My Response to #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear


Disclaimer: First off, I apologize for the crappy writing/grammar in this blog. It was written super late last night and I may have been half asleep while typing most of this. 😉

This week there have been two major trends on social media for the Christian audience. It started with Sarah Bessey tweeting using the “ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear” tag on Twitter and it snowballed from there – giving voice to thousands of Christian women. You can read some of them here. The tag was a place for Christian women to post statements or ideas that churches, Christian parents, Christian men, and bad Scripture interpretation has put on them.

For those of you who know me you would know there is no way I was sitting this one out! While I scrolled through the feed I saw 4 recurring themes/4  messages that seemed to be the most common things women have experienced.

  1. Christian women have been told (or it has been implied) that they are responsible if their clothing choices cause a man to “stumble”.

My response: Women are not responsible for a man’s choices. A man has the option to look away or leave the room if he is unable to control himself. I am not responsible for your sin. Women in Pakistan are covered from head to toe and are still raped, abused, and treated as whores. As a Christian woman I do my best to dress in a way that would be honoring to God yet I have been told by Christian men that my shirt was too tight around my breasts (which I cannot help!). I have a friend who wore a dress just above her knees and a Christian man told her , “you’re not allowed to get mad if a bunch of men check out your legs”.  Men, you are NOT slaves to your sex drives – contrary to what you have been taught, told by the entertainment industry, etc. “Boys will be boys” doesn’t apply to grown men objectifying, clothing shaming, and victimizing women.

Be like Job. “”I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job made a covenant…it wasn’t dependant on how a woman was dressed.

  1. Christian women have been told they cannot preach, teach, or lead in churches and that if they do it will only be to kids or other women.

My response (well, not MINE):

http://juniaproject.com/1-timothy-2-does-not-ban-women-teaching-having-authority/

http://juniaproject.com/1-timothy-pauls-language-original-context/

http://juniaproject.com/4-truths-about-women-in-the-church/

  1. Christian women have been raped, abused, assaulted, and taken advantage of by male pastors and leaders. Most of these women were asked to leave the church or they were told (or it was implied) that they must have done something that made the “man of God” fall into sin and therefore it was their fault.

My response: You are only responsible for you. If you willing went into an affair with a married man (regardless of his position) you AND HE are at fault.

However, this is not usually the case in the church. I have met women who were seduced by their pastors taking advantage of their position. I read an article about a 16 year old girl who was assaulted by her youth pastor and she was blamed and told “she must have done something to lead him on”. Natalie Greenfield’s testimony will blow your mind and you can read about it here. Many women sharing their stories of abuse were forced into a sexual relationship or were flat out abused. I saw quite a few tweets where women who had come forward about their abuse were told, “He’s the Pastor and a man of God, he wouldn’t do that” or “He’s a good guy! Why would you want to publically humiliate him like this”.

Often these women are asked to leave the church while the offender is not.

  1. A woman’s “greatest calling” in life is to be a mother and wife.

This is a tricky one. For many women, this IS the greatest calling. There are women who feel they were created to be a mom and wife and they absolutely love it. Which is awesome and you are amazing! But, what about all the women who don’t get married or have kids? Or, the women who cannot have kids? Or, the women who choose to stay celibate? Or, the women who haven’t found a husband yet? We are not missing out on God’s “greatest call” on our lives by not having a husband or kids. While that is true for some it is not true for all. We have to be careful not to make people who don’t have husbands or kids feel like they are less than. I have seen way too many times women who are single be asked, “when are you getting married” or told “your window for having babies is getting closer to closing”. Women are more than wives and mothers. We are human beings all with unique callings, giftings, talents, etc. If a woman wants to work full time, she should. If she wants to be a stay at home mom, she should. While being a mom or wife may feel like the best and most important thing for some – it doesn’t (and doesn’t need to) for every woman.

The second trend that started was in response to the first and it is, #ThingsChristianWomenShouldHear and I am not positive who started it but it is filled with amazing responses to the first tag. Seeing men standing up, speaking out, and advocating for equality for women in the church, marriage, ministry, society, etc was a breath of fresh air. You can see some of these here. I am grateful for the men who are using their privilege to speak out alongside women.

Seeing thousands of women (and men) drawing attention to these issues, bravely calling out bad behavior/double standards/sexism inside the church, and sharing their stories so publically gave me hope. Seeing thousands of men and women partnering together for equality for women in Christian culture warmed my soul.

Don’t stop speaking out. Don’t stop sharing your stories. They are important. You are important.

We are stronger together.

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12 thoughts on “My Response to #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Kindly and respectfully, it is possible to purchase shirts that are not tight. I am, I guess larger breasted and I have been able to find shirts that are not tight. I’m not trying to be mean, but you said you cannot help it if your shirt is too tight, but yes, you can — there are plenty of places where you can by shirts that are not too tight. Also – yes of course men definitely have the option to leave if they see someone dressed inappropriately, but as a Christian woman, I would prefer for church to be a place where they can stay and not have to leave. I try to follow the rule – “Would I wear this if I met Jesus today?” Would I want my daughter to wear this if she were to meet Jesus?” Obviously, we would not be wearing short skirts and spaghetti straps if we were going to meet Jesus. Thanks for reading my comment and have a great day!!! 🙂

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    1. Hi Rachel, Thanks for taking the time to read this post and share your thoughts.
      As a plus size women who is heavy chested unless I wear shirts that are ill-fitting everywhere else (and don’t make me feel confident or feel comfortable) there have been times I have had to wear a shirt that was a TINY bit tight (but not inappropriate).
      I don’t think Jesus is concerned with if a girl is wearing a strappy short or short shorts. I think he is more concerned with our hearts 🙂
      I have been accused of being immodest while wearing jeans and a loose t-shirt. I’ve been told my shirts are too low by older women. I have learned that I dress in such a way that I feel is modest as well as honoring to God – I feel like that looks differently to each woman.
      At the end of the day, men ARE responsible for their own eyes, minds, and hearts. I mean women shouldn’t be blamed. Women in the Middle East are covered from head to toe and men still lust after, rape, and abuse them. It is a heart problem. I know lots of men who follow the Job example: “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. -Job 31:1”. We are each accountable for ourselves. If I choose to wear something I know the Holy Spirit is telling me is not a good choice, that’s on me. I cannot be responsible for every man that looks at (or makes raunchy jokes about) my breasts. Most Puerto Rican women (like me) are naturally super curvy and we shouldn’t have to hide our natural bodies curves with ill-fitting, ugly, or super loose clothes just so we ensure no man will ever look at us with lust. Men get to choose. Looking is not sin- a man can’t help where his eyes land. But, what he does next is on him. He can look away and take control of his mind (which, we have the mind of Christ as Christians so we are able to take control of those thoughts) or he can choose to allow lust to set in his heart.

      Just my two cents 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I would TOTALLY be wearing a spaghetti strap to meet Jesus; I love how comfortable they are, and it would be the one time I wouldn’t have to hesitate before taking it out of my closet, worrying about the inevitable judgmentalism and/or ogling.

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    3. ‘Spaghetti straps’?? In Australia you can barely buy anything else in summer. No one could care less about straps, exvept to the extent that they don’t protect one from sunburn.

      Skirt length has variety but very few people care about the length as well, unless your knickers are clearly visible or something like that. My point? Clothing choice, and clothing policing is clearly cultural. As a 50 year old woman I wouldn’t at all be concerned about meeting Jesus in spaghetti straps. In fact I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be thinking about clothing at all.

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      1. Oh, and although I don’t wear short skirts – because I don’t like skirts in general – I have plenty of pairs of short shorts which I would be quite happy to greet Jesus in.

        Long shorts (and skirts!) are not comfortable on my shape: large thighs, smaller waist, can’t lift/stretch out legs in long shorts and my thighs rub together in skirts/dresses. But guess what? This is the shape God gave me! Clothing is dictated by fashion but I am old enough not to care about that. Jesus knows, and I’m absolutely certain he couldn’t care less either.

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  2. Sierra, LOVE the article!! And excellent point about “modesty” in response to the first comment. Completely agree with your thoughts and would like to add… #1 Men are not animals. If a women is naked, that does not mean you have to lust. You are an adult. You can and SHOULD control your thoughts. This type of thinking leads to rape culture. Women’s bodies are not inherently sinful or wrong. It does NOT matter what a women is wearing. I repeat: it does NOT and will NEVER matter what a women is wearing. If a man is going to sin against her in his heart, he will do it regardless of the clothing she is wearing. (See Sierra’s comment above re: women in other cultures who are frequently raped and abused, and yet covered head to toe. This also goes for my experience in fundamentalism. End of story. #2 Modesty is subjective. What you think is modest may not be what I think is modest. What one culture views as modest is not what another culture views as modest. It is ridiculous to label “spaghetti straps” as immodest for all women, simply because that is your personal view. I’ve included two EXCELLENT articles here on this subject.https://spokenofthesoul.com/2015/03/02/modest-is-not-hottest/ http://qideas.org/articles/modesty-i-dont-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means/?im=%2Fimages%2Fmade%2Fimages%2Fuploads%2FModesty_Rag_1_1024_600_80_c1.jpg #3 Of course I would go to meet Jesus in spaghetti straps and shorts!! I would and DO meet with Jesus in a bikini. I meet with Him in the shower! I meet with Him in the clothes I wear to work! I meet with Him in my pajamas. He is ALWAYS with me. He created my body and He delights in me and my communion with Him. I have no shame in the presence of Christ. Nor should I. ❤

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  3. If we want to be imitators of God and ambassadors for Christ, we can remember how Samuel got schooled by the good lord:

    1 Samuel 16 6 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is before Him.” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

    I am thankful that so many Christians have said so many awful things to me … because it shows me their journey and where they are on it. I am even more thankful for the red letters in the scripture, because it shows me what it looks like to be farther ahead in the journey. Jesus’ words are nourishing. Jesus tells us to feed and heal people. Are your words nourishing and healing? Do your words make people stronger and safer? Or do they reinforce things that Jesus never talked about anyway…

    Liked by 1 person

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