I believe in reconciliation. I believe in trusting each of us to our own journey and walk with Jesus. I believe in peace. [That said, check out Sarah Bessey for her own take on the hashtag- which she started- and her take on the difference between peace-keeping and peace-making, below.]
To each our own. Live and let live. Don't make secondary things primary things. But what of when the theologies are damaging?
I'm not one to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Yes, by all means, let's linger here a moment, let's not be hasty-- get that baby safely dried off-- but then that bathwater has simply got to go.
These women contributing to #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear are opening up about the wounds the collective Church has caused them. (That is- the capital C- Church, as well as, often enough, specific church communities and church people.)
I share some of these wounds. These wounds, for some, include being denied or limited in their calling to preach. To some reading, I'm sure that sounds unimportant and like a power-grab-- like these women are just after authority. And to others, that may sound like it's simply sin-- that a woman can't be called to these levels of ministry. I'm not here to debate that (and my feelings on it are more complex than you'd likely assume). But consider, prayerfully, how you might feel if you felt God calling you to something and the Church (or church) said "no."
But there is other damage here, too. I bear my own scars of having the Sword wielded against me. Having been a Christian for approximately 25 years, I've only recently made peace with Paul.
Yes, for nearly my whole life, I've held a grudge against the writer of 30% of the New Testament (according to some statistics).
Now, I've come to terms with Paul. After years of having his words used against me, I've come to believe that he never meant the things his words have been said to mean. I now see the beauty and freedom in his words. And, admittedly, I'm a little annoyed at how much time Paul and I lost because of the lies I was told and the wounds I was inflicted with. That theology hindered me. It hindered my understanding of Jesus. It hindered my vision of the wholeness and oneness and consistency of the Bible. It was misused.
Is not this, potentially, also the kind of thing Paul meant when he wrote for us not to cause a brother-- or sister-- to stumble?
These are secondary issues, not primary ones, in our faith. And that's often used as an argument for leaving things well enough alone. But the Jesus I know isn't about the status quo-- the Jesus I know sent a woman to preach good news on Easter morning.
A friend of mine (and co-founder of the Center for Inclusivity) also pointed out that it is not only Christian women that hear these things. I'm sure that's often true. We need to open dialogues with women of other religious backgrounds too-- we're often facing the same things: in and out of the church, and no matter what kind of place of worship one attends. But right now, I think this is a start. The focus is that these are things Christian women hear, not Christian men. And it's why the Church needs feminism. It's why the world continues to need feminism. Even in America. Even in 2017.