Last night there was some pushback following the #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear from a woman on Twitter – a few statements that went public very quickly. The statements (basically) said the hashtag was “a megaphone for bitterness”, the words being posted wouldn’t “reconcile the wrong”, “winsome always wins”, and that this should all be “confronted privately” inside the churches, and if not either “stay or go serve at a different church” – as though it is just that easy. For one thing, standing up for yourself or other women doesn’t make you angry or bitter. Second, it makes you an amazing person for standing up for others.
For anyone who knows me, you know I have no problem having uncomfortable conversations and I have no problem talking about women’s issues in a public forum. I had a lot of issues with these statements and the shame it was bringing down on women who were (for many, finally) speaking out and being vocal about the patriarchal, sexist, and misogyny the majority of women are facing in the American church. Social Media is a powerful tool for drawing attention to issues like this and the tag #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear brought a lot of attention to the double standards, sexism, and patriarchy inside the Body of Christ – all things that need dealt with and addressed publically – not in private confrontation.
Here is my response to the original poster on why “winsome” doesn’t always win and “private confrontation” isn’t going to change things for women as a whole.
I was asked to compile my Twitter thread into a post for easier reading for those not on Twitter. So, here it is. It is choppy because Twitter only allows each post to have 140 characters.
Winsome: attractive or appealing in appearance or character. For starters, I don’t want to be “winsome” about abuse or patriarchy.
There is nothing “winsome” about women who are being abused in churches, told to be sit down/be quiet, or passed over for men.
When we try to be “winsome” about patriarchy and church abuse we are trying to make it less of a deal than it is, less controversial.
Also, telling women to deal with their experiences in private is shaming and lets those inflicting patriarchial systems off the hook.
There are times, yes, for private confrontation. But, let’s be honest, women have been speaking out on this for a while now w/out change.
I’ve seen too many women labeled “Jezebels”, “disciplined” by leadership, and asked to leave churches following “quiet confrontation”.
The Church needs a wake-up call. We are past the time of “quiet confrontation” in the church. We need action. No more silencing women.
No more “Jezebel” labels. No more telling women we’re just “being too sensitive/emotional” & “God said women can’t pastor, teach, lead”.
Church, it is time for you to listen. It is time for you to stop enforcing tradition that is not backed up by the Word of God.
It is time for women to be welcomed & celebrated at the table. To take the seats God had originally intended for us to fill.
Men, it is time for you to open your hearts up to the fact that women calling out patriarchy in the church are not a threat to you.
Women are not “man haters” when we call out sexism, unfair treatment, & abuse in the church. We are not angry when we speak loudly.
We are (centuries) past the time for “quietly/privately confronting” the un-Christlike sexist & patriarchal systems in our churches.
We shouldn’t need 2 be “winsome” to be taken seriously, listened to, or validated in the things posted in
We are your friends, your wives, your sisters, your mothers, your daughters. We need you to listen, truly hear us, and make room for us.
#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear should sadden you, it should break your heart. If you’re not affected by the abuse/mistreatment of you rsisters in Christ in the Church then you need to check your heart. God wept & ached 4 every woman in #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear tag.
I implore you, brothers, to listen to us, to welcome us. To see our hearts ache & longing 2 be truly accepted & equally part of the Body.
I cannot be silent or “winsome” about this.
#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear is too important, too heartbreaking, too real for most of us.
I will not sit back and watch the silencing, abuse, and shaming of my sisters any longer. I will not be winsome.
I won’t sit back while women in the church are brainwashed into believing patriarchy in marriage/church is God’s plan for women & men.
I will not watch another woman called “Director” or “Coordinator” while her husband doing the same work is a “Pastor”.
I can’t watch another woman who calls out patriarchy in the church called a Jezebel. I can’t watch another WOC passed over or denied.
I will not “quietly/privately confront” sexism, patriarchy, or abuse in our churches. I will not be winsome. Winsome doesn’t always win.
Private conversations & being overly careful of not hurting men’s feelings hasn’t worked so, yes, we are past quietly confronting.
Winsome and quiet haven’t worked yet. So, now, we get loud & make some noise. And, it is working.
#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear is giving a voice to many women & we won’t be bullied by other women into silence or submission. We’re taking our place as equal partners.
You wouldn’t tell a man to be winsome or privately confront. Don’t tell women to either.