“The Help” rings a bell

It seems unlikely that in a few generations many will support today’s LCA (Lutheran Church of Australia) notion that women cannot be called and equipped by God for ministry. The rest of the Church will look back in sadness and regret that women were so poorly treated. They will wonder at the inhumanity of the Church and, most likely, consider that they would never have participated in such systemic oppression of women.

So begins Katie and Martin’s blog story “Its easy to spot injustice and oppression in history.

I don’t know if Katie and Martin have seen “The Help” yet, but I found great parallels to our situation today and to the story as told in the movie.

It was all so normal.  Even I thought so.  When I was just a kid I remember getting on the Greyhound bus to go to another city.  I was first on, and I heard my mother behind me say “Don’t go to the back.”  I looked toward the back of the bus and saw a sea of black faces.

There were no black children in school with me, and the theater balconies were reserved for the blacks.  We knew which water fountains whites drank out of, and we knew which restrooms were off limits to our black citizens. 

As the audience of “The Help” clapped when a white woman got her comeuppance, and as they gasped when the black maids were mistreated, I couldn’t help thinking that many of the people in this movie theater had probably been taught that same way about blacks when they were growing up.

We know now that it was wrong.  Did we know it then?  I don’t think we did.  It was just the way it was. 

Someday people will be sitting in church, and hear about how women used to be treated by the church in that a woman could not be a deacon, or preach, or take up the offering, or – glory be – pass out visitor cards.   

As they said, it is easy to spot injustice in history, but what if our story was being told now?  Many, many women go to church each Sunday, and take a seat and feel that everything is normal.  They have never seen women taking up the offering, never heard a woman say a verbal prayer, never saw women teaching men and adult boys, and in some churches, the women have never gone to church business meetings.  These women feel perfectly normal.  It is if they have entered into another zone – a zone where women leave behind their completeness, and accept a lesser role when they walk into the door.

Just as Aibileen and Minny the maids did when they walked inside the white woman’s doors.

It doesn’t have to be this way! It takes a voice.  It takes your voice. Will you join me in speaking up for the maids today who walk into their church and immediately become people  who cannot serve the Lord in the same way that the males of their church can?

About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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6 Responses to “The Help” rings a bell

  1. Kristen says:

    Shirley, your last couple of posts have put it so well, it’s hard to think of anything to add.

    Just thought I’d let you know that my lack of response wasn’t lack of agreement!


  2. Marg says:

    I agree with Kristen.

    I really enjoyed this post especially: Well written, insightful and inspiring.


  3. Mara says:

    Just wanted to chime in that I’ve been very busy, not even writing on my own blog. But I’m still out here, reading where I can and I appreciate all those who are still blogging and commenting.


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