The fuzzy cocoon

There are two sides to the equality issue – those who believe women can and those who believe women can’t. Both sides are passionate, equally so, I assume.   But the message and its delivery is very different.

For instance, when men and women argue for equality of men and women based on their gifts rather than their gender, they are not seeking to hurt or harm anyone.  But when men and women argue against women having equality in the church and home, they are seeking to oppress women.

It completely astounds me how pastors can say that they never even think of this.  Women will say that they never thought that their church is practicing bigotry and discrimination against them. When they enter the cocoon of the church building, the warm and fuzzy inside draws them in and they ignore the hard shell around them.

The hard shell says that just because they are women, the little boy fighting with his brother in the next pew is better than women are, and that little boy is better than his mother is, because he has the potential someday to be a deacon or to be a pastor.  That position has to be better, because it is a denied to women.  If it weren’t better, it wouldn’t be denied to anybody based upon their gender alone. It would be based on their calling and spiritual gifts.

“But it doesn’t mean that men are better than women, it just means that we have different roles.” 

Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands! What ignorance! What arrogance! Different roles, for Pete’s sake!

Of course we have different roles because we are all different! BUT we do not have spiritual roles assigned to us in the Bible because one is a man and one is a woman.  Ok. Women have babies and men father babies.  That is not a role.  That is a biological fact.  It is also not a spiritual role.

Role becomes a dirty word only when it is used to limit what women can do in the church and in the home. Unfortunately, that is the only meaning ‘role’ has today in the Christian realm.

A role entails acting a part because you are better suited than the other person to do something outside of nature.   Nature is not a role. Nature is real.

A role is an assignment given to you by someone.  The church has this little cluster of roles.  And look who they dish out the roles to.  Men get to be a deacon and preach and pastor.  Women get to be children’s director or minister.  Nothing wrong with a woman being a children’s minister or director, if she could ever get to be a deacon or pastor, or be ordained into the ministry, it would be ok.  But she can’t.  She can’t

The pastors and the church members don’t even think about it.  Walk into church.  Safe and warm in the fuzzy cocoon.  When you emerge, you will not be changed.  You have a role to play, and no matter what your spiritual gifts are, your role has already been determined, not by God, but by the members of your church.

If you are tired of the warm and fuzzy role you are limited to, then you must speak out.  You must break out of the cocoon. You must speak out.  Join us in speaking out for women’s equality in the church.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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26 Responses to The fuzzy cocoon

  1. EricW says:

    Sometimes I just want to throw up my hands!

    When it comes to Complementarian arguments and reasoning, sometimes I just want to throw up.

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  2. Temperance says:

    Everyone I have tried to make this point to fails or refuses to see the emotional harm that gender roles inflicts. People in church are determined to keep their blinders on. They want to believe this is what’s best for all of us and will protect us from sin. But that’s a lie. Abuse, adultery and divorce are still rampant in my church and I suspect every other church also. When you force people to be something they’re not, it only creates new problems it doesn’t solve any.

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  3. Mabel says:

    We need to constantly harp on this because there is still an avalanche of voices that repeat the party line: men/women R equal, they just have different “roles”. If it takes us a thousand times to point out how ridiculous that is, we will say/explain/refute it a thousand times. Like I said, Wayne Grudem lists 80+ ministries where women can, maybe can, most likely can, cannot, maybe should not, definitely cannot, do, based on a sliding scale of how much “authority” that ministry has. That “role” card is about one thing only: male authority.

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  4. txbyrd says:

    I don’t see being in a church that denies equality to women as a “warm and fuzzy” place. I see it as a stultifying, smothering, hurtful, death dealing place. How anyone could want to be in such a place is just beyond my comprehension. And yet I know intellectually that there actually are women who like the idea of someone else taking all the responsibility. Unfortunately, sadly, tragically it won’t do them any good when they stand before God to answer for their lives and say, “Ask the men, they were my spiritual leaders, it was their responsibility, not mine.” I think waking up the women has to come first, even before the men who want to have power and control over everyone, because it is the women who have the most to lose. If only they could see …

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    • It is comfortable. Most women who go to church do not want to be a pastor (and will even declare that if a woman preaches they will not go there), and most women don’t want to be a deacon (just as most men don’t). So they put their head in the sand and believe that their church loves them just as much as the church loves the men. Because they want to believe it, and because they don’t want to do anything else. They have a warm and fuzzy feeling because the church brings in women inspirational speakers, and give them a flower on Mother’s Day, and makes hollow jokes about how great they are. But they are being misled.

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      • Michelle says:

        Re: Most women not wanting to be pastors, deacons, elders
        Yes! I think you’re right about that! What about the women who *are* so called? The christian church is sadly lacking in empathy.

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      • In their desire to keep women from tainting their church by being deacons, pastors, they fail to see that they themselves are being discriminated against. They think that it is just those who think they are ‘called.’

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      • Michelle says:

        Yes, you may be right that they think that only those power-hungry, self-absorbed, wanna-be-men women who think they are called to pastor, etc., are the only ones being discriminated against.

        My point is that even if the women who want their leadership calling recognized by their church *were* the only ones being discriminated against, my understanding of being christlike is that *that* would be *enough* for them to act. If we’re being christlike, we should not have to be personally, directly affected by injustice to fight against it. Empathy.

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    • Michelle says:

      I don’t know…it’s kind of a warm and fuzzy place where discrimination is allowed, because I know a number of women who have more…feminist views (and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense in the least) about injustices *outside* the church.

      Yet they continue week after week to sit in a church that communicates to all of the people there that women are worth less to God than men are, that God doesn’t think as much of women, that God doesn’t value women as much as men–despite the Orwellian language used there (oh, you’re equal in *being*!) in an attempt to cloak these messages. And they don’t question it, largely IMO because doing so is framed as questioning the authority of the Bible, which is equated with not being Christian (basically).

      Maybe it’s warm and fuzzy toward the existence of sexism?

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  5. Temperance says:

    When I try to point out to people the emotional harm that gender roles inflict they fail or refuse to see it. The Christians I know want to believe that it is for the best and protects us from sin. But that is a lie. Forcing people to be something they’re not causes more problems than it solves. In my church, abuse, adultery, and divorce are still rampant, and no one talks about it. And when they do, their solution is to push people harder and impose more rules. Their system doesn’t seem to be working too well from what I can see.

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  6. Temperance says:

    Sorry for the double post I thought my phone messed up and the first one didn’t go through

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  7. krwordgazer says:

    I think it’s warm and fuzzy because women are told, “You are a precious thing to be protected and kept safe. That is why we must be in charge of you– to protect you.” So the woman feels valued for being precious, and that keeps her from seeing that she is not free.

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  8. tommy9999 says:

    Shirely:

    Do you believe it is going to take some “Rosa Parks” to bring about the change of women in the church from being told to sit in the back of the bus to where God tells them to sit?

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    • When I worked for BGCT I was helping at a woman’s conference. This was before I began this ministry and when my awareness of the inequality of women was forming. I told my co-worker “It will take a woman who is “in your face” to bring about equality.” Little did I know that I would begin a ministry that does just that. I am not a Rosa Parks. But I have demanded an Apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, two years ago on July 24, 2010. That demand is in the Southern Baptist Library and Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, along with my newsletters and booklet “Dethroning Male Headship because it doesn’t have a leg to stand on.” Someday when people ask “why didn’t someone speak up?” they will see that someone did. I have aligned more closely with Christians for Biblical Equality now, and the CBE Houston Chapter will be holding our first public meeting June 23, 2012. We have some things planned to do. We’ve heard the speeches. We know the scriptures. Now is the time for planned action. Please pray for us.

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  9. Temperance says:

    It’s a warm and fuzzy cocoon for women because it gives us an exuse to hide behind men and not take any risks or responsibilities. It feels safe and familiar. We have been told to be followers, not initiators and that we need men to take care of us. We have basically have been told to ignore our own alarm system that something’s not right. It can get really comfortable to let someone else do everything for you and fight all your battles for you. But that comfort comes at too high a price. Being stripped of your true identity, giving someone else control of your life is like death. It’s suffocating.

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  10. tommy9999 says:

    In the Southern Baptist world the only real role for a woman is that of a stepford wife–how totally insulting.

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  11. pnissila says:

    In response to a couple of posts, above, that refer to the emotional harm that can befall women (and girls) raised in a system where women are not allowed full expression of their equality in Christ Jesus, may I share a recent post on my blog with you? It is about something called a “cold threat,” a term that comes from my sister who is on the medical staff of a hospital for the criminally insane. Cold threats are implied threats, just as “hot threats” (as they are called in that setting) are blatant threats. When she explained this concept to me, I saw the application in churches where women are regarded as inferior because of their gender, and I saw the kind of emotional, if not physical and psychological, harm that various types of cold threats can do there. I have given several examples from various kinds of patriarchal/now called complementarianism type churches and some encouragement and resources as well. Here is my post: http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/on-cold-threats-against-women-in-extra-biblical-patriarchycomplementarianism-epc-groups/

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    • Welcome! Thank you for joining us! I read your post and encourage all my readers to read it. You say it very well. I also want to thank you for your link to my post where I demand an apology from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood. This July 24 is the 2 year anniversary of that demand and I am devoting July to a series “Let Freedom Ring” which celebrates that.

      I would like to direct you to another blogger, Wiley Clarkson. He is Church of Christ and we feel there are great things toward women’s equality happening in their churches. He was on the steering team for our CBE Houston Conference we held in April. He blogs at http://www.wherethespiritleads.org. We link hands and join our hands, our hearts and our prayers with each other as we strive toward equality with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

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      • pnissila says:

        I will check out Wiley’s site. I am just four months into blogging, and even though I had been researching long before this on several topics close to my heart (emergent church, postmodernism, what Roman Catholicism is up to these days, etc.) I feel as if a whole ‘nother world has opened up. I’ve also been publishing inspirationals and devotionals in the Christian markets, for years, however, the lead time between a “sale” and publication can be up to two years and there’s not much feedback. I much prefer blogging! And my ministry is sans pay (I have paying gigs), so that really frees me up while also causing a great sense of accountability to the integrity of the Word of God as well as to my editing skills :). Fortunately, my sisters are wonderful editors and discerners.

        This “new church” of nearby friends (and my own sisters) and fellow believers in the blogosphere has been/is amazing. Once one of my sisters and I stopped trying to find a basic, Bible believing fellowship in our area ( a quest of which I wrote on my blog, and one I talked about on Rapture Ready Radio’s “Afterglow” program in May…one of the hosts, Vince Tarquini, is my old boss in the cult ministry), it is as if the Lord opened up big doors of ministry and fellowship for us. We are so grateful. Incidentally, our area in the Pacific Northwest has long been regarded as the least churched area of the nation as well as a sort of mecca for every abberrant kind of apostate religion and belief system. So our search of several years was harder than most people’s.

        I also wonder if another Seneca Falls conference is in the future? I listened to most of the videos and read a lot of the posts on the one in 2012. Some of the apologetics are amazing…so much of where the Holy Spirit has lead me as well, but I’m not an apologist, per say, so the research was a huge blessing.
        Phyllis

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      • Let me introduce you to Cindy Kunsman. She blogs http://www.undermuchgrace.com and has a great knowledge of cults and apologetics. She was a speaker at our conference. There is not another Seneca Falls conference in the works at this time.

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      • pnissila says:

        I have actually been working my way through her blog! Very, very good information there. I also watched her videos from the conference.

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      • We all are saying essentially the same thing, but in a different way. We bring our own personalities and experiences to the table. For instance, I have never had the experiences of many of the bloggers for women’s equality. I have been married 50 years to a loving husband, have never been called to preach, or wanted to be a deacon, and the only cult that I know is Baptists (LOL). God awakened in me the desire to get this message out, using the abilities that He has given me.

        I call to action. I want my readers to have the same passion that I have for women’s equality. I want them to speak up. I want to empower and encourage them to make a difference. Discussion serves a point, but is not the final destination.

        Thank you for joining us.

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      • pnissila says:

        Fifty years! Congrats to you both! It will be 42 for my husband and me this month. I grew up in Roman Catholicism (including twelve years of Catholic schools), so I can relate to many, many aspects of cults. I got caught up in a couple of wrong teachings “for about twenty minutes” many years ago. Working in the cult ministry enabled me to recover from the bondages of Catholicism as well as to see more clearly the errors of the two other movements: Word Faith and the Wimber Healing of Memories. My husband and I came out of Catholicism at different times and came to the Lord at different times. But here we are and enjoying the fruit of maturing in the Lord and plain old maturing. Interestingly, the most successful long term marriages I know of pretty much have nothing to do with the patriachy/complementarianism teachings. Hmmmm…wonder if…..;).
        Phyllis

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