.

        I’m not sure what to do with your statement that you’ve painted with a broad brush and I’m not to take this as applying to me. If I said a lot of pejorative things about atheists using a broad brush, would you instinctively understand that you were an exception and I wasn’t referring to you?

        As far as what I said about sexism, I didn’t actually say you were sexist, but I did ask if you could hear how sexist your words sounded. As far as the patriarchy is concerned, that’s something that we all grew up inside, and that still in many ways surrounds us as water surrounds fish. It’s hard for fish to notice they are in water, I’m sure. I sometimes don’t notice patriarchal thinking in my own mindset either, until someone points it out to me.

      • Brennan

        Yes, words have meaning. No, you are not the ultimate authority on what that meaning is.
        Not to get all schoolyard on you . . . but maybe you wrongly assume that your experience is the norm.

  • Futuralon Futuralon

    I was raised Catholic. The big joke about them, of course, is that they don’t actually read the bible. In fact I never felt compelled to try and read the whole thing. My teens were a series of big changes with my faith. First I started to doubt the existence of god, then I stopped going to church, and finally I decided the whole catholic faith was bunk when I actually took a look at the Catechism (book of particular things Catholics are supposed to believe and do). I couldn’t listen to a church that felt sex was so bad – even masturbation was supposedly a huge sin. That was just ludicrous to me. (Animals and infants do it, for crying out loud. They can’t sin!)
    A big part of turning my back on the church was how clear the sexism was. Men were priests and we were supposed to confess everything to these strangers (almost all the teachers were women – Sisters and regular laypeople) on random days of the year. What do men know about issues girls have among themselves? How was I supposed to talk about my sexuality? It just didn’t seem fair that women were denied leadership roles.
    Every time I looked up something in the bible, I was disappointed how sexist and old fashioned everything was. The book actually made me angry (and honestly still does).
    Once I gained experience in the real world (and, away from Catholic school, started ignoring religion altogether) I slowly developed my own feminism. Eventually I started reading feminist websites like feministing.com to complement the current events I read about. I was definitely a feminist.
    Finally I met my husband. He agreed with the feminist statements I posed to him – he was one too. We were also both atheists. What a match.
    I can’t really imagine trying to incorporate biblical principles into my marriage. So much of it is just untenable that it would be silly to cherry-pick things I like. (This is what a lot of Catholics do, including my mother.)
    Sometimes people ask me if I even believe in Jesus. I say sure, it’s possible there was a guy named Jesus that these stories were about. Do I think he rose from the dead, is god’s only son, performed miracles etc etc? I don’t think there’s any evidence that any of those things happened or that god even exists. Basically I think that at best, Jesus was a prophet. I kind of think of prophets as just really popular public speakers. He had some interesting things to say and it came at a time in history when a lot of people were willing to listen. Some of those things are good. Almost none of what the Catholic church wants me to believe and do have anything to do with the hippie, peace-love-and-understanding message of Jesus.
    The bible and the catechism both drove me away from the church permanently. Life experience and my natural skepticism kept me away.

  • JoannaDW

    I’m not evangelical, but I’ll share my thoughts.

    As Kristen mentioned, most religions have a history of sexism and other forms of oppression, much of it institutionalized and ingrained (in case anyone tries to say that such incidents are an aberration and the the authorities/official teachings/overall culture does not approve of such prejudice). Also, as others have pointed out, this kind of white knight sexism is common in the atheist and skeptic communities. The world of science and politics used to be very hostile to women. Marriage and childbearing can be oppressive to women, but women have entered and conquered in all of these areas. As I keep saying, you can’t just take your ball and go home every time you face resistance. If staying in Christianity is not worthwhile to you, then leave if you are able. However, those women that find value in Christianity or some other religious group and who are willing to face resistance in the name of their beliefs should be treated with respect and supported in their endeavors. There is a Chinese proverb, “He who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” Maybe these women are on to something and they will change the conversation in ways we never imagined. My concern is with people’s stated beliefs and the way they act, not what group they choose to align themselves with. Progressive Christians have no control over the thoughts and behaviors of other people who happen to identify as Christians and I don’t think it’s fair to treat them as culpable for oppression because oppressors happen to share the same label.

    As for ignoring or reinterpreting Bible verses, I don’t see why people have a problem with this. The Bible is a work of literature (whether it’s non-fiction, fantasy, realistic fiction or creative non-fiction, I won’t get into here). Literature can be interpreted in 1001 different ways, Just because something isn’t 100% nonfiction doesn’t mean it cannot have true things to say about history, morality or other topics. I used to love reading the Dear America series, in which authors would write about events and time periods through the eyes of a fictional pre-teen or teenage girl living at the time. They were written in diary format. Those books are considered fiction, yet they accurately reflect and are inspired by actual events, actual attitudes, and actual people. Even documents that are non-fiction, like scientific documents or Supreme Court rulings, can have multiple interpretations that are very different from each other (within reason, since it is nonfiction and it’s not all in the eye of the beholder). Yet few people would suggest that these documents are fiction or that x/y/z interpretation must be wrong. Strict Constitutionalists and libertarians insist that the government has no authority to collect taxes, implement welfare programs, or have a standing army because no article or amendment gives them that explicit authority. Others will insist that the clauses that discuss the common defense or the common welfare are adequate for this purpose. Who’s right? Well, according to the text…they both could be. I don’t see the Bible as being any different, especially when you consider, again, the eyes of the authors who wrote it, the culture it was written in, and the many, many translations that have ensued since it was originally written. The Bible has been viewed through the lens of patriarchy all these years just as history in general used to be written by the winners. However, the “losers” in history, more than ever, have the opportunity to write their version of history and I think progressive Christians are now getting that same opportunity to tell that side of the story. Just because it has not historically been told does not mean it does not exist.

    Lastly, we need to consider differences in priorities. Some people have made it a priority to promote equality and charity in their communities. If that’s your priority, and your church does not support that, then it might make sense for you to leave for a different church or no church at all. If your priority is to glorify God, and you see social justice and charity as secondary to, and part of, glorifying God, then it might be better for you to stay. If you believe that facing resistance from your own and challenging people to think differently is the cross you must bear, then leaving for another affiliation is like backing down and is not an option for many believers. This is true in some respect for all faiths, but especially for Christianity, which focuses on the rewards and validation of the afterlife, as opposed to this life. Those are just the global priorities. You also have personal priorities. Let’s say we have two bisexuals that belong to the same, heterosexist church. Person A sees her sexuality as a major part of her life and identity, she’s involved in a nontraditional relationship and wants to get married. Staying in a church that does not accept that is problematic. For Person B, her bisexuality is a very minor part of her life, it’s not a cornerstone of her identity, and she’s single by choice. Seeking validation of the church is not as important to her. Person B may decide to stay because what IS important to her is what her church supports.

    So…who’s right?

    • Kristen Rosser

      Very well said. There are a variety of reasons why people do what they do, and the idea that if you stay with a church you are in agreement with everything they do and say, while if you leave you are repudiating everything they do and say, is very binary, very black-and-white.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Person B’s sexuality may not be particularly important to her but it is important to other people. And actively supporting an institution that seeks to deny equality to those people is…problematic. And how about if she one day chooses not to be single?

      If a woman or anyone else wants to be evangelical, fine. But I have serious issues with any church that says “You’re allowed in our club as long as you keep the aspects of yourself that we don’t approve of under wraps and, the day you don’t, you’re ostracized” and serious issues with any church that is on the wrong side of a major civil rights issue. And I don’t think any person of conscience has any business supporting such a church.

      • Madame

        Why is person B’s sexuality of any concern to other people?

        The point of the clubs makes little sense. Church groups that consider homosexuality a sin, and still welcome people who are homosexual while not supporting their sexuality, are what I would classify as tolerant and loving without judging. So the church may be hoping this person B will turn fully straight, marry a man, and get on with life looking like the “proper evangelical”. Person B may have no desire to deny her sexuality and try to be someone different, and she’s happy in the environment of a church that mostly teaches what she believes, and that shows her love, appreciation for who she is, and gives her a spiritual home.

        People stay in non-religious circles because they have something in common with other members, but if they were to expect everyone to support their religion, political views, or some other thing that they aren’t willing to or can’t change, they would meet cold shoulders. Evangelicals know about that pretty well! I’ve seen people who were very friendly towards a fervent evangelical christian turn cold when that person started talking about Jesus. They are fine with his evangelicalism, as long as he keeps it carefully wrapped up.

        What’s so wrong and unethical about staying in a club, as you called it, where you feel mostly at home?

        • Petticoat Philosopher

          Person B’s sexuality is of no concern to me. However, people being treated equally is a concern of everybody and supporting an institution that believes otherwise is not a choice I can condone, although I’m certainly not going to say that everyone who makes that choice is a bad person. But it’s still wrong.

          Also, are you seriously comparing being gay/bi, which is an immutable characteristic to being an evangelical, which is most certainly not? Are you really saying that denying yourself something as central to the human experience as intimate romantic relationships just because of the gender you happen to interested in that way is the same thing as managing to not to talk about Jesus to people who are not evangelicals? Btw, people are often wary when people start “talking about Jesus” because they are worried they are about to get proselytized to and have had had bad experiences with that. A person who reacts badly to finding out that someone is LGBT is wary of…what exactly? That person being all existent in front of them. I’m not saying it’s okay for people to treat anyone poorly if they mention Jesus, because there are some people–not as many as there should be–who are capable of talking about the importance of Christianity to their own lives without acting like everyone needs to be living the same life and one shouldn’t make assumptions that someone is going to try to convert them just because they are Christian and mention it once in a while. But it is not the same thing as treating somebody poorly because they are LGBT (or female or non-white etc.). And frankly? If I meet a person and one of the first things they do is start talking about Jesus, no matter what the context, I am going to treat them with the same respect anyone is due but my antenna is going to go waaaaay up and I’m gonna brace myself. And that in no way makes me comparable to a homophobe.

          Also, sexuality is a part of who someone is. You are not showing “love, appreciation for who [a person] is” if you shun that part of them, no matter what some people like to tell themselves about “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Full stop.

  • JoannaDW

    I also would like to point out that, for many people with a “God first” orientation, their current affiliation might be their only option for doctrinal reasons. People are often told that they should join this group because it’s similar but without all the bad stuff. The problem is that similar isn’t always good enough. If you really believe in, say, transubstantiation, you can’t move to another church where that doctrine isn’t upheld because their marriage rites are open to more people. If you uphold the sacredness of celibacy in the Latin Rite, transferring to the Byzantine, Coptic, or Orthodox rites isn’t an option because they don’t have the same expectations. For some people, their core beliefs about God are at stake, they can’t necessarily find those same beliefs in another religion or denomination, and changing affiliation because of political disagreements might not be worthwhile to them.

  • Brennan

    I get . . . a very strange vibe from this post. At times, Bruce seems to argue not only that fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity is sexist and evil, but also that they’re the only Christians with any integrity or “rationally consistent” beliefs. He’s obviously not engaging in real study of any theology besides the one he used to ascribe to (otherwise, he might have realized that those who believe in the Bible as divinely inspired do not necessarily also subscribe to biblical inerrancy, to name one small blind spot among many). Some of his “gotcha” arguments are just plain weird, like how putting the gospels into historical context would make Jesus “even more irrelevant,” as if even the most basic Bible studies didn’t already apply some degree of historical context. (I guess it’s coincidence that every eight year old churchgoing kid can tell you what it meant to be a “Samaritan” or a “tax collector” in a backwater society that hasn’t existed for thousands of years?)

    Part of the message here seems to be that the IFB (and therefore Bruce’s old self) is the only church that’s “rationally consistent” with its stated beliefs–the only one that “teaches the verses as written.” Ergo Bruce was doing Christianity “right” until he realized how very messed up it all was and now as an atheist, Bruce is even more right. And the fact that liberal, progressive, and even mainline denominations have been speaking against groups like the IFB on logical, moral, and theological grounds since before Bruce first darkened a fundamentalist pulpit . . . well, apparently that doesn’t matter because Bruce has decided that they don’t know anything about their own religion. Thus, he doesn’t have to engage with any views besides his own–his old ones and his new ones.

    • Kristen Rosser

      Well, that certainly is the vibe I got from it, even if unintentionally on Bruce’s part.

  • http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/ Retha Faurie

    The reason for a woman to be a Christian? Jesus. Jesus who would not break a bruised reed, who treated women with respect, who stood up against the double standards of wanting to stone a woman and not a man for the same thing.

    Jesus who came to heal the brokenhearted, preach deliverance to captives, to set at liberty the bruised.

    Jesus who said those who recieve a child in His name recieves him and who thus gave dignity to all those who lovingly nurture their children, which are more often women than men.

    That Jesus is so appealing, that even when people mistranslate things to say things Jesus would never have said, Jesus still draws them. Many (and I understand that, I do too!) prefer Jesus + stuff they think fits in with Jesus (but actually does not), to not having Jesus.

    Women of all eras – and still today – love the God who shows no favoritism. (Eph 6:9, Act 10:34, Rom 2:11) They may have heard a bunch of mistranslations and out of context quotes about what God actually said, and I wish they could learn the truth.

    Yes, it is possible to misquote and mistranslate the Bible to favor one gender – for example people who use “1Co 11:9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” while the verses right after it say “1Co 11:11 Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”

    I’m pretty sure that if there was almost only women in church leadership for centuries, as opposed to only men, the out of context reading would have gone the other way – like for example here: http://biblicalpersonhood.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/the-inverse-statement-on-biblical-manhood-and-womanhood/

    • Madame

      Excellent, Retha.
      These are the reasons I haven’t left completely. Jesus.

    • committedchristian

      Thank you. Well said.

  • SAO

    If you try to follow the literal word of the bible, you end up with a God of the picayune. A God who spends his time policing his dress code rather than using his power and glory for the betterment of the world. To follow the examples of the verses you’ve posted, a woman who offers a short, spontaneous prayer of thanks to God for a beautiful day has “dishonored her head” if she forgot to put her hat on first? Who wants to worship a God like that?

    There’s plenty of picayune trivia for men, too. “Don’t round the corners of thy head nor mar the corners of thy beard.” “Thou shall not utter the name of another God.” Thursday is named for Thor, the Norse god. Jupiter, Saturn and Mars are planets. You’re not supposed to sit in a chair a menstruating woman has sat in. That basically rules out any chair not specifically reserved for men, and how many of those are there?

    So, you can choose to believe in a God who spends his time giving you demerits for breaking any of a gazillion trivial rules, or in a God who stands for the eternal truths of right and wrong and expects your heart to guide you in discovering which is which and what is important.

    Once you choose the latter, the bible becomes a guide, transcribed and retranscribed by men, who added annotations. We know that there are 150 copies of the Gospel of Luke none of which is clearly older or more authoritative than the other, but all of which have some differences from each other. Is it so hard to believe that ancient scribes added clarification? Religious groups do this all the time. Jehovah’s Witnesses have decided that celebrating Christmas is wrong. Orthodox Jews think God forbids them from pushing a button to summon an elevator on the Sabbath. Fundamentalists create strange new meanings and rituals about betrothal.

    Ultimately, it is your opinion that “Christianity, like all the Abrahamic faiths, is a text-based religion. There is no Jesus, no Christianity without the Bible.”

    Personally, I think a literalist approach, focussing on the picayune is missing the message of Jesus and God. Did Jesus die on the cross so that women would remember to put their hats on and men have the right hairstyle?

    I have sympathy with your decision to ditch the whole thing. I’m an atheist, too, but I find there’s great value in contemplating the message of Jesus: peace on earth, goodwill towards men and woman.

  • Trollface McGee

    This article comes quite close to ‘mansplaining for my comfort.
    I am an atheist – for a while I dabbled in faith but I encountered open air preachers at my uni telling me that my only role in life was to marry someone I could never truly be attracted to and have babies, I encountered classmates telling me that my political views made me worse than or equal to genocidal dictators, I encountered dorm mates telling me that the only reason to go to college is to earn your Mrs. And I ran in the opposite direction and never looked back.
    On the other hand I have friends and family and colleagues who are religious. Some for tradition, some for comfort and some are very interested in theology and have a very different interpretation of it than this author. Yes, there are terrible verses in most religious books, and as much as words matter, so does history and context and to ignore those is to do as the fundies and to pick and choose and hyperfocus on one part and ignore the rest.

    Frankly, if it isn’t causing someone to stay in an abusive environment and if it isn’t making them hateful – it is none of my business nor my right to tell them to believe something else. Faith is personal and private – I think that’s a huge problem I have with people who try to convert me – but it’s no different or less offensive when an atheist tries to covert someone.
    When you put the cause above people you do harm to the cause and do no good for the people.

  • Nightshade

    This comes pretty close to my thoughts on the subject, and just for the record I don’t see anything offensive here. Bruce is describing the situation as he sees it, from his point of view, and as far as I can tell is making a pretty good case, but not trying to tell us women what we have to do, merely describing what he sees as the options and his opinions. His views are no doubt a bit biased based on his personal experience, but I think he’s honestly a bit puzzled, and I admit I am too. However I figure ‘to each his/her own.’

  • Theo Darling

    Why are only some of my comments here getting approved? I have tried to write in a noncombative way. Have I broken some commenting policy unawares?

    • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

      I don’t know, will have to check it out because I do not have you on moderated at all. Usually once you post here a handful of times and I approve it starts auto approving you. Your ISP number might be near a few I have banned from posting here, or it might just be a Patheos/Disqus glitch. Sorry about that.

      When I get back from the beach and spotty internet access I’ll see what I can do to end your comments being on the moderated setting.

  • Pauline

    “A case can be made for Jesus being no longer applicable and surely we
    must interpret the teachings of Christ in their historical context. Of
    course this would result in Jesus being more irrelevant than he already
    is.”

    Simplistic much? “Sell all you have and give to the poor.” Obviously this is advice that cannot apply outside of first-century Jewish culture.

  • gimpi1

    I don’t see any of the “mansplaining” or patronizing in Bruce’s article that has some posters upset. To me, he’s just citing what he observed as a pastor. I find his observations valid and interesting.

    I don’t think he’s trying to say that fundamentalist Christianity is somehow more authentic, but there’s no denying that they put more emphasis on following what they see as biblical law. Now, they cherry-pick along with everyone else, but they truly don’t understand that that’s what they are doing. I do think some progressive Christians have to dance pretty fast to get around some of the nastiest aspects of the Bible, and I think that’s all he’s trying to say.

    I read his article as a question. I think he honestly doesn’t understand what draws women to a belief-system that relegates them to a small sphere, tells them that they can’t trust their own minds, and demands subservience to both male family-members and church authorities. I don’t understand it either. And, for the record I’m a woman.

  • Renee

    Bruce- I totally agree with this post. I have no idea how any woman can read the bible and still think its not anti woman all the way, I find it baffling. I am glad there are xtian feminists that believe differently, so that there are better options for xtian women, but I just don’t see how they do it. I have heard all of the apologetics, explanations on context, and such, but it just seems like so much wishful thinking. My opinion only, of course.
    I also do not see it as mansplaining.