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Published Date: January 31, 2016

Published Date: January 31, 2016

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Dear Egalitarian Man With A Platform

Dear Egalitarian Man With A Platform,

I value your commitment to women’s full participation in the body of Christ. But your egalitarian values seem hollow when you stand on a platform full of men. They seem hollow when there are no women (or maybe a token woman) speaking beside you.

It’s great that you talk about women’s representation in church. I’m so glad you think it’s important. And yet, you never ask how many women will be speaking before accepting a speaking invitation. 

The thing is, Egalitarian Man With A Platform, talk is cheap. You can write or speak about a theology of gender equality, but how often do you offer up your space on the platform to a woman? How often do you use platform opportunities to include and partner with women? How often do you give women opportunities to have a platform alongside you?

And I have a few words for you, Married Egalitarian Man With A Platform. How many times do you assume your wife will be available to support your platforming opportunities? If you’ve got kids, do you always ask her before accepting speaking engagements? Or do you just assume she’s available? Do you do washing up/washing/ironing/tidying/bathroom cleaning? Because it seems to me, Married Egalitarian Man With A Platform, that you have an awful lot more time than your wife does to talk about how egalitarian you are!

Egalitarian Man With A Platform, how much time are you investing each month in the women and girls who are called to lead? Do you create space in your organization or on the platforms you are given for women and girls? What does egalitarian Christianity look like in practice in your life? Does it simply mean that you theologically agree with women and girls doing what God has called them to do? Or does it actually change the way you live and work?

How many people know you’re egalitarian? Is it something you avoid mentioning when you engage with organizations or denominations that will withdraw their interest because of that stance? Because the reality is, egalitarian women don’t have that option. We can’t pretend not to believe in women’s invitation into God’s calling just to “build relationships” or network effectively. 

Do you have a comprehensive list of women you can recommend to event organizers when they tell you that none of the women they asked were available? How far out of your way do you go to bring God’s truth of women’s liberation to those platforms?  

If you are an egalitarian, the absence of women on Christian platforms should be a justice cause that you are fully invested in. If you are egalitarian, challenging event organizers to include and empower women should be a priority. If you are egalitarian, you should not compromise on the representation of women on any of your platforms. If you are an egalitarian, you should refuse to speak at events where women are not represented.

If male speakers asked how many women were being included on the platform every time they were invited to speak, things might change. If male speakers began refusing to speak on all-male platforms, things might change. If egalitarian men with platforms kept a handy list of women they could recommend in their place, things might change.

I appreciate you, Egalitarian Man With A Platform. I really do. But if egalitarianism only means being pro-woman and subscribing to a certain theology, then how different are you from the Complementarian Man With A Platform? If your theology doesn’t change you or impact the choices you make, it isn’t really theology. it’s just a nice idea.

And to be honest, the idea that women are equally called in the church means nothing if we don’t back up that idea with real action. So Egalitarian Men With A Platform, remember that failing to act on your belief in the equal calling of men and women makes you part of the problem, not part of the solution.