The Monsterous Regiment Attacks Women in Ministry

In The Monstrous Regiment of Women the Gunn brothers attempt to evoke the language of the Old Testament prophets and warn America of impending doom if they do not return to the gender roles that are laid out in a literal interpretation of the Bible. The film repeatedly references specific God-ordained gender roles that are not open for interpretation. Women are mothers and homemakers and husbands earn money and lead the family – no negotiation.  Even Christian ministry is considered a role that women cannot fulfill. According to the Christian patriarchy movement a woman’s home is her ministry and anything … Continue reading The Monsterous Regiment Attacks Women in Ministry

A Closer Look at The Monsterous Regiment of Women

The Christian patriarchy movement does not hide the fact that they believe they are the keepers of the Christian faith and are upholding a Biblical worldview for family and society that has been rejected by mainstream Christian culture.  Documentaries such as the Gunn Brother’s The Monstrous Regiment of Women present the world as a place filled with feminists and socialists who are out to destroy the stay at home mother. The sacred duty of motherhood is stressed in the film as the only Biblical model a Christian woman can follow. The documentary creates a fantasy that seems plausible and spiritual … Continue reading A Closer Look at The Monsterous Regiment of Women

Who and What is an Evangelical? Rob Bell Adds to the Ongoing Debate…

I have been struggling for a couple weeks to answer the question – who is an evangelical and what defines evangelical beliefs? I still don’t have an easy answer.  Can an evangelical support male-headship. Does an evangelical have to vote Republican? Can an evangelical agree with Rob Bell’s books Love Wins? Yes, this is the main question of the post – is Rob Bell an evangelical? I’ve been a long time supporter of Rob Bell’s writing and theology. I love Velvet Elvis and his collaboration with Don Golden Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile. … Continue reading Who and What is an Evangelical? Rob Bell Adds to the Ongoing Debate…

Rally the Equality Troops: We have a Rhetorical Battle to Fight

“Gender equality is just twisting and re-interpreting thousands of years of God-defined gender roles because you don’t agree with them.”  I was recently told this by a good, God-fearing individual when my husband and I shared the Wesleyan tradition of gender equality. How do you deal with people who refuse to acknowledge that male-headship is not the only Biblical interpretation of gender roles? As an undergraduate I was very confrontational about my belief in gender equality. As editor of the university newspaper I got hate mail from other students on campus who didn’t appreciate my belief in equality or my … Continue reading Rally the Equality Troops: We have a Rhetorical Battle to Fight

Women Still Struggle to Gain Acceptance in Ministry

When I tell other academics that I’m studying the rhetoric of the early Free Methodist movement I get responses such as “Free Methodists? What is a Free Methodist?” or “I’ve never even seen a Free Methodist Church.” I’ll grant that the denomination is small. Currently in North America the Free Methodist Denomination (as of 2007) estimates membership at 74,000, and worldwide there are about 730,000 members.  Yet, this relatively small denomination has a rich history that has been largely unexplored by historians and rhetoricians outside the denomination. I am thrilled that this year marks the 150th anniversary of the denomination’s … Continue reading Women Still Struggle to Gain Acceptance in Ministry

Emma Ray and Eliza Suggs Writing and Wesleyan Rhetoric

Free Methodist founder B.T. Roberts felt strongly that the antebellum Methodist Episcopal Church had forgotten the vision of John Wesley. Thus, it is not surprising that the early Free Methodist publications, including Roberts own magazine The Earnest Christian, strongly resembled Wesley’s Arminian Magazine.  In fact, Methodist conversion narratives changed little from the time of Wesley in the 18th century to the narratives of Suggs and Ray in the early 20th century.  In the 18th century preachers would receive letters from individuals they had converted and these letters were often published to encourage conversion and the faithful (Hindmarsh, 2008). The rise … Continue reading Emma Ray and Eliza Suggs Writing and Wesleyan Rhetoric

Sunshine in My Soul: African-American Women’s contributions to Free Methodism

This is part one of a series based on the rhetorical contributions of two 19th through early 20th century women I have written about previously in the fall. Check out the website section on their poetry. This first article focuses on the importance of studying the lives of early African-American women and the subsequent sections will focus on their specific contributions to the temperance movement and work as lay leaders in the Free Methodist Church. In the years prior to the Civil War the Methodist Episcopal (ME) was torn apart over the issue of slavery. Though the Methodist Church in … Continue reading Sunshine in My Soul: African-American Women’s contributions to Free Methodism

John Wesley’s Arminian Magazine and Lay-Women’s Conversion Narratives

I’m returning to some research that I was writing about earlier in the year – the involvement of Free Methodist women in the temperance movement. My husband has his own blog where the article below is also posted. While his research focuses mostly on the 18th century and mine on the 19th and 20th century, I thought this article does a great job setting up how conversion narratives can be used to promote a particular Christian interpretation in a publication. John Wesley used conversion narrative to fuel on the Methodist movement, and in the last 19th century the Free Methodists … Continue reading John Wesley’s Arminian Magazine and Lay-Women’s Conversion Narratives

Benjamin’s “Messianic Moments” and Women’s Church History

If we examine how history has been constructed, specifically church history, the contributions of women are often overlooked.  Within the Free Methodist denomination we have several seminary theses and unpublis hed papers about the history of women in ministry, but nothing published (Synder’s Populist Saints is the only exception). So, the need to reveal these forgotten moments of women’s history in the church is a pressing concern of mine. Feminist rhetorical historians are beginning to draw attention to some of these forgotten moments of women’s history. It is important the rhetorical contribution, particularly the rhetorical contributions of women’s magazine articles, … Continue reading Benjamin’s “Messianic Moments” and Women’s Church History

History is More than Just Remembering Facts: It’s a Call to Action and Reform

The Free Methodist Denomination has a long history of supporting women in ministry. However, the battle for official ordination went on almost a 100 years. It began in 1860 when the denomination was founded. B.T. Roberts, one of the main founders, decided for the health of the fledgling denomination not to pursue ordaining women at the same time the denomination was forming. So, the debate raged on at general conferences and in the denominational magazine The Free Methodist (later to become Light and Life magazine) until 1974 when women were officially approved for ordination. The commitment of women in the … Continue reading History is More than Just Remembering Facts: It’s a Call to Action and Reform