Why The Conservative Faith Community Should Be On The Frontlines Advocating For Gender Equality, But Are Not…

India_poverty

I went to graduate school at Regent University, which was founded by extremely conservative public figure, Pat Robertson. Oddly enough, it was at Regent University that I became a Christian feminist. I have noticed that the more educated Christian women become, the more likely they are to become feminists – which is the “radical” notion that men and women are equal in all ways (including God-given authority).

I believe this is why global patriarchy strives not to educate girls. I also believe that global patriarchy is highly spiritual and that the enemy of our souls is behind it all (Note: Genesis 3:16 is a curse, that Christ has redeemed girls and women from). 

An educated girl leads to a “thinking” woman and a “thinking” woman is a powerful and free woman. Hosea 4:6 signifies that a people group can be destroyed due to a lack of knowledge. Worldwide, 66 million girls are not in school and 33 million fewer girls than boys attend primary school (Source).

Educating a girl, in much of the world, is not considered to be a worthy investment. Girls are thought of as mere property of men and often end up working difficult, insignificant, and life threatening jobs; while boys go to school.

In fact, 80% of all human trafficking victims are girls. “75% of AIDS cases in sub-Saharan Africa—the region hardest hit by the disease—are women and girls (Source).”

225157506_cbd8f5adaf_o

In one year’s time, about 150 million girls are victims of sexual assault and 50% of those assaults are on girls under the age of 15. Fourteen million girls under the age of 18 will be married this year as child brides. “The #1 cause of death for girls 15-19 is childbirth (Source).

It is only darkness that suggests “educating a girl is a waste of time” because stats and simple logic proves otherwise.

  • Girls with 8 years of education are 4 times less likely to be married as children.
  • A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.
  • Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.
  • A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
  • If India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, their GDP would rise by $5.5 billion (Source of All Bullet Points).

The truth is that entire countries benefit socially and economically when they prioritize the equality of education and leadership opportunities between the sexes.

Even major companies benefit from female leadership:

In 2014, a Forbes magazine article states,

The companies that perform best financially have the greatest numbers of women in leadership roles, according to a new study that is one of the most comprehensive ever. According to the worldwide survey, conducted by Pittsburgh-based human resources consulting firm DDI together with nonprofit business research group The Conference Board, in the companies that have the top 20% of financial performance, 27% of leaders are women. Among the bottom 20% of financial performers, only 19% of leaders are women (Source).

Yet, the conservative faith community is still struggling to see this truth due to a lack of education on “how” to read the Bible concerning gender. As author Carolyn Custis James puts it, “Patriarchy is not the Bible’s message. Patriarchy is the backdrop to the Bible’s message.”

Popular gender role theologies, such as complementarianism, claims that women are equal in value, but not in authority and that God designed men to lead and women to follow. A classic suggestion of a complementarian is as follows: Men and women are equal in worth, but different in function or role.

girl-852545_960_720

While I would agree that men and women do generally function differently, claiming a baby born female is inherently designed to function in the role of a subordinate or assistant inside or outside the church/marriage is a grave misunderstanding of scripture and God’s heart for humanity.

As a woman who works with women, I can tell you that women do not believe themselves to be equal in value, if there is a “but” after that statement. If women are equal in value in the Church, then why do recent studies show that the gender pay gap among clergy is worse than the national average?

http://tobingrant.religionnews.com/2016/01/12/gender-pay-gap-among-clergy-worse-than-national-average-a-first-look-at-the-new-national-data/

Some will claim that someone’s value should not be equated with what they are paid, but this is simply another way of religiously shaming women for wanting to be paid equally for their experience and education in the Church.

The Bible says that where we place our treasure, is where our hearts are (Matt. 6:21). In other words, if the Church really did have a heart for female clergy and lay women alike, they would invest more money into them.

Look around. Many churches will hire several male pastors before they will even consider hiring a female pastor. Often, women’s pastors and directors are only found at mega churches or as volunteer positions. In most conservative churches, the only paid female pastor or director is the children’s pastor and that is only because most male ministers have no desire to work with children.

To make matters worse, the children’s pastor normally makes the lowest salary among all clergy in the Church. Laywomen in the Church have little to no female mentors or spiritual advisors. I would argue that women are the least invested in group among the conservative faith community, but are the most faithfully invested members.

God sees and God is just.

2307604651_5881708780_o

For some reason the conservative faith community has lost sight of the justice of God. We seem to be invested in righteous living and Bible study, but blind to the justice that the Son of God carried with Him everywhere He walked.

May God give us eyes to see the connection between the way women in the Church are mistreated and the way girls and women are mistreated globally. Our theology matters.

Equal and free Christian women are the answer to equal and free girls and women globally.

Help Jory Micah Break The Glass Steeple by Following Her Blog (Insert Your Email to the Right or Below) 

Find Jory’s Ministry on Facebook at “Jory Micah Ministries” 

Find Jory on Twitter @jorymicah

 

More from Jory Micah

What Exactly is Happening with “Women of Color” Lists? by Khristi L. Adams

Khristi L. Adams is the Protestant Chaplain at Georgetown University and the...
Read More

18 Comments

  • “For some reason that conservative faith community has lost sight of the justice of God. We seem to be invested in righteous living and Bible study, but blind to the justice that the Son of God carried with Him everywhere He walked.”

    I think that is a valid critique, and one the conservative faith community should explore.

  • I fully agree with all 6 points!! I think that the most telling is the theme “Reverse The Curse”! God’s original plan was team work among equals rooted in intimacy. With the Fall came the break down of empathy and intimacy! In their place came a power struggle. Who would dominate. No matter who dominates or how it is the curse and not Christ Life God sent Jesus to bring! To educate, train, and empower women personally and financially is to Reverse The Curse!!! Everything of the flesh and world resists this! The Grace of God at times is not gentle but fierce to over come the curse!! Keep up the good fight!!!

  • This is so good, thank you! I was especially glad that you referred to the spiritual evil behind patriarchy; the enemy is real, its weapons are brutal, and its goal is the dehumanization of both women and men. Thank you for speaking out on behalf of both “halves” of the image-bearers; I’ve enjoyed many of your posts, although I haven’t commented before. Blessings~

  • Keep preaching it, Jory! So delighted to have found your writings.

    This reminds me of a quote that I saw in the Abraham Lincoln museum in Springfield, IL. Not sure why it was there, but it stuck with me:

    “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation) – Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir-Aggrey (1875 – 1927)

    Everyone wins when you educate women. DUH!

  • You quote the Forbes article proving that women have distinguished themselves in the business world – but it’s a different story in the church world. Those denominations that have opened their doors widest to female leadership are in steep decline. There’s a very strong correlation between female leadership and theological liberalism – which also leads inevitably to decline. And very few female pastors have shown any aptitude for growing a congregation (can you name even one female pastor that has birthed a megachurch?) As long as we measure success in the church by numeric growth women will have a tougher time gaining senior leadership positions.

    • Hello there. This is not a great example, because we have not seen men and women “partner” as leaders in the Church very often. This is not about women taking over. This is about partnership. In some of these “liberal” churches you speak of, women have sort of taken over because men are just not stepping up as much over there. Yes, there can be a decline when men and women are not partnering. The evangelical church is also declining because men are in charge. God has designed men and women to be equal partners and work together (as they are doing in the business world more and more). When this happens, we will see healthy fruit again. God bless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *