670 God is actually always fighting against patriarchy, that he's always raising women out of it.
Day 670 Saturday, January 15, 2022
God is actually always fighting against patriarchy, that he's always raising women out of it.
Historian Beth Allison Barr traces cultural sources of patriarchy that have all but erased women's historical importance as leaders of the faith.
As a historian, Dr. Barr states that complementarianism -- the idea that women are created differently from men -- is not any different from patriarchy.
In this sense of the word, women cannot be leaders. They cannot have authority over men. And within the marriage relationship they are called to always be under the spiritual authority, the headship of their husbands. So complementarianism is that women are divinely created to be under masculine authority.
Dr. Beth Allison Barr makes the case for women's equality from a theological standpoint
The reason we think women cannot be in authority is simply because we've taken five or six verses from the New Testament and we have used those verses and read the entire Bible through them, through that lens.
And there are mostly the Pauline verses: women be silent, women submit to your husbands, etc. And if we step away from those verses and actually put them in the context of what Paul was doing — and then put that in the context of the entire Bible —
what we see is that while patriarchy exists in the Bible, that God is actually always fighting against patriarchy, that he's always raising women out of it.
He's always giving women authority in surprising ways, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. And that if we look at the historical context of what Paul is actually doing in the New Testament, there are serious problems with reading Paul as telling women that they have to be silent and under the authority of men for all times.
Barr is a Southern Baptist and a pastor's wife. In an interview with NPR, she describes the day she realized that "what we found in the Bible about what women were supposed to do did not match with what my church was saying women were supposed to do."
Eventually, she and her husband left that congregation — no longer able to tolerate the contradictions, she said. I came home from church one day. The pastor had been teaching on women's roles in the church, and during that sermon, one of the women and [one of the] men were called up to give a testimony at the end.
And the testimony that they gave was that no matter if the woman agreed with her husband or not, she should always tell him, sure, and just do whatever he said, because that was what women were called to do. And I'd recently been teaching on women in the early church — and I had this moment where I realized that what we found in the Bible about what women were supposed to do did not match with what my church was saying women were supposed to do.
And that in Romans 16, we see women leading in the church as teachers, as apostles, as deacons. And yet I was in a church that was telling me I couldn't even teach Sunday school without permission of our pastor.
Here is the link to the video recording from last evening by Dr. Beth Allison Barr on Martha, Lydia and other "women erased." This is an excellent presentation and please take a look when you have time.
Here is the link to purchase Dr. Barr's latest book, The Making of Biblical Womanhood:
Here is an NPR interview with Dr. Barr about her book: https://www.npr.org/2021/04/15/987552105/the-making-of-biblical-womanhood-tackles-contradictions-in-religious-practice
Here is information about upcoming FutureChurch events:
January 16, 2022 at 7pm EST: Women Witnesses for Racial Justice Prayer Service -- "Say Her Name" -- with Kayla August, Sr. Melinda Pellerin, Alessandra Harris, Vickey McBride, and Kimberly Lymore. REGISTER
February 2, 9, 16, 23 at 7pm EST: Fertile Ground: Vatican II, the Synod, and the Future of the Church -- a four-week series (every Wednesday) with Sr. Maureen Sullivan, OP. REGISTER
February 12, 2022: 10:00 to 3:00 (Break for lunch—12:00-1:00) Shannen Dee Williams will offer the morning session focusing on her research on the often forgotten history of the Black Sister-hood and her forthcoming book: Subversive Habits: Black Catholic Nuns in the Long African American Freedom Struggle.
February 15, 2022 at 8pm EST: "Making a Way Out of No Way: Black Catholic Sisters Teaching Children of Color in a Jim Crow World" with Dr. Diane Batts Morrow. REGISTER
Wednesdays during Lent starting March 2 at 12noon and 7pm (2 sessions each Wednesday): Forging the Future: FutureChurch Synod Sessions: Read more and REGISTER