Wednesday, April 06, 2011

On Women

There have been a myriad of posts about women in the bibliosphere over the last week or so. I have also just finished reading Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and it has lead me to think a lot about what we should be doing in the west in order to foster better circumstances for women in other countries. I found one answer in Daniel Kirk's thoughtful review here and here of Half the Church by Carolyn Custis James.

I had been thinking that perhaps women have it so well in the west that we should just be grateful for what we do have, and concentrate on how one can contribute to improving things for women in other parts of the world. I was thinking that perhaps continuing to fight for equality in the context of the North American church was trivial in comparison to what is going on elsewhere. Perhaps even counter productive. However, Daniel Kirk writes,
As James’ own stories show, failure to ordain women, failure to treat women as equal, is not good news to women. The church in North America will fail to be the champion of justice for women as long as it continues to teach, preach, and embody the very patriarchal system that creates the injustices she has denounced around the world. This book is about the unimpeachable, biblical importance of women–but, I fear, only for the 2/3 world “out there”, not the 1/3 or the 1% who are subjected to the power of patriarchal systems here at home.
So perhaps, on the other hand, it is important to continue to champion equality in the church for women here in North America, as an important factor which can influence equality for women elsewhere. Perhaps, if the church in the west recognizes women as truly equal, rather than uniquely destined for submission, we can rise above Islam in a significant way. I don't want some man in another country saying to his wife "see, even in America, women have to submit."

Craig is offering a giveaway copy of Half the Church. Go here for the rules. I know most of them are impossible for me but have a try.

In the same week, TC has also blogged about women preachers, and Jennifer mentioned her own post on this topic. If you are a woman in ministry, or hoping to be so, this post is for you. I hope that Shirley and Jennifer read each others blogs. No one brings more passion to this topic than Shirley.

At the same time, the issue of female bibliobloggers has come up again. Kurk has blogged about it here, here, here and here. Rod of Alexandria starts a campaign for more women bibliobloggers. I also shake my head in bewilderment as I see my name among the top ten bibliobloggers by vote again. Thank you so much. You know who you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning me! I have not read Shirley's blog, but I now have it open in another tab and plan to read it after finishing this note -- thank you!

And thank you for bring attention to the inequity both here and in other parts of the world. I certainly am thankful for the freedoms we do have. And I am praying for the day when women everywhere have an equal voice.

Muff Potter said...

Any society that does not recognize the elemental and primal power of women to effect change in that society for the better, will find the road harder to traverse.

Vo Nguyen Giap understood this in his struggle against the French colonialists long before the Americans came.

One of the deciding factors that enabled a nation of rice farmers and water buffalo to defeat the most powerful military force the world has ever known, was the blurring of traditional gender roles.

Suzanne McCarthy said...


Thanks for your comment. I was not aware of that.

R.A. said...

It is also interesting to note that as sex-trafficking gets a firmer grip on our globe, one of the top 3 destinations for forced prostitution is North America. In Sweden they passed a law making it illegal to buy or sell a prostitute (but not illegal to BE the prostitute) in order to put the onus on the perpetrators, rather than the victims, of human trafficking. One of the leaders of that movement, when describing the steps it took to get there, said that it would be hard to accomplish something like that in a country like America because of our patriachical society. I was immediately offended, but on further reflection realized she was right! After all, we produce more than 10 times the amount of porn per year than any other country! If we can change things HERE then we can change the world.

linda said...

hi. i was looking for some history on christian feminism and came across your blog. feel free to check us out at the US group blog: christian feminism (just click on my name)