Lesson 6: Women

Women Bishops of the Episcopal ChurchHardly a day goes by that I do not hear someone on a news program comment, “I grew up in the Church. The Church is very important to me, but…” It very obvious that the speaker no longer worships, yet misses something she associates with that life. The “but” indicates one of the reasons she does not participate in the present church. And it almost always has something to do with the women issue.

Most Christian churches still teach, no matter how they try to hide it even from themselves, that men have authority over women. Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox do not allow women priests. If you go an Evangelical wedding service, you had better prepare yourself for a sermon on the woman submitting herself to the man. At 12 years of age, Mormon men automatically become apostles, a position denied all women. If you do not allow women in leadership positions, you teach that they are inferior to men. And all the theological mumbo-jumbo is just a way to use God to support your misogynist position.

This is pretty much the reason for the breakdown of traditional marriage. It was based on a male dominated society in which the man took responsibility for his role. Then men, in large numbers, began to abandon their families. As a result, about 50 years ago, society lost control of the institution, a secret we still have not acknowledged. Couples began to live together without any social legitimacy, until in our day pastors report almost everyone who comes to be married have lived with each other for some time. Add to that the prevalence of divorce, and you end up with the new definition of marriage: not a man and woman coming together to have children, but two people promising unconditional faithfulness.

And, of course, the recent attack on contraception reflects the same situation. “The Pill” gave women some control of sexual relationships they did not have with condoms. The absurdity of the public debate stems from our denial of what is really going on. To invoke an argument based on divine law here or in the abortion dilemma is the height of crass misogyny. In fact, most of the public debate that makes sexual practices a teenage problem is the height of hypocrisy as great numbers of widows and widowers engage in sex without marriage promises.

I think all this is a last frantic gasp of male dominance. In a hundred years the Church will probably be led by women. Although some marriages will still be performed in churches, they will not be recognized by the state. Another of the great unacknowledged secrets is there is no separation of church and state when pastors act as government officials when officiating at weddings. Before long that will be challenged in the courts and probably discontinued. So, few people will bother with a pastor or church for their wedding.

In contrast to the present church’s obsession with sexual and gender issues, I suspect they will be minor issues in this future church. The youth and young adult groups that meet in our home are already there.

It is embarrassing that the established Church is so far behind society in these matters. She led in previous social movements, such as abolition and civil rights. I guess in some sense, God’s Church could be regarded as a part of the leadership, as Christian laity have ignored Church teaching in these matters for many decades.

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2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. John Myers says:

    I think you need to find different news programs. The news programs I listen to have hosts who value and make no excuses for religious beliefs. We should seek this programming out and support it. I think the church and it’s teachings are more important than ever as we are forced by the societal crowd to normalize social behavior that is the antithesis of Christian teaching. It is important to find a filter that presents the news framed in this belief.

    We should make no excuses for our beliefs, and we certainly should not change our teachings to fit today’s world. This hypocrisy is the root of demise in the established church. I think people crave leadership, especially on tough issues like those dealing with women and societal views on sexuality. It is more important to have a smaller church faithful to itself than it is to to keep people in pews by pandering.

  2. Rita says:

    I’m not one who thought it was “over the top.” I must tell you that while I am very happy with Francis right now, I’m still waiting for him to meet personally with the abused Sisters who are being treated shamefully in my Church. Given the other crises in the world, the issue of women’s rights may seem to be negligible, but I have come to believe that a lot of the world’s problems are caused precisely because they have failed to allow women to take roles of authority in the family, the community, the country, or the Church. Had we had women in power in the RC Church, do you think we’d have the same problem with child abuse/pedophilia? Not on your life. Women are often kept out of the old boys’ clubs precisely because they know deep down that some of their bullying or shenanigans would not go unnoticed. Was it a surprise that it was a group of women in Congress who finally brought the government from the brink not that long ago. They bond; they talk to one another. They think of children and communities in ways that men just don’t…. Amen. Rita

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