Monday, July 20, 2009

The Church and Women

Was the historic Christian Church a sexist and patriarchal institution? Sure. It is silly for Christians to try to claim otherwise.

The question is can the Church be redefined to be more equitable while still being relevant?


  1. Good post, Paul.

    I actually think what we will see is the continued trend of certain churches (the more traditional ones) blossoming while others gradually fold.

    Christianity can't work other than in patriarchal context -- as you point out, the religion is, in its core, patriarchal. In the Orthodox Church, our most senior bishops are outright called "Patriarchs". Doesn't get more patriarchal than that. But any church that confesses God as father is of course going to be patriarchal.

    What is currently happening in the churches is that Christianity is being morphed into something else. As you point out, Paul was crystal clear about the role of women in the church, and this has now been completely ignored, as have numerous other passages in the NT about the relationship between men and women. By effectively deleting these passages from the bible, the new christianity that emerges is a different faith, and one that re-spins the faith in a feminized way: about your feelings and relations and so on, and not about hard and fast moral rules.

    But in any case, the more a church veers in that direction, the fewer men find appeal in it, and the more it becomes a female ghetto. On the other hand, the very conservative evangelicals are thriving and have lots of men engaged, and the Orthodox and Catholics are also doing reasonably well, still (and of course both of the latter are completely male led).

  2. Interestingly, the church ELEVATED women from being chattel to being co-heirs in Christ. People forget what a difference that is.