gender, church, and the art of alternate endings

* While I’ve written my share of posts expressing support for egalitarianism, justice, and women’s leadership in society (particularly in the Church), I’m no champion of gender equality. In fact, I make my share of goof-ups but what I’ve come to realize is that like everyone, I have my blind spots. One of my blind spots deals with gender or to be more blunt, I don’t always understand or see things from the lens of a woman for the obvious reason that I’m a dude (and thank God that I’m a man and not a woman!)

Several important remedies to our blind spots are to acknowledge them and to put ourselves in situations where we can learn. Additionally, we need courage to engage the conversation and grace to help sustain the conversation into transformation. And so with that in mind, today’s guest post, Gender and the Art of Alternate Endings, is from Dr. Michelle Garred – an independent researcher and consultant in international peacebuilding. She also worships at Quest Church and c0-leads one of our community groups. She asks some compelling questions:

Why does this distorted social setting appear to pit me in competition against my husband and best friend? Why can’t someone meet a couple and assume that these two inter-dependent individuals both have something to offer? Why should I be forced to wield my trump cards as instruments of power, making conversation into a contact sport? Most importantly, what about the many women who don’t have trump cards, but who do have boundless gifts to be shared with the Church? Who sees those women? And who hears them?

Take a read and let me know what you think.

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I love those children’s books that have alternate endings for the reader to choose from. What a sweet freedom to decide how a story will end!

My husband and I recently attended a denominational leadership conference, which prompted me consider my own alternate endings…

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“So, what do you do for a living in Seattle?” The man looks intently at my husband Brent across the lunch table, and the two become engrossed in a discussion of green building design. I sit and listen, enjoying the conversation, and anticipating that at some point the same question will be directed toward me. But that never happens. Our new acquaintance, who holds a lot of stature at this conference, does not appear to connect the topic of making a living with me as an individual. I don’t know why – the ‘gender vibes’ feel palpable, Continue reading “gender, church, and the art of alternate endings”

Thank God that I am a man and not a woman.

It’s likely that some of you will take offense at the title of this post. But if you read through the post, it’ll certainly make more sense in the larger context. But for what it’s worth, I was intending to entitle this post, “Fortunate to Have a P*nis” and maybe I should have but ultimately, I just didn’t want to receive too many rebukes and tense emails. Seriously, who wants emails about genitals?

Seriously, it’s not my intent to be sensational or even controversial but simply to make an important point.

So, what is my point?

I am fortunate to be a man.

Or to put it in other words, I’m fortunate to have a p*nis.

As I recently preached at my church or in another blogpost about the silence of women in the Church, there’s great privilege and power in simply being a man. This is why I contend that the treatment of women is the oldest injustice in human history. We can talk equality and equity all day long and while we can acknowledge how far we’ve come, we still clearly live – even in 2011 – where there’s great advantage in simply being a man.

How fortunate?

Consider this statistic from UNICEF and UN:

Women give birth to 100% of the human population. In addition, women do about 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the world’s food, but earn 10% of the world’s income & only own less than 1% of the world’s property. [You can also read more about these statistics from The Global Poverty Project.] Continue reading “Thank God that I am a man and not a woman.”