Why Christian conferences are sexist.

Why Christian conferences are sexist. November 16, 2013
sexist conferences cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
“Christian Conferences are Sexist” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

Denny Burk asks the simple question, Are Christian Conferences Sexist. He asks this question in response to Jonathan Merritt’s post, Are Christian Conferences Sexist? ‘The Nines’ Controversy Prompts Reflection.

Merritt calls The Nines fiasco of having only 4 women speakers out of over 110 speakers “flat out embarrassing” and a “blunder”.

Burk’s argument is that ministries who believe that women should not teach men should be left alone. They are simply trying to obey scripture, which Burk supports. His conclusion is that “it’s not sexist to obey scripture”. For Christian conferences to emphasize male teachers “may not line up well with the egalitarian spirit of the age, but it does align well with scripture.”

As I frequently argue, the problem here is the hermeneutic being used that perpetuates a sexist ideology. Rather than opening their eyes to actually perceive the injustices that are occurring at their own hand, they would continue to allow their sexist hermeneutic to rule the day.

As this cartoon suggests, the problem isn’t just that women don’t have fair representation, but that this unfair representation goes all the way to the top.

Men make the decisions.

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  • Cecilia Davidson

    As I have said the other day, those in power to interpret and make religious policy that will govern others only care for the opinion of a woman if they are bearing their children, and even then it’s a mild influence. It’s no wonder that a thinking woman is considered dangerous by these ministers and directors.

  • I would say the same thing about most of the people that wrote scripture as well. The bible needs a re-write.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    Absolutely true, but no one in power wants it because – well, every possible reason you can think of.

  • Chester McMackin

    CECILIA: Did you ever notice that when you ask a reasonable question on certain facets of the Bible writings, that you get eithert NO response or one that simply states the bible is absolutely correcin all stetements and you shoul NOT question any of it ? Therefore….. don’t ask questions , even if you do not understand the wording. Just have “faith ” that it will all come clear, some day . The odd time you will get answer that only produces MORE questions. ..just wondering……………………….

  • this is fantastic. i tend to agree that ministries who believe that women should not teach men should be left alone (because what’s the point unless to point out specific abuse?), but patriarchal organizations/churches need to stop pretending they are something else. The Nine masquerades as a standard evangelical conference, not a complementarian/fundamentalist one, attracting middle-of-the-road leaders like Rick Warren and “emergent” Dan Kimball. Leaders who *do* affirm gender equality and racial diversity need to stop agreeing to speak at places which major in marginalization and pretend to represent the Body at large.

  • Cecilia Davidson

    I can tell you’re not serious so, please, quit making me laugh

  • Chester McMackin

    awwwwwwwww !!!!!!!

  • When one is confronted with Denis Burke and the like, it can be extremely hard to remember the Christian duty to love one’s foes.

    I still think that such problems no longer arise if one views the Bible as part of the traditions and wisdom of the Church instead of the Church originating from the Biblical Canon.


  • I don’t believe that a re-write would be honest.

    Christians should rather recognize the human (and faillible) nature of the Bible and interpret it as such.

  • Dennis Irwin

    It’s not just ministersWomen hold only 17% of the seats in Congress. (Source)Only 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions are currently held by women. (Source)State Legislatures are only 24% women. (Source)Only 6 out of 50 states have a female governor. (Source)The United States trails behind much of the world—ranking 90th in the number of women in our national legislature. (*Note: The U.S. is listed as 73rd, but after accounting for tied rankings of other countries, the ranking for the U.S. is 90th. Source)On average, male cabinet appointees outnumber women cabinet appointees in our states by a ratio of 2 to 1.  (Source)50% less women than men consider of running for office. Of those, 30% less actually run, with only a fraction seeking higher office. (Lawless, Jennifer and Richard L Fox. It Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office. New York: Cambridge UP, 2005.)Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators. (Source)Women of color represent only 4% of Congress and 23% of women Members of Congress. (Source)

  • Dennis Irwin

    Why is that? Misogyny? I don’t think so. I think most women desire to be lead (not ruled) by good men. It’s how they were made.