One woman’s story about experiencing sexual abuse and sexism in the #ChurchToo, and how learning about consent from Jesus can show us how to reclaim our God-given bodily agency and have healthy relationships.
Instead of allowing fairy tales to reinforce gender stereotypes, Christians can use them as an opportunity to show girls how they can live out the calling of all followers of Christ to follow in his footsteps.
She should never be silenced; she should be heard and believed. This will teach her that God hears her. She should never be judged for her upbringing or education. She should be loved and cared for as a child of God.
As egalitarians, we must acknowledge the extra difficulties we are currently experiencing on top of the usual challenges of working toward mutuality in a culture which seems to assume traditional gender roles.
“Healthy” is not exactly the adjective I would match with the word “sexuality,” especially when it comes to the ways the church and Christians have portrayed and lived out what we believe about sex these past few centuries.
God called Mary to something much greater than her social location. I find it comforting to note that she was called “highly favored” before she said yes to God. It wasn’t her obedience that made her highly favored.
My elementary school music teacher once asked us to count the beats in a measure of music. She ignored not only my hand, but also the hands of several other female students around me, saying, “Boys you’re supposed to be good at math. I’ll wait for one of you to answer.”
Female students at my evangelical university experienced both misogyny and racism. We were asked to conform to impossible standards. And we are not the only ones to struggle against injustice in the classroom. Women and girls all over the world face bias in school. From primary school to undergraduate to seminary, the system is not built for us.
A few weeks ago, I was in Sofia, Bulgaria, for a day. I stopped for about twelve hours between night buses to see the sights, including a beautiful, vibrant mosque near the center of town. I did some online research on dress protocol beforehand: cover your skin, wear something on your head, take your shoes off. Nothing unexpected. I had a scarf and a maxi skirt in my backpack for this purpose. I was happy to be respectful, and excited for a new experience. I arrived at the mosque, circled around to the front, and . . . walked away. I felt nervous, suddenly, and upset.
All parents—and especially egalitarian parents—should talk to their kids about boundaries, consent, bodies, shame, double standards, peer pressure, and sexism in school. Have you had these conversations with your kids yet?