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State of Dismay

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?

 

5 Comment

    1. You know how sometimes you just get kind of bogged down in the hurt? Seems like everywhere I look, it’s more about people hurting others, using the Bible as their lash. Just gross.

  1. When we care about injustice it will trouble our souls when we see it. As much as I don’t enjoy that you are suffering, I take comfort in the thought that at least you are far from the ice cold arctic wasteland known as indifference.

    Compassion means to suffer along side with. Thank you Jennifer that as you read Unladylike you are allowing yourself to “suffer along side” your sisters who have been bent by patriarchal oppression.

    The good news, no, the Great News, is that Jesus is the One who called out to that bent over woman in full view of temple authorities and healed her. Upright she stood, eye to eye, after that public encounter. It is my fervent hope and desire that women in faith tribes everywhere will experience the empowering touch of Jesus to stand up in who they are meant to be….in full view of church authority.

    (hug)

    You and I have got to meet up!

    1. Snap. Your last paragraph makes me want to run out and do the same thing! I feel empowered by that, rather than broken. You are doing good, Great good works, my friend and I am ever so thankful to know you.

  2. Jen,

    this is tough stuff. I know I was one of those FB voices and it’s *really* hard to have a meaningful conversation on FB. One wrong word and the whole ball of wax gets taken out of context. I had no idea the reason you were posting that quote was b/c you had to write a review. I thought, well, if I’m supposed to read the book, then why did you post such a damning quote? IT IS ICK. I have been sheltered from a lot of this by being in a field that is mostly peopled by strong women. And I thought about it. How hard it must be for women whose dream is to be in ministry and they get slapped down at every step. I know it’s part of why I left retail books, a field dominated at the time I left by men or women who could act like men. I was fortunate to be able to become a librarian, where strong women are the norm. I think the only thing we can do is find one place where we are validated. If not at work, then in our relationships. I could write a whole post (I won’t, and I do NOT want to get your thread on a different place) about how single women are considered not enough in a world of mommy bloggers. That somehow my life experience isn’t enough because I haven’t toilet trained someone. We ALL have that place where we are belittled. (Even white men.) It’s whether we embrace it or run from it. I think what makes us stronger, love better is to embrace it, look at it, try to make friends with it. And find a place where life works, if only for a minute every day.

    (Also, you have a typo havhad about three sentences up if you count from the bottom.)

    xo and cupcakes,
    SL

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