I have had the privilege of knowing more than one woman who carries the title of ‘pastor’. Many of them are perfectly lovely ladies with whom I merely disagree about church structure. Most of them carry the title together with their husband and work as a ‘pastoral couple’ (think Brian and Bobbie Houston of Hillsong). I don’t hold to that view, but still, these women seem to love the Lord and the lost and I don’t spend my time arguing with such ‘Egalitarians’.
But the Egalitarian movement is being hijacked by intoleristas. These are the men and women who not only will fight for women’s ordination but who will fight against you for disagreeing. They are the Feminist Gestapo and sadly they are gaining ground. This is perhaps best illustrated by a horrendous piece (Here) published online by Faith & Leadership from Duke University of all places. Their missional subtext is A learning resource for Christian leaders and their institutions. I don’t know what leaders or institutions would find this article particularly educational. It probably helps explain why Duke ministers often end up serving in dying liberal denominations.
The article is written by Rev. Melissa Florer-Bixler and though we shouldn’t always judge based on the double barrel name, in this case, the stereotype is painfully accurate. The hyper-womansplaining title of the article alone lets you know where this is going: 10 Commandments for Male Clergy.
Before we go any further, just think about that. Do you think that Duke would ever publish an article by a man called: 10 Commandments for Female Clergy? You know they wouldn’t. That’s because Duke and the wider progressive movement in the Anglo-Saxon world have bought into the myth that it’s impossible to discriminate against men but that all women in the Western world are constantly subjected to oppressive everyday sexism. By embracing this narrative, outrageously rude articles like Melissa's can be published by what is supposed to be a reputable institution. Let’s look at some of these commandments that Melissa says men should obey.
Decline to purchase books written by men who exclude women from the pulpit.
Thou shalt not doubt me when I say something is sexist.
That’s right. Not only are we not allowed to read what we want, we’re not allowed to doubt a woman in any discussion about sexism. She speaks, you listen. Mansplaining is a crime but femsplaining is perfectly legitimate. Something is sexist if I say it is. Can this work both ways? How would a woman feel if a man commanded her ‘Don’t doubt me when I say…’. A line like this would never be allowed in print if it were going in the other direction. This is because theological Feminism doesn’t care about equality. They want to talk down to men – something this article demonstrates brilliantly. And if you doubt that, consider the next commandment:
Thou shalt believe women when they say things.
I didn’t make that up. It’s really there. Not only can we not read or doubt, now we can’t even think for ourselves. If a woman says something, it must be believed! Should I also believe all the godly, Biblical women who would say this article is lunacy? Or do you mean only Feminist women?
Once again, can you imagine a male clergyman writing this to women? Ladies, always believe it when a man tells you something. There would be a progressive outcry. Starbucks would be trashed. People would march wearing those ridiculous vagina hats on their heads. But because it’s a woman writing it to men, Duke University prints it as being perfectly acceptable. Then there is this commandment:
Thou shalt not joke about my having “lost a lot of weight” since you last saw me -- even if I’ve had a baby.
On one level, this is reasonable and good. If you were raised in a home where you were taught good manners, you were instructed never to joke about a woman’s weight. Good. But read the context of the article. Our dear Melissa is writing an article about how women clergy should be treated more like male clergy. Do you think we male clergy ever joke about each other’s weight? Every damn time we get together. I can’t think of a time we ministers haven’t met at a restaurant or buffet and haven’t made fun of one of our brethren and his need for ‘more fasting’. This is how men treat other men. I don’t think a man should joke about a woman’s weight – but I’m not a Feminist so I’m not the one arguing that men and women should be treated the same.
And this is the dilemma for Feminism. We want to be treated the same as men… but we don’t. Treat us just like men… but only in the areas we tell you to. In some ways, our Melissa is admitting a weakness – or at least a difference. It’s ok for male clergy to joke and banter each other – but we ladies of the cloth are too fragile to take it.
What is the way forward? For one, men must do better.
That’s right: it's men. Ministry is hard and we need someone to blame. Men are fair game. Let’s call it ‘the Patriarchy’. It’s their fault I don't feel successful.
Duke, it’s you that ‘must do better’. You’ve embarrassed yourself.