Well the CBE conference is over, like a whirlwind, so I’m catching up with some posts about the last two days.
The Saturday sessions we chose were filled with in-depth historical examinations of empowered women in the Church. Starting with Mimi Haddad’s excellent lecture on ontology, gender, and women’s authority in the church, we looked at Paula, Apollonia, Hildegard, and Catherine of Siena to name very few. These were all women who behaved contrary to the popular ontology assigned to them by the culture of the day. This was especially true from the patriarchal absorption of the church after Emperor Constantine.
Also discussed was the Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. The church’s reaction was a form of anti-intellectualism. This in turn resulted in a fear of liberalism, trading a more rigorous interpretation of Scripture for a ‘plain reading’ of the Bible. Hence, so much unchallenged complementarian thinking polluted the church’s waters. I loved this statement from Mimi: ‘Just because you challenge assumptions of tradition doesn’t make you impious.’
During the question and answer period, there was one particularly bold question asked by a man in the audience, one that I’d like to ask again here and see what you all think. The man asked why it was that women continue to attend churches that only oppress them. There was an array of answers given by many gracious women in the room. I felt very enlightened by all their impassioned, thoughtful responses.
But what do you think? Why stay in such a church?