State of Dismay 5

Next week I will review of Pam Hogeweide’s new book “Unladylike,” which is knocking my socks off. But Pam raises some important questions that seem uncannily prescient in light of recent current church events.

I don’t want to rehash the scandals, the uproars or the opinions, but social media streams have been a virtual flood of Christians behaving badly this week (I am tempted to add, as usual, which is technically true) and it is easy to become disheartened: with the church, with humans, and with our aptitude for squabbling. We are in a state, it seems, and it becomes more and more difficult to identify with this type of ugliness.

Reading the stories in Pam’s book is just the precursor of ache to the sadness I feel. Women shared about the sting of being disallowed by those in authority from acting as they feel called to serve. Her research takes us back decades when the inferiority of a the female mind was a widely accepted myth/fact. One can’t help but make the connection to African Americans’ struggle for equality. When scripture is used to support oppression and preserve authority, we tread in some dirty water.

But I get ahead of myself. When I posted to Facebook about the book, the comment thread lit up with experiences from women of all stripes. They described how and when they had seen the church do just that to them or their sisters. Others shared their surprise, saying this had not been their experience. But they were all interested and engaged in the conversation.

I get it; we’re humans. We let each other down. It hurts. Last week, I wrote about hope, and I must fall back to this now, because what else is there? Pam assured me that in the end, she offers solutions and ideas and good news, but right now I’m in the ick of it. Reading her book and paying cursory attention to the stupid things some Christians havhad one has left me more than ready to finish the book, to find, as Pam did, a sustaining truth. Because right now, I’m just sad and disappointed and discouraged.

How do humans navigate faith together?