Saying the F-word in church

I want to highlight an exciting event this week in part of the evangelical Christian blogosphere: the Feminisms Fest series hosted by Danielle at From Two to One, Preston Yancey, and J.R. Goudeau.

What makes this extraordinary is partly the substance of this conversation, but more than that it’s the location of this conversation.

This is taking place within the evangelical Christian world — a part of the church where feminism is often presumed to be a threat, an enemy, or at best a dangerously “controversial” idea. In much of the evangelical subculture, it’s not considered necessary to argue that feminism is bad, or to defend the assumption that feminism is bad, that’s just a given. In that subculture, describing an idea, or a policy, or a person as “feminist” is a form of condemnation.

And yet it’s there — within that subculture — that this Feminisms Fest conversation is taking place. That’s a beautiful thing. So is the bottom-up, not-waiting-for-permission aspect of this conversation. It only takes a spark to get a bonfire going.

This is kind of a big deal.

Here are a handful of links to some of the Feminisms Fest posts that have come through my RSS reader in the past few days. These link to dozens of others by a host of other wonderfully dangerous women writing from within and around the evangelical blogosphere. Give ‘em a read.

This is good news. This is a kind of Jubilee.

• From Two to One: My Feminist Coming of Age Story

• From Two to One: Why Wouldn’t Feminism Matter?

• From Two to One: Mainstream Feminists Need Religious Feminists

• Love Is What You Do: Feminisms and Me

• Love Is What You Do: An Empowered Woman Is a Sight to Behold

• We Mixed Our Drinks: Ten years of feminism

• We Mixed Our Drinks: Feminism: what’s at stake?

• Christ and Pop Culture: The F-Word: Why Feminism Is Not the Enemy

• Unchained Faith: What Feminism Means to Me

• Unchained Faith: A gift for my children

• Unchained Faith: The Road Behind and the Road Ahead

• See Preston Blog: When the poet prophet @sarahbessey made me a feminist

• Sarah Over the Moon: I need feminism because there is no love without justice

 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Hey, vaginal worship was at the center of some of the earliest religions on Earth.  

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

    You’re projecting a lot of assumptions onto a little figurine.

  • P J Evans

    That’s been a common view for at least 40 years.

  • Antigone10

    I’m fairly certain that comment’s going to get deleted as soon as Fred’s aware it’s there, but I have to admit, rather than being contemptuous  I’m mostly just condescendingly amused.  There, there little troll- nothing like an insulting, useless comment on a blog of an unfailingly polite, well-spoken and admired author.  I’m sure you showed him and his little community up.

  • http://www.metagalacticllamas.com/ Triplanetary

     Indeed. So people have been projecting a lot of assumptions onto a little figurine for 40 years. What’s your point?

  • Rebecca

    Vaginas also make excellent decoration for church doorways. See also: sheela-na-gig.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    Vagina worship makes some sense – they do accomplish some wonderful things.

  • AnonymousSam

    Fred almost never deletes or acknowledges comments at all. That’s what makes this trolling even more pathetic.

  • John (not McCain)

    You’re making all us homos look bad.  Cut it out.

  • MikeJ

    Some of those buttons actually say “s”, not “f”. But it’s a nice project, even if the artwork is off.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    You’re making all us homos look bad.  Cut it out.

    Huh?  On what are you basing the assumption that he’s gay?  Or is this some sort of humor I’m missing?

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    “societal decline” is such a pathetic, empty phrase. 

    Does it refer to standards-of-living, like life expectancy or crime rates? Does it refer to gross national product or gross domestic product? Distribution of wealth in a society? Median income? 

    Is this concept relate to our society as a whole, in aggregate, or when someone says “societal decline”, are they really only talking about part of society, some narrow wedge that accurately reflects only the speaker’s values and ignores the well-being of vast swathes of others? 

    It’s a pathetic, empty phrase that will never be backed by evidence, never supported with citations, and always be subject to a shifting of goalposts.

    We live in an age of longer lifespans, fewer preventable deaths, miraculous medicine, unbelievable opportunities, and all of which have never before in history been equaled, let alone surpassed. Decline? Please.

  • JustoneK

    He’s (monsieur eric) added random gay pejoratives in his attempts at trolling round here, thus-

  • http://vicwelle.wordpress.com victoria

    Shameless plug for another feminist project happening online next month:  March 15, Feminists Engage Wikipedia (hashtag #tooFEW), where folks from all over “edit certain entries and add new ones to counteract the very white straight cis able bodied western dude nature of the site.” 

    See http://crunkfeministcollective.tumblr.com/post/44087150061/feminist-poc-wikipedia-takeover-3-15-11-3-est   or  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/Feminists_Engage_Wikipedia  for more info.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    I think the thing that amuses me most about MRAs is that, quite obviously, their real animus is against the patriarchal structure, insofar as I’ve never ever met one who was actually possessed of any power or influence in that structure- powerful men are often personally misogynistic and almost inevitably structurally misogynistic, but it’s such a part of that world that there’s no need for pitiable little analyses about how everything’s soooo great for women because of sitcom dads and holding the door open and and and boo hoo.

    It reminds me of growing up in the South, insofar as the most vocal racists were absolutely and universally the white guys with three teeth, seven fingers, and no education- the only ones who could sincerely believe that the whole system wasn’t designed around them, because the system had demonstrably failed them. There’s a tragedy there, though, whereas the MRAs are far more likely to be middle class and just hopelessly charmless and boorish, rather than victims of generational poverty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Using the F-word in church… am I the only one who was thinking of another commonly used word starting with F, which is even less appropriate in church, or for that matter in several other places?

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    No, you’re not.  In fact, I assumed Fred chose his title specifically to evoke that association.

  • John (not McCain)

    Well, he finds “vag worship” to be unpleasant, so I’m just going with the odds.  He could be asexual (my SO is).

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    I’ve heard it said that if MRA’s really wanted to gain some credibility as a “rights organization”, they could do so fairly easily by taking on what should be an easy win: prison rape.

    It’s an issue that overwhelmingly affects men more than women.
    It’s widely viewed by educated persons as a human-rights violation.
    Given the infection and transmission rates of STI’s in prisons, it’s a public health issue, and if prisoners are contracting AIDS in prison, it’s also an issue of justice. (Sentenced for three years, but contracting a fatal disease on those three years as a predictable consequence of incarceration is simply a death sentence in disguise)

    For that matter, ending the drug war would be an easy pick-up, given how many (black) males are incarcerated for minor drug offenses, a category of crime that veyr disproportionately harms (black) men over women. 

    Of course, both of those propositions assume in good faith that the “Men’s Rights Movement” is about anything other than hatred and contempt for women. 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Is this concept relate to our society as a whole, in aggregate, or when someone says “societal decline”, are they really only talking about part of society, some narrow wedge that accurately reflects only the speaker’s values and ignores the well-being of vast swathes of others?

    If the part of society that is in decline is patriarchy, then I for one am happy to be a useful idiot complicit in accelerating its dissolution.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I think the thing that amuses me most about MRAs is that, quite obviously, their real animus is against the patriarchal structure, insofar as I’ve never ever met one who was actually possessed of any power or influence in that structure- powerful men are often personally misogynistic and almost inevitably structurally misogynistic, but it’s such a part of that world that there’s no need for pitiable little analyses about how everything’s soooo great for women because of sitcom dads and holding the door open and and and boo hoo.

    The revolution will be fueled by dudebro tears.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    What would be no less interesting than the feminism issue is if there was a discussion about the use of THAT particular word in the church.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    You should reserve judgment on vaginas until you’ve actually seen one.

    ETA: Consensually.

  • Andrea

    Nooo, I’m pretty sure that would actually be less interesting, and definitely less useful, than “the feminism issue.”

  • P J Evans

     All the ones I see are ‘f’. Which one is an ‘s’?

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    MRAs, like Holocaust deniers, seem primarily interested in muddying the waters of scholarship, rather than actually having any good points- they’re playing to the ‘equal and opposite’ fallacy, and trying to discredit feminists by creating some semblance of masculinism with just enough substance that people can say ‘well there are passionate people on both sides, so the right place must in the middle!’

  • Victor

    (((In much of the evangelical subculture, it’s not considered necessary to argue that feminism is bad, or to defend the assumption that feminism is bad, that’s just a given.)))

    I don’t agree Fred! I went to church today and received The Bood of Christ from  a woman and my 7% “Jesus Cells” still have not told me to stop butt “I’M” sure that for a few dollars, my 92% so called sinner vic  flesh cells could be convinced that “IT” is wrong even though he honestly believes that he’s god NOW! As far as why my wife giving “IT” ALL UP, all me, myself and i can say is that “IT” is her choice and “I” certainly won’t go buy a polar bear if she so choses to go back again.

    I hear YA sinner vic! We gods think that YA are crazy and should get off  “The IN HER NET”  cause you’re getting WAY too close to “IT” if YA know what’s “I’M” talking about NOW?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtPKI43TEiE

    Very Funny sinner vic! :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_tfgNlzh5s

    Go Figure MAN!? :(

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=18142394&postID=7314539797199361033

    GOD HELP U>S (usual sinners)

    Peace

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I think you’re giving them too much credit for having some kind of strategy. They’re just misogynists who are deeply insecure about their own masculinity and can only quiet their fears by puffing out their chests and accusing other men of being unmanly.

  • flat

    ladies and gentlemen we got two new trolls here: victor and eric the red, it has been a while that we had some on slacktivist so fellow slacktivites be nice to those two.
    No name calling, no gossiping behind their backs, and please do not insult their families.

    so let’s welcome them on slacktivist.

  • Jim Roberts

    Victor isn’t new. He’s been around for a good long while and is less a troll and more a . . . well, I’ve categorized him as a “sinner vic.” If it’s good enough for him . . .

  • flat

    well there was something called the goddess movement during the seventies:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goddess_movement

  • flat

    Yeah I know but I thought it would be nice to welcome them both at once so they don’t feel shy here.

  • Jim Roberts

    Ah, yes, it would be nice if they felt comfortable telling us how they really feel . . .

  • The_L1985

    I know this may shock you, but female organs don’t actually have teeth. ;)

  • The_L1985

    I’m not the only one who noticed! :D

  • The_L1985

     I don’t think Victor ever has felt shy here.  (Hi, Victor!)

  • Victor

    ((((No name calling, no gossiping behind their backs, and please do not insult their families.)))

    Flat! You know what YA can do NOW!

    I hear YA! Go “F” myself? :)

    For the record, I’ve been visiting Fred’s blog since my first two blogs and although I’ve closed both of them because, I honestly believed that I was too hard while being too honest, butt Flat, I ask you where do you come from? Really NOW!

    You know what they say Victor about “IT” being too hot in the kitchen!?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE6iAjEv9dQ

    Go Figure! “I” think that Victor is his own worst enemy NOW! :)

    Who’s laughing? :(

    Peace

  • Lee B.

     Maybe he’s never seen an italic ‘f’ before?  Or perhaps he’s confusing them with the archaic long ‘s’?  Both may be drawn with a spur on the left side of the stem, but long ‘s’ never has a bar on the right of the stem, while ‘f’ always does.

  • Victor

    Thanks Jim for the support….Just read “IT” NOW! :)

    Hey if “I’M” right about YA, our Canadians are doing great but our Canadian Maple Leaf are going to have to change their name cause after teasing them for years, that the leaves always fall in the fall in Canada and long story short, last year I would have bet at the starting of the year that they would have made the play off!

    Hey Victor! The Canadians beat the leaves last night and that’s cause they’ve got their Her Cheerie back whom players love to ride if ya get my drift NOW?

    sinner vic, ya mean Michael Ryder, the new old player like Jim Roberts, don’t YA NOW?

    Better stop NOW! :)

    Peace

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Victor isn’t new. He’s been around for a good long while and is less a troll and more a . . . well, I’ve categorized him as a “sinner vic.” If it’s good enough for him . . .

    I tend to think of Victor as being something akin to a forum dada artist.  He takes an opposition stance relative to Fred, but does so in a form of friendly language.  The non-sequitur’s of his posts and links serve to divert the mind and by doing so act as a foil for his meanings.  As for the meanings themselves, I get the feeling that they are buried somewhere deep within the text, his explanations and allusions pointing at something buried deep between the lines rather than in the text itself.  

    It is a fascinating study of an artist.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/tomstone Thomas Stone

    That’s probably true of the hangers on and trolls, but I suspect the people who actually write the blogs and attempt to get things published are more like what I described- there’s frequently a psuedo academic tone to them that reminds me of Jonah Goldberg, the guy who spent years railing about how the liberals were the real Nazis, and I think there’s definitely a conscious intent to muddy the waters of discourse in both cases.

  • JustoneK

    Whatever else Victor is, he’s civil.

  • Victor

    (((It is a fascinating study of an artist. )))

    You really are a Fearles Son but YA better stop cause trust “ME”, “ME” and “ME”,  YA don’t want sinner vic to go there NOW!

    Piece. :)

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think Fred’s point is that it is wrong to consider ‘feminism’ inappropriate at all in any circumstance, never mind as inappropriate–especially in churches that follow Jesus, with his radical notions of social justice–as ‘fuck’.

  • flat

    No offence but I don’t know what the hell victor is talking about.

  • guest

    Surprised the heck out of me to see one in Sheffield Cathedral.  Disappointingly, there don’t appear to be any images of it online.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Neither do I, but he is entertaining. I’ve run into him before on the Splendor of Truth website: http://www.splendoroftruth.com/curtjester/

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Could we possibly not disparage EtR by implying he’s a virgin?

    …especially given that, as a virgin, I don’t really like the implication that all virgins suck.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Seconding, with the addition that having had consensual sex with a vagina person does not actually permit one to disparage women and/or vagina people.

  • AnonymousSam

    A suggested choice of rephrase: “It’s no surprise Eric doesn’t think much of women. It’s not like women have any reason to think much of him.”

    That can mean many things to many people. Choose what you find most damning. For me, it’s simply that being a disrespectful shithead has a way of making people think you’re a disrespectful shithead. Imagine that!


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