The Misogyny and Heresy of Church Authority

This week a Christianity Today article made some social media noise, asking the question “Who’s in charge of the Christian blogosphere?” It was a loaded one, for sure.

On its face, the article was a supposed reflection on where Christians outside of official leadership positions in organized religion derive their moral authority. It proposed to be a healthy policing of theological viewpoints of influential followers of Jesus by other followers of Jesus, but the easily seen subtext was:

Women like Jen Hatmaker are saying things we don’t like. We need to remind them we don’t approve and that they aren’t allowed to say these things.

Hatmaker was specifically named-dropped in the piece—and the timing wasn’t at all accidental. The popular pastor/writer/blogger has recently received tremendous castigation from within a Christian pop culture machine who’d previously been enamored with her—as she’s publicly affirmed the LGBTQ and pushed back against much of the hypocrisy she’s witnessed in organized Christianity.

Though the article was written by a female Anglican priest, it was still saturated with an idea that’s been propagated for centuries, by a historically male-dominated Church that has created and gladly promoted and ratified it—

We dole out authority, sweetheart. You haven’t asked a man if you can say that.

In other words, the message was once again being sent to women (and to a lesser degree men) of faith, whose influence is gaining traction outside the scope of a denomination or local church’s influence, that they’d better behave themselves. Let’s be clear in defining our terms here, this isn’t about church authority—it’s about church control. It is a reiteration of the effort to define what is and isn’t of God for other people; to decide who gets a seat at the table and a place in the pulpit. The only problem is, a bunch of plain old flawed, failing (often white) dudes are ultimately the ones claiming the privilege—and this is the heart of the fraud perpetrated here.

Somewhere a couple of thousand years ago, a group of men decided that they would and could be the gatekeepers of the Kingdom; that they were qualified, entitled, and deserving of determining who God spoke to and through, and how such people could share these revelations. They appointed themselves custodians of the Holy Spirit and gradually we all accepted this as gospel.

Misogyny.
Heresy. 
Nonsense.

The idea that anyone has authority over another human being is the height of idolatry, and it’s antithetical to the core message of Jesus, who came to offer us proximity to God without a broker. It’s also one of the most dangerously wielded tools of exploitation and abuse the Church has ever crafted, enabling men to behave very badly and to claim Jesus is okay with it.

We see it in the practice of “Church Discipline;” where a sometimes clearly or other times ambiguously assembled group of people dole out permission and punishment in denominations, local churches, or Christian ministries, when there is disagreement in matters of faith or procedure. And what you find is that such “authorizing” bodies are as disparate and arbitrary in their beliefs, values, and methods. So just who is giving authority to them? If such authority was indeed as neat and tidy as is often alleged, there would be no corruption in church leadership, no abuses of power, no sexual misconduct. There would be theological and methodological agreement.

The Apostle Paul is recognized by many as the first official pastor of the early Church, composing a good portion of the New Testament and establishing local communities through the Roman Empire. Who gave Paul his authority? He claimed it was Jesus. Folks agreed with him—and off we went.

Simply stated: trace the current religious system of authority-dispensing back far enough and you’ll end up at Jesus, who made disciples of anyone who chose to follow him in a life of faith. Which all begs the question: who is ever in charge when Christians speak or minister? Where does reliable authority come from?
What man-made institutions, schools, ministries get to make the rules?
The answers are far less consistent than we’d like.

Furthermore, who is providing “moral authority” to Evangelical preachers who stumped for a professed pussy-grabber for President?
Where do pastors get the spiritual authority to make 7-figure salaries while being in megachurches surrounded by poverty?
Who is giving the authority to celebrity Evangelists advocating for gay-conversion therapy?

Who is giving the authority to supposed Christian politicians, currently falling over themselves to strip people of healthcare and shut out refugees?
Who’s given the authority for church leaders to conceal decades of sexual abuse in their communities?

If this is “moral authority”—you can keep it.

I can remember interviewing for a megachurch here in the South. I had to meet with the church’s “Elder Board,” which turned out to be the pastor and three of his best friends from seminary. They were the authority for a community of thousands, dozens of staff, and hundreds of volunteers: four college roommates in their forties whose spiritual clout was essentially self-declared. They determined what God did and how God moved. Not exactly reliable, to say the least.

That isn’t to suggest that accountability isn’t welcome or necessary. Of course it is. The issue is, in assuming that those like Jen Hatmaker or Rachel Held Evans or Sarah Bessey don’t have those checks and balances simply because they aren’t officially sanctioned or blessed by a bunch of guys ultimately claiming an elevated status, because some other guys ascribed that status to them. All of these women are surrounded by thoughtful, responsible, faithful people and they all exist in communities where they are challenged and held to a standard of truthfulness, authenticity, and integrity. In fact, I don’t know a high-profile Christian writer that isn’t. 

The second (and as important issue) is assuming that simply because a man has a title or a degree, or that a group of his peers amens him—that he is acting by God’s authority and with God’s consent, because that simply isn’t possible. There’s a two-thousand year line of guys who’ve surrounded themselves with yes-men and subservient women, and who’ve believed themselves God and done all manner of horrible things in the process. It’s a delusion we need to relieve these men of, for their sake, for the sake of those they live and minister alongside, and for the sake of the Jesus who they claim faith in.

I served alongside a wise, passionate, creative, faithful pastor in Charlotte, who’d been raised in a religious tradition that told her she wasn’t fit to lead men, and in those controlled settings where she was given consent to share her gifts, she learned that she had to yield to a man, regardless of his qualifications, training, or the fruit of his life. 

I remember one day years ago, she said to me, “I used to be upset about not being ordained, but I don’t worry about that anymore. I’m not ordained—I’m anointed.”

I now understand what she meant, and she was right.

And this is the real story here:
God speaks to and through whomever God chooses. The Scriptures record this.
Christ is solely in charge of the Christian. We have communities to help keep us accountable and to encourage and challenge us, but ultimately no one requires a go-between. We already have a high priest.
Anyone can approach and teach the Scriptures. Women don’t need a man to interpret them.

Women are equally gifted to hear from God, and to reflect the character of Christ—period.

Who is in charge of Christian bloggers or Christian pastors or Christian politicians? Hopefully Jesus. He is the single authority to which any of us ultimately live and serve and create beneath.

And no one gets to determine that for anyone else.

We are temples of the Holy Spirit; breathing sanctuaries that carry the presence of God.

I don’t recall anyone needing permission for that.

Here are some women you would be blessed to learn from:
Nadia Bolz-Weber
Rachel Held Evans
Jen Hatmaker
Glennon Doyle Melton
Sarah Bessey
Diana Butler Bass
Hannah Adair Bonner
Melissa Greene
Sarahbeth Caplin
Deidra Riggs
Cindy Brandt
Jory Micah

 

 

 

 

 

113 thoughts on “The Misogyny and Heresy of Church Authority

  1. Wow. Thank you, John. Thank you.

    In the earliest history of our faith, women and men were co-equal. They were co-equal as Jesus’s disciples while He walked the earth. They are co-equal in Acts. They are co-equal in Paul’s letters.

    The only way to deny co-equality is to take verses out of context and to assume that the translation from the Greek is correct.

    Something that breaks my heart is when women themselves deny their co-equality with men. Paul tells us quite clearly that women and men are co-equal, ” There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” It doesn’t get any plainer than that.

    Yes, he does tell Timothy to instruct the women to be silent during worship. Why? Was it to squelch women’s voices in the church? How could it possibly mean that when in Romans he sends greetings to Junia, a woman, as an apostle among the apostles?

    Or in Corinthians when he tells women that when they stand up to prophesy they cover their hair? I don’t know about you, but I find it impossible, hair covered or not, to simultaneously remain silent while standing in church to prophesy.

    Women ran churches in the early church. We see this in Acts. There are a lot of statues that have been defaced but clearly are of women who were bishops. It is only as the church becomes more Greek and more Latin that the church becomes so misogynistic that Thomas Aquinas can claim that only those who bear a natural, fleshy resemblance to the incarnate Jesus can be priests. IOW, if you have a penis, you are part of the in-crowd. If you don’t have one, tough nuggies.

    Tertullian, who should have been named a Doctor of the Church, wasn’t because he reversed his position on the exclusion of women when he embraced the Montanist version of Christianity which was declared a heresy solely because they gave women equal authority as men.

    Oh, this subject is dear to my heart. I could write forever on the subject.

    • I commend to you a book written by my friend and former pastor, John Bristow, “What Paul Really Said About Women.” He makes good arguments that Paul was assuredly not the misogynist we’ve been led to believe.

      Even the problematic passage in the letter to Timothy can be interpreted another way. Women may have been abusing the freedom and authority they found in the church, so the author (who may well not have been Paul) wanted them to stop throwing their weight around, because they were doing damage.

      There is a phrase in that passage that is truly radical in that time and place, but we often miss just how revolutionary it is in our headlong rush to put women back in their place: “Let a woman learn…” Jewish women at that time didn’t study Torah, and Greek women were mostly confined at home.

      You mentioned Junia from Romans 16. At the beginning of that chapter, Paul introduces the pastor who is carrying the letter: Phoebe, of Cenchreae. He says she should be welcomed just as they would welcome him. The people who carried these letters had the authority to speak on the writer’s behalf and answer questions as the writer would answer them. When the Greek word used to describe Phoebe is masculine, it’s generally rendered as “pastor” or “deacon.” When it’s feminine, usually it’s “deaconess” or “servant,” both terms of subservience. But It’s. The. Same. Word.

      • revsharkie, that book is on my TBR pile. As for Timothy, at this point I doubt we’ll ever k ow of Paul wrote it or not, so for convenience, I include among Paul’s letters. It’s good stuff, whoever wrote it. After all, I like to think Mary Magdalene wrote the Letter to the Hebrews and there is no evidence of that. But I’d like it if we discovered it was written by a woman and that’s why it’s anonymous as the misogynists struck the woman’s name from the text.

        Yup, that’s a biggie ““Let a woman learn…” Jewish women at that time didn’t study Torah, and Greek women were mostly confined at home.” Paul was a feminist. Paul was egalitarian.

        “When the Greek word used to describe Phoebe is masculine, it’s generally rendered as “pastor” or “deacon.” When it’s feminine, usually it’s “deaconess” or “servant,” both terms of subservience. But It’s. The. Same. Word.”

        Yup, exact same word.

        I’ll tell you a funny story from my seminary days. I was in seminary from April, 1980 till I graduated in May, 1993. I studied Greek there. And we got to the bit about Junia, which at the time in any Bible one might consult, was named Junius, a man’s name. Yet the Greek was quite clearly second declension dative.

        I challenged the instructor with this and he said “While what you say is true, this is a rare example of the second declension used for a man.”

        “How rare?” says I?

        His eyes twinkling madly, he says to me It’s the only known example.”

        After class he took me aside and said I correct, it should be translated as Junia and not Junius and Paul is clearly greeting a woman but the instructions from the seminary were to deny that she was a woman because women had to submit to the authority of men and why would we, if a woman was called an apostle.

        Yet another example of why I was feeling it was a waste of my time, my gifts, my intellect to continue to identify as evangelical.

    • Gloriamarie, I agree, including the inclination to write about this topic endlessly! Trying to keep myself in check, I’ll just add this to the overall discussion: That accounts of Jesus, Paul, women in the early church and others in the New Testament specifically call out gender equality and the preaching role of women is significant. At the time of Christ, women’s lives were tightly controlled and limited, including not being able to be in public, let alone speak, without a man. To make women co-leaders in His ministry and in the early church was revolutionary, and I’m still astonished that any passages about that remain after centuries of active silencing.

  2. Here’s another response to that article:

    The “crisis” in the blogosphere
    Posted on Apr 28, 2017

    According to Christianity Today, as a spiritual blogger, speaker and author, I’m part of a “crisis in the church.” I agree there’s a crisis, but I disagree on what exactly that crisis entails.

    Me, being dangerous.
    What gives Christian bloggers and writers like me (or Jen Hatmaker, or Beth Moore, or Christine Caine) the right to teach and write books and blogs about spiritual life? This is the question posed by Tish Harrison Warren, in her article, “Who’s In Charge of the Christian Blogosphere?” The article, the first in a Christianity Today series called #AmplifyWomen, has served as a lightning rod in, well, the Christian blogosphere, and spurred lively Twitter discussion.
    What makes this response hard to write is that I know Tish, and I respect her. But in this instance, I disagree with her. And I don’t have to ask someone who is “in charge” of me if it’s okay if I make that disagreement public. Because freedom of speech, and that pesky lack of oversight. I’ve respectfully told Tish that I see things differently.
    The author is herself a spiritual writer and blogger, but also, an Anglican priest and co-rector (with her husband) of a church. She states in the article, “In this new cyber age, authority comes not from the church or the academic guild but from popularity.” She labels this a “crisis of authority, especially for women.” Why is it only a crisis for women? There are plenty of Christian men blogging and writing.

    The rest may be read here:

    http://www.keriwyattkent.com/the-crisis-in-the-blogosphere/

    • It is so nice to meet you Gloriamarie! Thank you for speaking truth along with John on this. And may I recommend another strong voice on the issue? Dr. Jackie Roese. Check her out: themarcellaproject.com

  3. Thanks for the list. I have followed Rachel Held Evans for a long time. Great commentary.

    I always want to ask those betting their souls on some hateful teaching from an intermediary, if they are sure that is the version they want to go with. What if they are wrong? What then?

    I will stand before God with my record of an open loving heart that lived as I understood Jesus’ instructions. When the Bible is a weapon, how can you bring anyone to God or show them God’s love?

    • Sandi, it can’t be done. As simple as that. When the Bible is used as a club to beat someone up, that is not showing God’s love, only the hate in the heart of the person doing the clubbing.

      In just about every example I can think of, the club has been verses ripped out of their context or ones that have been translated according to some agenda or the other.

    • Sandi, you wrote: “What if they are wrong? What then?”

      A hearty “Yes!” to that from me. I have this conversation — a lot more lately than I’d like — and generally they turn it back on me. “What if *you’re* wrong?” The answer is so simple: If I’m wrong, then at least I’ve chosen love over hate, acceptance over rejection, understanding over prejudice.

      I’m willing to risk damnation for that path.

  4. WHY can’t you get through a post without looking for a reference to the go of your idolatry?

    And NO ONE here gives a flying fig what the most gynophobic, misogynistic institution has to say on the subject of church authority.

  5. I’ve been struggling with spirituality lately, and have turned my back on Christianity long ago, mostly because of the amount of hate and misogyny I’ve heard taught in its name.. (Although through John Pavlovitz I’m looking back over my shoulder.) My recent epiphany has been “We’re either all God’s children or none of us are.” I can’t believe in a higher power that plays favorites, who sets men above women and other authoritative nonsense.

    Comments like the ones above, and this blog post, hearten me. 🙂

    • Lisa Ann, I am so sorry the behavior of others caused you to turn your back on Christianity. True followers of Jesus are loving people. There are many of us here. Of course, there are many of the other kind too.

      We are all indeed God’s children, created as it delighted God to make us who we are.

    • Nice try, Joe, to sneak in a URL from a RC group. Women are second-class citizens in the RCC and we want women to be seen as co-equals. The website you recommend doesn’t fit that description. Sounds more like a place where women participate in their own brainwashing.

  6. Thank you. From the depths of my heart, thank you. May I add three names to your list? These women wrote books and presented speeches and sermons that not only resulted in my changing my life, but also literally saved my life from suicide. They are:
    Letha Dawson Scanzoni
    Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
    Nancy Hardest
    Also: Rosemary Radford Reuther and Elizabeth Schuyler Fiorenza

  7. The women who wrote this article in “Christianity
    Today” just crashed her car into the Baptist churches of the United States by basically denying their long-held doctrine of the “Soul Competency of the Believer,” which basically says that each individual believer (male or female) is an individual High Priest interacting directly with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—and deriving their marching orders directly from them. I would bet my last dime that most of the women on John Pavlovitz’s list are either Baptists or a member of a church or denomination that has some historical relationship to Baptists.

    • Dear Charles:

      Years ago, Peter Toon made the point that Jesus alone is High Priest; believers just happen to have a share in the priesthood of Christ.

      He didn’t say anything about male or female … jest sayin’ 😉

      Blessings!

  8. Wow, Thank you, having come from a family tradition of women being, without question, on an absolute equal footing with men, and this goes back 250 yrs, this warms my heart. The group that my grandfather came from believed that no one was higher than anyone else, all were equal, all had the same status within the community. At services, anyone who was moved, spoke and was given the same consideration, whether male or female. That was how we were brought up and then we entered the real world and found that most people didn’t agree, even women. Never have understood how they conned all these women to be subservient to some man. Thank you for saying what I believe, Peace and Love to you and yours.

  9. I blogged about this today as well, concluding, like you, that the Holy Spirit gives each of us the right to speak truth. I think part of the issue is that the Anglican priest who wrote the article (I happen to know her) lives in a world where the “authorities” affirm her right to teach, preach, administer the sacraments. Like many in mainline denominations, she cannot imagine a world where women are disqualified from leading, teaching (or blogging) simply because of their gender. It’s easy for her to submit to church oversight because her particular church is on her side and affirms her gifts. Anyway, thanks for writing this.

    • Thanks Keri. Although I am a male Christian, I very much support women in their quest to be a vital and authoritative force for achieving pastoral leadership positions in churches. It does the cause of Jesus Christ no good to have 54 percent of his followers limited in the amount of service they have to offer to the cause. While it may turn you off, please feel free to visit my blog at any time. Just click on the following safe link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

  10. I am standing in awe of the commentary from John and the beautiful voices who have confirmed and affirmed it. This thread is a blessing all by itself! I wish we had the little heart button like Twitter! Thank you to all of the beautiful, strong voices here!

  11. St. Teresa of Avila:

    “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world.Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”
    https://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/14-Of-The-Most-Powerful-Peace-Quotes-From-St-Teresa-Of-Avila

    St. Teresa of Calcutta:

    “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet come; we must live each day as if it were our last so that when God calls us we already, and prepared, to die with a clean heart.”

    “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

    Kimberly Hahn:

    “What does it mean to fear the Lord? It means to have awe and reverence for him. The woman who fears the Lord obeys from a heart of love for the God of the universe, who is also her heavenly Father! Her childlike fear of her heavenly Father leads her to faithful and faith-filled obedience.”
    https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/38606.Kimberly_Hahn

    Mary, Mother of God:

    My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
    my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
    From this day all generations will call me blessed:
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.

    He has mercy on those who fear him
    in every generation.
    He has shown the strength of his arm,
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

    https://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/prayers/magnificat.htm

    St. Catherine of Sienna:

    “You must believe in truth that whatever God gives or permits is for your salvation.” Letter T354
    http://www.catholicreview.org/blogs/god-is-in-the-clouds/2014/04/29/setting-the-world-on-fire-inspiring-quotes-from-st-catherine-of-siena

    Mother Angelical, founder of EWTN:

    On Faith:
    Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air and a queasy feeling in the stomach.

    On clarity:
    If you are following God, he never shows you the end. It’s always a walk of faith.

    On Trust:
    Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.

    On Mindfulness:
    Everyone drags his own carcass to market, so be careful.

    On Love:
    Love is not a feeling; it’s a decision.

    On Mercy:
    You can’t go to heaven hating somebody. Forgive now.

    On Anger:
    St. Jerome used to hit himself with a rock every time he lost his temper. I’d be dead as a doornail with no ribs if I did that.

    On Struggle
    If you’ve got a cross, carry it. It’s to make you holy.

    On Reality:
    Those who tell the truth love you. Those who tell you what you want to hear love themselves.

    On Error:
    Every moment of life is like God saying, “Look, I know you messed up the last moment, but here’s a new one.”

    On Pride:
    Once you contemplate the humility of Jesus in the Eucharist, how can you possibly justify your pride?

    On the Courage to Suffer:
    It takes a lot of guts to be in pain all day long.

    On Enemies:
    Don’t say, “If it weren’t for that person I could be holy.” No; you can be holy because of that person.

    On Not Limiting God:
    Your plans, your projects, your dreams have to always be bigger than you, so God has room to operate.

    On Perseverence:
    Faith is what gets you started. Hope is what keeps you going. Love is what brings you to the end.

    On Holiness:
    Holiness is a beautiful struggle.

    On Death:
    I guess that is what dying must be like: to be finished and to be able to look back at the struggles of life and know that God was your constant companion.

    On Serving:
    God looks for dodos. A dodo doesn’t know it can’t be done. God uses dodos, and I’m a dodo.

    On Worldliness:
    God wants you to be in the world but so different from the world that you will change it. Get cracking.

    http://aleteia.org/2016/03/11/20-memorable-one-liners-from-mother-angelica/

  12. Thank you!

    I grew up in a brutal environment, the daughter of an evangelic minister, who have serial sexual relationships with various women, beat his children and stood in the pulpit calling souls to Christ. As you can imagine it took many years to find peace with God and create for myself spiritual wholeness.

    Your blog posts are such a help to me and everyone is a thing of beauty and love and awareness of the wholeness of the spirit of God in us all.

    Thank you!

    Glenda

    • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{Glenda}}}}}}}}}}}}

      I a, so very sorry you had an abusive father. So did I. “As you can imagine it took many years to find peace with God and create for myself spiritual wholeness.”

      And I rejoice to read this.

  13. So we are all on the same page, John pointed out the author of the Christianity Today article was an “Anglican” priest. What he may not realize is that she is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), which is a schismatic group which broke away from the Episcopal Church in the US and the Anglican Church of Canada. They are ultra-conservatives/fundamentalists who are not part of the world-wide Anglican Communion. She may be a priest in ACNA, but she can never be a bishop and she must be subservient to her husband. Additionally, her prospects of serving her calling is very limited because there are many folks in ACNA, especially other priests and bishops, who do not recognize her ordination because she is a woman.

    She may have written this article as a result of a lot of internalized misoginy and patriarcalism.

    • Thank you, David, for that very important information. I never saw the original article and so I had no idea it was written by one of the schismatics who caused such divisiveness and disruption in The Episcopal Church a few years ago.

      John Kasich is also a member of ACNA, I believe.

  14. Wow, this is radical and I like it– I am not sure misogyny is the appropriate word in every case but definitely patriarchy has kept women down and still does … and I appreciate the links above. I highly recommend Nadia Bolz-Weber. Her sermons on Patheos have an audio option so you can listen to her while out for a walk or doing the dishes 🙂

    This sermon was my favourite:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nadiabolzweber/2017/01/fear-vs-love-sermon-2-different-kinds-men/

  15. St. Teresa of Avila:

    “Christ has no body now, but yours. No hands, no feet on earth, but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ looks compassion into the world.Yours are the feet with which Christ walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which Christ blesses the world.”

    St. Teresa of Calcutta:

    “Yesterday is gone and tomorrow has not yet come; we must live each day as if it were our last so that when God calls us we already, and prepared, to die with a clean heart.”

    “I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.”

    Kimberly Hahn:

    “What does it mean to fear the Lord? It means to have awe and reverence for him. The woman who fears the Lord obeys from a heart of love for the God of the universe, who is also her heavenly Father! Her childlike fear of her heavenly Father leads her to faithful and faith-filled obedience.”

    Mary, Mother of God:

    My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
    my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
    From this day all generations will call me blessed:
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.

    He has mercy on those who fear him
    in every generation.
    He has shown the strength of his arm,
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

    St. Catherine of Sienna:

    “You must believe in truth that whatever God gives or permits is for your salvation.” Letter T354

    Mother Angelical, founder of EWTN:

    On Faith:
    Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air and a queasy feeling in the stomach.

    On clarity:
    If you are following God, he never shows you the end. It’s always a walk of faith.

    On Trust:
    Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.

    On Mindfulness:
    Everyone drags his own carcass to market, so be careful.

    On Love:
    Love is not a feeling; it’s a decision.

    On Mercy:
    You can’t go to heaven hating somebody. Forgive now.

    On Anger:
    St. Jerome used to hit himself with a rock every time he lost his temper. I’d be dead as a doornail with no ribs if I did that.

    On Struggle
    If you’ve got a cross, carry it. It’s to make you holy.

    On Reality:
    Those who tell the truth love you. Those who tell you what you want to hear love themselves.

    On Error:
    Every moment of life is like God saying, “Look, I know you messed up the last moment, but here’s a new one.”

    On Pride:
    Once you contemplate the humility of Jesus in the Eucharist, how can you possibly justify your pride?

    On the Courage to Suffer:
    It takes a lot of guts to be in pain all day long.

    On Enemies:
    Don’t say, “If it weren’t for that person I could be holy.” No; you can be holy because of that person.

    On Not Limiting God:
    Your plans, your projects, your dreams have to always be bigger than you, so God has room to operate.

    On Perseverence:
    Faith is what gets you started. Hope is what keeps you going. Love is what brings you to the end.

    On Holiness:
    Holiness is a beautiful struggle.

    On Death:
    I guess that is what dying must be like: to be finished and to be able to look back at the struggles of life and know that God was your constant companion.

    On Serving:
    God looks for dodos. A dodo doesn’t know it can’t be done. God uses dodos, and I’m a dodo.

    On Worldliness:
    God wants you to be in the world but so different from the world that you will change it. Get cracking.

    http://aleteia.org/2016/03/11/20-memorable-one-liners-from-mother-angelica/

  16. Totally true. If you coerce someone to do something you have accomplished nothing.

    Also I have noticed people who try to dominate others claiming moral authority display very few of the morals they claim authority over.

  17. John Pavlovitz said:

    “The second (and as important issue) is assuming that simply because a man has a title or a degree, or that a group of his peers amens him—that he is acting by God’s authority and with God’s consent, because that simply isn’t possible. There’s a two-thousand year line of guys who’ve surrounded themselves with yes-men and subservient women, and who’ve believed themselves God and done all manner of horrible things in the process. It’s a delusion we need to relieve these men of, for their sake, for the sake of those they live and minister alongside, and for the sake of the Jesus who they claim faith in.”

    Listen to the sermon excerpt from this blow hard who built a fundie megachurch in Hammond, Indiana and further notice his disdain for women:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHg-Rh8X8yg

    He is now serving 12 years in a federal prison in Kentucky for sexually molesting an emotionally disturbed teenage girl he was charged with counseling. The federal sentencing guidelines recommended 10 years, but the judge thought his crimes were so egregious that 12 years would be better, plus he has to serve another 5 years of supervised release when he gets out. He recently had a review for a reduced sentence, and the ruling was —nothing doing Buster.

    • Charles, as sad and tragic as it was for that teenager, what is even more sad and tragic is that there are probably an untold number of women, girls, boys, who have been sexually violated by men in authority. When a man adopts an authoritarian attitude, horrible things happen.

      It’s Time to Start Calling Evangelicals What They Are: The American Taliban
      “The Council For National Policy” is a Conservative Think Tank, made up of a who’s who of prominent conservatives; Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Reince Priebus, Tim LaHaye, Bobby Jindal, John McCain… the list goes on…
      This article, published by the Washington Post, but reported elsewhere, lays out the group’s plan to “restore education in America,” by bringing god into classrooms.

      I have said for years and years, the Christian Right is really seeking to establish a theocracy in the United States — at least regionally, throughout the deep south. And this latest effort by the “Council for National Policy” lays further proof to that claim. This is an effort which — in spite of what many Christian leaders say — is NOT supported by the Constitution. The Constitution strictly prohibits the establishment of Religion, as part of the First Amendment, which also guarantees Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” is intended to do two things:
      1. It protects religious freedom for everyone.
      2. It prevents the tyranny of any one religion.
      But this fact won’t stop many southern christians, who feel it is their duty — as christians — to make the United States “a godly nation” in their eyes. And they will cite the numerous biblical passages in which god exhorts all nations to be faithful to him and condemns those nations who are not, as the basis for this duty — which they feel is their right.
      I grew up in this world, so I know what I’m talking about. As a kid, during the 1970’s, I attended churches in Atlanta with my devout grandmother. I heard Jerry Falwell speak numerous times at First Baptist on Peachtree. I was indoctrinated into the evangelical way of thinking by a fiery minister in Smyrna. I studied my “King James” bible. I feverishly read Ernest Angley’s book about the “end times” that depicted christians being boiled alive by the antichrist. I loved “The Omen” movies, wholly believing they portended something real. Trust me. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I had the sense to give it up. By age 15, at the peak of my adolescent sexual curiosity, I realized that any religion that demanded giving up my basic humanity was nuts.
      Of course, not all christian evangelicals share this extreme view. Nevertheless, the extremists always give themselves away with their trademark refrain, “I’ll pray for you,” as if you are possessed by demons and in need of an exorcism. They seem completely unaware of how this statement makes them appear; that they alone understand “truth,” that everyone else is “ungodly” and in need of “redemption,” as they see it; by being “born again,” and baptized, and accepting their world view. This self-righteous arrogant presumption is at the root of all religious extremism.
      Evangelicals in churches and state houses across the country support laws and political systems that brutalize and imprison MILLIONS of African Americans, that deny equal rights and protections to LGBT people and tacitly support violence toward them, and seek to deny women the right to govern their own bodies, often with threats or outright acts of physical violence. They seem hell-bent on ejecting science from education and replacing it with their own creationist ideas.
      In doing these things, evangelicals are advocating a religious extremism that is no different from muslim extremism, which projects religious authority over all people in their domain, which limits the rights of women, controls and limits education, and enforces strict adherence to a moral code, which naturally rejects and punishes all forms of “decadence,” including; “deviant sexuality,” science, reason, and any questioning of authority. Christian fundamentalists, if given the power, will do the same things.

      Evangelical christians in the United States condemn muslim extremism as a threat to the country and their way of life, while clearly endorsing their own form of extreme religious authoritarianism. This form of religion establishes a tribally divisive “us” versus “them” mentality, which places “our” rights and prerogatives above the needs of any other group. And it’s used repeatedly as the basis for denying other people’s rights — particularly their freedom to choose and even their right to exist. It’s worth pointing out that in the south religion buttressed this tribal mentality to force a separation between whites and blacks, who were/are seen as inferior. This tribalism is deeply embedded in white suburban christian thinking, and accepted without question. I shouldn’t have to point out that, in the end, this is not Christian at all.
      Religious extremism is religious extremism. Using words like “righteousness” or “faith” or “Christ-given mission,” and hiding behind ideas like “tradition” and “heritage” and “family values” won’t cover up this fact. And it is up to every freedom-loving person, who prefers freedom of choice, freedom of worship, who cares about protecting women’s rights and equality for all, and advancing reason and scientific knowledge, to be aware and oppose it.
      I do not suggest that evangelicals should give up their faith. But I strongly suggest they should not trample on other people’s religious beliefs, or insist that people should conform themselves with the evangelical worldview.

      Please read more and view the charts at: https://medium.com/@jcweatherby_49412/its-time-to-start-calling-evangelicals-what-they-are-the-american-taliban-4a41731296e4

      • Thanks again, if people are naive enough to think that they don’t want a theocracy, they need to look at our history. There have been groups who have aspired to this since the Puritans who started all this bs. That and a number of others are the reason we have separation of church and state. I have noted this before, but we have had regional theocracy in this countries history. One line of my family was persecuted and imprisoned because they would not follow the local rules for church attendance and tithing. If we are not careful this will happen again and we are fools if we don’t fight it. In this country a woman was hung because she was a Quaker and would not pledge to the church who had a stranglehold on Massachusetts. That woman was an ancestor and I for one think we owe her and anyone else who is being persecuted because of their religion or lack of religion. These people are very dangerous. They also don’t believe in science, so what would cancer research, vaccines and God knows what else look like if they are given the power. The earth is a mess and they want to keep polluting at a faster speed. Guess you notice, this hits a nerve with me. Been fighting this all my life, watching people look the other way as these groups sneak more control all the time. We need to fight this for our children and our grandchildren or there will be nothing worth anything for them. Peace,

        • Kathleen, I honestly don’t think their primary motivation is to spread the Gospel. I think their primary motivation is to be controlling and domineering.

          Yes when those people landed at Plymouth rock, their intention was to create the New Jerusalem, a theocracy. That failed, thanks be to God.

          When the Founding Fathers were replacing the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution, this history was fresh in their memories. Hence separation of church and state, as established in the First Amendment.

          We can never allow those boundaries to blur. ISIS would have a theocracy. The Christian Right would have a theocracy and it is just plain creepy how similar these groups are.

          • I agree and I also agree that this about control and power and wealth. If you control the people, you get the power and you can take the wealth. It is as simple as that. Not complicated at all and we all need to stand steadfast against it.

  18. This is a great article. Personally I have never understood “Church Discipline”. If anyone tried it on me, I’d just tell them to f*** off and go somewhere else. Other humans’ authority over us in Church matters is something that we give them ourselves; we allow it. And in this believer’s case – no way Jose.

  19. Please add to your list these women bloggers who give a voice to victims of spiritual abuse.

    Julie Anne Smith, Spiritual Sounding Board, spiritualsoundingboard.com

    Dee Parsons, The Wartburg Watch, wartburgwatch.com

    (In their case, they don’t claim to be pastors, but they are incredibly influential.)

  20. Dear John Pavlovitz:

    My Episcopal church ordained a woman last fall. Additionally, I am proud to have have an ordained daughter. She gets all her good points from her mother, but I’d like to think that I helped a little bit …

    Blessings!

  21. “Somewhere a couple of thousand years ago, a group of men decided that they would and could be the gatekeepers of the Kingdom…. They appointed themselves custodians of the Holy Spirit and gradually we all accepted this as gospel.”

    A TOTAL LIE!

    Those 12 men were appointed by no other than Christ himself. To them he gave all AUTHORITY. To one of them was given “THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM.” To this Church that Christ established was promised by Christ that the Holy Spirit would teach them all things and that whatever they bound or loosed on earth would be bound or loosed in Heaven. He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide them until the end and the gates of Hell would not prevail against them.

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-teaching-authority-of-the-church

    • Nice try, Joe, but Jesus did not create the cultus that is the church. Women were very much a part of Jesus’ ministry and while the men huddled away in fear, Mary Magdalene brought the wonderful news of his resurrection.

      Women were very much a part of the entire life of the early church until it became more Hellenized and Latinized. For a brief time, women and men were co-equal.

      The RCC has a commitment to misogyny, so of course, they edit the history of the early church to suit their goal of keeping women second class citizens, but that is going to fail.

  22. Church Discipline. The first word in this string should have been Patriarchy:
    Misogyny.
    Heresy.
    Nonsense.
    Mormons love to convene their disciplinary tribunals to excommunicate us fags. Thank god I was smart and left early!!! I did my work. I directly connected myself to Universal Oneness. And I did it without any church hierarchy. I didn’t even need Jesus!

    • At least they only excommunicated you. My Catholic parents sent me to “gay therapy”, beat the hell out of me, and blamed my being molested on my sexuality. Fun times…..

      (((((J. Bruce))))) It’s okay, though, at least you got away from what probably would have been a very emotionally toxic situation moving forward.

    • Yes J Bruce, you were lucky to get out of it. Anyone is. Mormons do not have the centuries that other religions have but clinging to authority and dogma seems to be the biggest goal of all of them. I just do not get that from the Bible I read.

      • I agree, I am clearer on what I believe now that I don’t have church dogma as a stumbling block. My grandfather, who didn’t buy into the organized church, used to say that it was all about what you can’t do out of fear rather than what you should do out of love. Good call, I would say.

  23. Poor Wayne! He sounds so very much like a misogynist with his attempt at insulting John by comparing him to a girl.

      • Kathleen B–

        My youngest son’s mother DID wear combat boots the first 6 years of his life– and never served a day in the military. She wore them because she has weak ankles and he has ADHD, so they provided support when she had to literally run him down across unknown terrain because she took her eyes off of him for 5 seconds. I was so stylish in my medieval re-enactment group clothes, complete with layers of skirts, hair veils and strings of faux pearls— and my combat boots. 😉

        • I love that. When I was a young child, almost 3/4 of a century ago, that was the go to insult. Nowadays, lots of women wear them, I never did understand why it was an insult even as a child. It is amazing what bullies will think of. Now when they got personal that was all together different. By the way, your son has a good mother. Peace and Love,

          • It was an insult because as little girls, getting our Easter outfits, with the shiny patent leather shoes (and sometimes matching purse!) was one of the highlights of the year. Along with our hats, that had those awful elastic-string chin straps, and of course, our lace little gloves. I even remember wearing rumba panties with the rows of lace across the butt, because even at 4, it was always a possibility, I’d show my ass in public. Again. So of course the idea of women in muddy boots was insulting. Jeez! /snark

            Whether I was/am a “good” mother is not clear. What I can say is that I love my sons fiercely and worked hard at being a mom. I was constantly in fear because I had average-to-horrific parents/step-parents and knew I didn’t have good role models. I also knew that I had already made mistakes I could see, and that those were only the tip of the iceberg. I had some successes along with the failures, but those mistakes still make me weep, though I’ve apologized and mend what amends I could. Both of my sons know I love them unconditionally though and our relationships are solid, if not always peaceful.

            All I can do is keep trying. Then again, isn’t that sort of the point of each new sunrise?

            May the Lord bless thee and keep thee and give thee Peace.

            • I suspect we have a lot in common. Some of my role models were not the best either. I always say that with my first son, unfortunately for him, I made lots of mistakes, he was kind of like the throw away model, then I did better with the second son, still made mistakes, but when you know better you do better. That set me up to be a kick ass Nana. My grandson’s will attest to that. But they are all wonderful human beings and in the end that is what matters. My oldest son tells me if he had had him for a son, he probably wouldn’t have done any better. So there is that. I let it go, I can’t change it but I can be a better mom as I go along. By the way, I remember the hats and gloves and all that good stuff. Peace and Love,

      • Wayne, come out of the closet. Let the truth of who you really are free you and pierce the darkness that keeps you prisoner.

    • Your reading comprehension is suspect. I did not defend a man, I pointed out another man being a sexist jerk. Thank you for proving me right.

      • Wayne, if you are an example of an manly man, then give me girlie men any day who know how to keep a civil tongue in their heads and how to behave in mixed company.

  24. Poor Wayne! He looks so very much like a little bully, hiding in anonymity to attack and insult a blog he does not like with nonsensical and crude rantings trying to get attention.

    • Wayne is clearly a deeply disturbed person. Probably comes from hiding deep in the closet hiding from the truth about himself because he is too terrified of being in the receiving end of what he dishes out.

  25. There is something sick and disturbed about people who stalk a blog using aliases when they were already anonymous with their first 5 or 6 entities. This is what is wrong with America, bullies that lurk and attack with hate, idiocy, authoritarianism and dogma, and that they are Trump supporters only adds to their dysfunction and lack of any integrity.

  26. Good article and I agree with many of the points. However; now that we know Christ is not the only way to God and other faiths are equal I would like to see this expanded to Muslims as they in many cases don’t allow women to go out of the home without a male relative. They can’t enter a Mosque but are segregated from men. Mormons don’t allow women many opportunities either. It is far more endemic than just Christian Churches, so as citizens of the world we need to expand the message. Not sure why we use Christian and not Spiritualist? As, we are not limited to just Christian as all faiths are equal. Just a few thoughts. Look forward to some thoughts. It is bigger and more world wide than just a southern Christian. Why limit ourselves??

    • James, I imagine John P limits himself to the Christian church because he knows that and he doesn’t know Islam as intimately. One of the first rules a writer ever learns is to write about what one knows.

      • I see your point Gloriamarie, I just don’t want us to practice the same provincialism as the main church. In fighting is not as attractive as being a change agent or a good citizen of the entire world. I do think trying to know Mormonism or some of the less obvious systems would be beyond the writer’s comfort. But, what a message to immigrants from Islam. To be able to take a message like you are free of male dominance. You can be a good Muslim and attend our church. You don’t have to convert. When you put light on a problem it will diminish. You could actually have many women around the country/world responding when they see a little light. Freedom = Good. Provincialism = Not as good. Citizens of the world? Say, Yes!

    • Wayne, please provide your last name and the name of the schools you claim to have attended so we can verify these credentials you claim.

  27. And then there’s the rest of the story:

    It may be useful to look at the timeline of events that have led up to this.

    Helpful terms:
    ANC: Austin New Church, Hatmakers’ church in Austin
    FMCUSA: the Free Methodist Church- USA, which ANC was affiliated with and financially sustained by since its inception
    JH: Jen Hatmaker, member of Austin New Church (ANC), occasional preacher, no official leadership position stated
    BH: Brandon Hatmaker, founding pastor and elder at ANC
    TP: Tray Pruitt, founding pastor and elder at ANC
    JM: Jason Morriss, primary teaching pastor and elder at ANC, employed by the Free Methodist Church to serve at ANC since 2013, previously of Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston

    Timeline:

    Prior to October of 2016 traditional Christian marriage was the Hatmaker’s official position. It was also the official position of ANC.

    October 25: JH interviewed by Jonathan Merritt which affirms her belief that gay marriage can be holy. Some elders were not aware of this change in stance prior to the interview publication.

    November 1: BH affirms his JH’s position on FB. States “Being informed invites the Spirit to lead, reduces our defensiveness, and gives us the confidence to love better.” However, most respectful Facebook comments arguing for traditional viewpoints are deleted.

    Winter 2016-2017: Elders who hold to the traditional view of marriage resign their position at ANC. Free Methodist Church disengages from ANC. JM updates facebook “Left Job at Free Methodist Church – USA”

    March 22: TP announces a discussion regarding “full LGBT inclusion”, a series of events where only pro-gay marriage experts and thought leaders like Dr. J. Brownson and Matthew Vines. No opposing historical views included.

    March 26: Remaining elders – both men and women – including BH, re-affirm the affirming position first announced to ANC via the internet interview. State desire to “remain in a tension” on the issue, however, no opposing historical views are presented, and most if not all elders – including women – holding to traditional views have left ANC since the interview.

    JM reports that membership at ANC has decreased by approximately 40% in four months. Including women.

    JM states he was ‘silently’ pro gay marriage when he was hired but kept this position hidden and claims his ability to not be “cornered” regarding his doctrinal views: “I can do the presidential pivot”.

    JM has stated from the pulpit that JH is his “boss”.

    JM changes his Facebook information to relay that he is no longer employed by the Free Methodist Church.

    April 14: JH publishes blog describing her personal emotional results of interview, maligning the “Christian Machine” for criticizing her. Most respectful comments disagreeing with her stance are deleted.

    April 28: In response to a Christianity Today article questioning her accountability to a Church, JH tweets “Men have “ministries.” Women have “blogs.” I’ve pastored 20 years. Jesus is in charge of me.”

    Questions:
    Is she officially on staff at ANC in any paid or unpaid position? Is a JH an elder? Is she a pastor?

    BH’s Facebook profile describes himself as “Author. Biker. Humanitarian. Huge fan of the underdog.” Is BH on staff at ANC in any paid or unpaid position?

    Was the FMCUSA informed of the Hatmakers’ doctrinal change before it was publically announced on the internet?

    Did FMCUSA “fire” ANC because of their stance on gay marriage?

    Did ANC follow typical ecclesiastical procedures regarding their change in position regarding an important, divisive, and controversial doctrine?

    Were elders allowed to fulfill their roles as decision makers for ANC as outlined in Acts 15:1-2, or were those who disagreed with the change in position asked or encouraged to leave?

    Does JH submit to the elders of ANC, or do the elders of ANC submit to JH?

    One might postulate that a concerted, tactical, and very well-planned effort has been made within ANC since late Oct ’16 to conform the church and its (male AND female) elders and teachers and official doctrinal positions to with JH’s public positions, not the other way around.

  28. Poor Old Wayne who is never going to stop John’s weekly rants. Poor Old Wayne who no sane person pays any attention to.

    That about gets the hard dose of reality.

  29. Dear Wayne:

    Since you present yourself as a seminary-credentialed, Christian, I think it is only fitting that you name that seminary. Where did you do your seminary work, Wayne? I have asked you this repeatedly, and you have refused to reply every time. This is unseemly.

    Blessings!

    • “I am indeed a Bible College & Seminary graduate from fully accredited and recognized accreditation organizations, as I wouldn’t fool with anything less! ”

      Name the schools, please, because no self-respecting seminary teaches its students to be as poisonous in their language or expects their male students to be anything but gentlemanly in their behavior.

  30. John, somebody just linked this horrid post on Jen Hatmaker’s blog: http://www.holmeslybrand.com/culture/2017/4/21/jen-hatmaker-please-stop

    I’m so glad to see people–like you–sticking up for her. She’s suffering and people are viciously attacking her for being upset. It’s the same narcissistic attitude and trolling behavior that’s all over the rest of the Net, here coming from “Christians.”

    My gosh, I post things all the time similar to what Jen said about LGBT….Other bloggers I know, and people I know in real life, say the same things. LOTS of them. Christians. But Jen is getting pilloried for being compassionate and refusing to just blindly follow rather than thinking and considering the truth of what she’s supposed to believe.

  31. In my opinion, women like Jen Hatmaker and others have pursued careers in speaking and writing/blogging because the church has refused them the more “traditional” paths it allows men. Here is one news article that may shed some light: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/10/31/the-high-cost-of-popular-evangelical-jen-hatmakers-gay-marriage-comments/?utm_term=.79ad0739e7c9

    Especially this: “…many evangelical women today wield influence via storytelling and persona rather than positions of institutional leadership.” When the church denies the backbone of its congregations a way to use their gifts, the logical answer is that those women will go outside the established framework to use those gifts.

    Like many of us here, I grew up in a church that did not encourage me in my education and ambitions. I was only seen as whole when I was married, and when that man abused me, one of the associate pastors told me I should expect to get “knocked around.” To his eternal credit, the senior pastor was aghast and soon the associate was gone.

    I feel out of place, but I love Jesus and so I continue to attend church (a different one from before). May we all find places to belong and worship and love.

    • This is so true and yet women have done most of the work, the hard work in the church. The church would be nowhere without women. I speak as someone whose husband was a minister for 40 years. The people that worked the hardest and where the most dependable where the women and they get the least recognition. Peace,

    • So well written. You show leadership in your writing. Pursue your goals!!! There will always be people who discourage you

  32. Pingback: 100, Incompetence, US Survival, What ISIS Hopes, Santuary – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  33. Well Said John

    They Will have to account for every thought, actions, deed given especially in the name of God, Jesus, the Holy spirit.
    so many false prophets, teachers of the law, pharisees, Sadducee , people who teach false doctrine.
    I Trust God, Thru Jesus Christ that we are in the end times and like Paul said they will gather together and teach abominable , detestable doctrines of demons to get what they want, hear what they want , and have a following.
    When we talk about accountability , what do we mean?
    Is it for the Gospel or Control over man, and what is being taught.
    What Purpose is Authority?
    Why would you submit to or have Authority ?

    Well Jesus Christ our lord and savior said to Submit to and be under Authority and follow due Process so as an obedient Servant of the Gospel and to show your trust and obedience, Reverence to God , Respect
    This is something society has lost sight of . and is very rebellious to .
    this is why we as Free Americans have so many problems.
    Men, Women, children don’t take it seriously
    And this leads to more anarchy.
    To Protect , and server your best interest , this is why authority.
    To Keep out the False Religions and lies, Deceptions , and those who would destroy values in the name of Free Love, No accountability,, No respect, Now this is what you get .
    Leanness to YOUR soul, Not able to Tell what is Truth.
    Accountability keeps YOU Free, Safe, Protected.
    You may not see it but that’s the real purpose.

  34. Thank you John, and commenters.

    As an Anglican (not the fundamentalist type) I felt uneasy at first with what sounded like anti-clericalism. Perhaps my experience has been different, but after bruising encounters with non-dom and megachurch cultures (including one where women did become elders but Biblical literalism was used in damaging ways), I felt very safe going back to the liturgies of my childhood with an ordained priesthood that had received an education broader than “Bible School”, was for the most part humble and gentle, and was itself held accountable in ways I could trust.

    I still feel safer in this environment, and I also respect the Catholic voices on this matter which resonate with me when not engaged in denigrating the values and positions of others. Not being Catholic myself (though my heart inclines that way), I will not criticise that great church or risk undermining the wonderful work that is done there by so many women around the world.

    However, being liberal as Anglicans (Episcopalians) does not mean that we are free of “authoritarianism” and the harm it does. I have personally benefited from some of the bloggers you mentioned – as well as yourself – and I stand with you in support of them and gratitude to them.

    We should also pray for those bloggers whose trustful following has given them pastoral responsibilities; to keep them from doing unintentional harm to the vulnerable, but also that they themselves will be protected from harm, because clearly some people are out to stop their message being heard – as we see with nearly every post on here, which has its Waynes or Joes or whatever the latest alias is, breaking in like Chinese “paid twitter”.

    I’m sure that magazines like Christianity Today could feel very threatened by the blogosphere, which has rendered them largely irrelevant!

  35. I had never heard of misogyny ,but I am getting a crash course form my daughter who is 27, I am 62 so for me this whole last 100 days has been a confusing time. I so appreciate you giving us insight and you are right on, only Christ has the power to give to us, to speak for him through the Holy Spirit. Hold fast! Keep writing. Thank’s for sharing.Mary Elizabeth a follower of Christ the Lamb.

  36. Finally Wayne, we manage to agree on something.

    There is no school you can name that will be a credit to the hate you push. So I do not want or need to know it.

    Nothing you have posted could ever benefit anyone.

    Nothing will make me accept your beliefs on the “perversion of homosexuality” being worse than the perversion of vulgarity, cruelty and false doctrine that forgets to love.

    I will never “repent before God and begin to “Speak the Truth in Love” that you use to denigrate, discriminate and dismiss the LGBTQ community.

    The only request I wish you would honor is the one where you take your crude, vulgar, hateful version of God and leave us alone.

    • Wayne, louder you shout against homosexuality, the more convinced we are that you yourself are a homosexual.

      The louder one shouts against something, the more like it is that that person is guilty of what he rants against.

  37. Here is some wonderful news. I am delighted to share it with you. Even with that vile Gorsuch on the bench.

    US Supreme Court Refuses California Gay-Conversion Therapy Ban Case

    The United States Supreme Court has just announced it is refusing to hear a case on California’s 2012 ban on conversion therapy for minors. The law bans licensed mental health professionals, including social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other therapists from practicing what some call counseling designed to turn LGBTQ people into cisgender heterosexuals. Many LGBTQ people call it a form of torture. Sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) have been linked to depression and suicide.

    The top court’s action leaves in place the ban.

    There is more to the article here:

    http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/davidbadash/us_supreme_court_refuses_california_gay_conversion_therapy_ban_case?utm_campaign=td_05_01_17&utm_medium=email&utm_source=thenewcivilrightsmovement

  38. You sound just like a guy I went to high school with. Funny story, he came out in college, and is a happy, very successful person now.

    You’re so sexually repressed, it’s ridiculous.

  39. It is beyond my imagining that in 2017 there is still an argument over whether women may be allowed to speak freely in church or in public.
    I was raised Catholic, and even in Catholic school there was never the disrespect toward females that appears to go on in evangelical circles.

    I’m glad John is calling out this ridiculous behavior, but I’m appalled that we even need to have this conversation. Though I should not be so surprised– a post about equality I wrote on my own blog got more pushback than anything else I’ve ever written.

    Men who don’t want to hear from intelligent, thoughtful women need to get over themselves, and they need to do it right now because we don’t have time for their crap anymore.

    • Elene Gusch,

      ” Men who don’t want to hear from intelligent, thoughtful women need to get over themselves, and they need to do it right now because we don’t have time for their crap anymore.”

      Nope. We don’t. You are quite right.

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