Amid a sex abuse crisis, a new conservative Christian vision for womanhood?

In times of cultural crisis, societies haven’t any choice but to enter an interval of rethinking.

America features crossed the rubicon with the recent tidal wave of sex misuse scandals. Dozens of influential males have lost their careers and reputations because of their offensive, predatory, and often unlawful behaviors. These allegations have torn straight down the facade of respectability these males had carefully constructed, but they’ve likewise unmasked the lies some possess believed for too much time.

We can no more pretend that sexism is a thing of the past. Or that powerful males could be trusted to behave with decorum and value at work. Or that females are safe and protected in our “enlightened” age group. Amid this cultural crisis, religious communities must now enter an interval of rethinking.

Julie Roys, a favorite conservative Christian radio exhibit host, believes that must add a critical discussion about popular notions of womanhood. In her publication, “Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Eyesight for Womanhood,” she rejects the “feminist distortion” and “fundamentalist caricature” of womanhood. I’ve referred to Roys for years, and while we frequently disagree, I’ve generally found her to become fair-minded and thoughtful. So I made a decision to invite her to talk about her eyesight for womanhood with the “On Faith and Customs” audience.

RNS: We’ve experienced a good wave of sexual misuse and harassment scandals found in recent times. Is this the consequence of a distorted perspective of womanhood?

JR: Absolutely. Obviously the scandals reveal a perverse perspective of females as mere objects of sexual gratification, rather than persons made in the picture of God. But I don’t think anyone is amazed by that. This sort of objectification by males has been heading on since the Fall.

What’s surprising is the fact that females, despite decades of feminism, felt that they had no recourse and possessed to endure the misuse. It’s likewise disturbing that females, when confronted with the decision, were ready to trade their dignity for careers.

I can’t help but surprise if feminism contributed to this crisis, convincing females to put inordinate value on their careers and advancement, but a shockingly low worth on their own bodies and sexuality. It’s informing that Gloria Steinem in the nineties publicly backed accused sexual predator, Bill Clinton, rather than his alleged victims. In so doing, she communicated that political gain is certainly ultimate; women and their dignity are expendable.

RNS: Many conservative Christians assume that women should be calm and submissive to their husbands and man leaders. Some say this sort of theology creates fertile soil for misuse and harassment. What say you?

JR: I think the inordinate value put on sex functions and submission of ladies in conservative circles often betrays an underlying misogyny and a good complete misunderstanding of the reason God created man and female.

God didn’t create male and feminine so one sex could dominate the other, and each could function according to rigid gender-specific functions. God created man and woman to reveal the mystery of Trinitarian existence and take pleasure in through the union of couple (Genesis 1:27 and 2:24), and reveal the loving and sacrificial way Christ pertains to the church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

Though hierarchy and submission exist within the Trinity, it’s certainly not the dominant feature. Take pleasure in is. In the same way, Christ doesn’t business lead His church in a few heavy-handed, top-down manner; instead He sacrificially provides for her. Many conservatives have lost view of this dilemna and reduced God’s amazing style to authoritarianism. This error, and the misogyny that in some cases fuels it, definitely creates a fertile soil for misuse.

RNS: How do plenty of conservative Christians misunderstand womanhood, and just why do you reject the “fundamentalist caricature?”

JY: Conservatives, perhaps reacting to society’s dismantling of sexual difference, sometimes present a good eyesight of womanhood that’s uni-dimensionally feminine. They uphold an idealized “Proverbs 31 Female” who’s meek and mild, making females like me, who have a healthy dose of masculine characteristics, feel like misfits.

But C.S. Lewis once explained, “There ought spiritually to become a man in every woman and a woman in every person.” By this, Lewis had not been advocating for androgyny. He was basically saying that healthy women and men should possess some stability of masculine and feminine virtues in degrees ideal to their particular sex. A woman with no masculine virtues, for instance, is certainly sickly passive, and a guy with no feminine virtues is certainly warlike.

Our vision of womanhood (and manhood) must reflect the complexity of our Creator in whose image we are created. God, holding all that is true and very good within Himself, possesses both masculine and feminine attributes and so should we.

RNS: You mention that feminists distort womanhood. How so?

JR: Feminism is rife with a good sort of stealth misogyny. Misogyny basically means hatred of females, and in its overt kind, often manifests as males abusing or demeaning females. But stealth misogyny is the hatred or devaluing of what’s uniquely feminine or feminine, and ironically, it’s a hallmark of feminism.

Betty Friedan, who launched second-wave feminism, saw femininity mainly because a vice, not a virtue, writing that it made “women a target and a victim of the sexual sell.” She also harbored a good shockingly low perspective of motherhood, evaluating those who dream of being of being housewives to the “millions who walked to their own death found in the concentration camps.”

Unfortunately, feminism tried to fix overt misogyny simply by embracing stealth misogyny – simply by dying to all that’s feminine and becoming, mainly because Gloria Steinem declared, “the men we wanted to marry.” But God didn’t make females to be males. And getting like them needs us to die to something vital within ourselves.

RNS: But males haven’t done an excellent job protecting females and promoting women’s passions. Feminists have championed women’s triggers, haven’t they? At least to some extent?

JR: Yes and no. Certainly, first-wave feminists obtained essential gains for women like the to vote, own property, and pursue advanced schooling. But those early on feminists, unlike their successors, didn’t win those benefits at the trouble of womanhood or the unborn.

No doubt, second-wave feminism helped achieve benefits like greater parity in give and more task opportunities for women. But taking into consideration the movement’s practically fanatical advertising of abortion and its devaluation of motherhood, seeking for benefits is like trying to find a silver lining in the eugenics motion. In the same way, when I consider how third-wave feminism has motivated women to prostitute themselves in the hookup traditions, I’m sickened by the devastation the motion has caused.

On a hopeful note, though, there are some organizations uniting secular feminists and Christian conservatives for regular causes like closing human trafficking or blocking trans legislation that erase women’s civil rights. These efforts perhaps will offer you some redemption of the motion.

RNS: What do you mean when you mention women are actually destroying themselves?

JR: Most Christian females have embraced one of two reductionist visions of womanhood. The fundamentalist eyesight denies women’s total humanity and gifting, and needs them to deny real aspects of their phoning. As a woman with good leadership and teaching products, I certainly experienced this in the church. To fit the mold I was given, I possessed to pretend those areas of myself didn’t exist, and it was soul-crushing.

On the other hand, the feminist vision denies the nice and beautiful differences between women and men, and requires females to deny what’s uniquely feminine about them. Feminist Christians claim that men and women are practical equivalents, and say our roles are completely interchangeable. To fit this mold, women frequently die to essential parts of themselves like their maternal instinct, or intuitive and mental nature.

Women in both camps are actually languishing and what they desperately have is a eyesight of womanhood that affirms both their whole humanity and their uniqueness.

RNS: It seems pretty clear given that powerful men-at least certain kinds of them-are destroying females, no?

JR: Absolutely. This is a point of view I share with feminists. We usually do not disagree on the difficulty. We disagree on the answer.

When sin entered the world, it perverted the unity and mutuality around women and men. In Genesis 3:16, it says that the woman would desire her hubby, but he would “rule over” her. Quite simply, women would look for a lover and a companion, but instead get a ruler and oppressor. We’re seeing this in spades right now.

Barack Obama suggested this week that the way to solve this issue is to displace male leaders with females since men are actually “having some concerns.” That’s fundamentally the same answer Christian feminists advise: abolish male leadership.

I suggest the answer isn’t to fire man leaders; it’s to redeem them. Because of the cross, men could be liberated from their sinful tendency to oppress females, and instead serve females the way God designed. That’s what’s crucially desired today.

RNS: You’ve worked for Moody Radio and other conservative Christian institutions. Have you ever before experienced sexual harassment or misuse of any kind in these organizations?

JR: No, We haven’t. Though I absolutely have experienced staying overlooked or dismissed because I am a woman, I have never had anyone in a Christian group handle me in a sexually inappropriate way. However, I did knowledge sexual harassment when I proved helpful in secular news.

In my first of all job as a TV reporter for a CBS affiliate, I recall that any office for the cameramen was filled wall-to-wall with pin-ups of naked women. Occasionally, I would have to enter that business office to talk to someone, and it was painfully awkward and degrading.

Likewise, when I worked mainly because a newswriter for a TV station in Chicago, there was a sports activities anchor who reveled in informing off-color jokes in front of me because I was the lone Christian in the newsroom. He’d likewise make comments about how Christians never have sex and would frequently try to massage my again and shoulders. It was awful.

RNS: Do you feel that sexual misuse and harassment crisis is a good problem found in the church aswell?

JR: I find out it is. I have a friend who was simply sexually harassed and abused at Bob Jones University and was interviewed within the independent investigation there 3 years ago. Her account made me simultaneously unwell, sad, and infuriated.

There also are hundreds of women sharing their reports of abuse within the #churchtoo campaign in Twitter right now. Their accounts are heartbreaking. What’s especially sad will be the reports that Christian leaders in some cases blamed assault victims because of their misuse, and claimed that reporting misuse would damage the cause of Christ. That’s so wrong.

Wherever you have women and men tainted by the fall, you should have abuse, and you will also have people trying to go over it up. The church, unfortunately, is not immune.

RNS: Do you think a reckoning is approaching?

JR: Certainly for Bob Jones University, a good reckoning came. The results of the investigation there were brutal, suggesting that the school responded abysmally to many students who were victims of abuse. The institution offers formally apologized to victims, and changed its policy about how it handles disclosure of misuse, but I’m sure it is still feeling the consequences of what happened there.

What shows up of the #churchtoo advertising campaign remains to be observed. As far as I know, no formal charges possess resulted from it. And I think unless that occurs, it could build awareness, but not a lot more than that. I’d prefer to see it lead to substantive change.

But the root cause of abuse and harassment is misogyny. And this is something that the church offers largely ignored, and at times perpetuated. I’m hoping my e book will spark conversation in the church among women and men about techniques we’ve all hated or devalued what females uniquely possess.

RNS: How do the church and spiritual leaders respond to the sexual misuse crisis we’re experiencing found in culture?

JR: Churches and Christian institutions can start by reviewing their policy concerning how they respond to sex misuse and harassment allegations (or creating a policy if they don’t have it). All allegations must be taken really and reported to proper authorities. And victims shouldn’t be shamed, but offered care and support.

Christian leaders also have to resist the urge to minimize or hide sin. Unconfessed sin will only spread and fester and cause even more destruction. Plus, burying sin is certainly antithetical to the Gospel. Scripture says if we confess our sin, we are forgiven and cleansed; if we don’t, we stand condemned.

Beyond that, these businesses must be proactive. Look for to address the porn problem within your church or group, for example. Porn is certainly epidemic in the church and there’s no way a man who frequently consumes porn can have a proper view of women. Likewise, interview the ladies. Do they feel safe, valued and honored?


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