The Hypocrite & The Believer: Passing on Patriarchy Culture Through Pop Culture

Part One 8.16.18 Dr. Christy Mesaros-Winckles – In the summer of 2015 the seemingly blissful, perfect conservative lives of the Duggar family, stars of TLC’s now defunct hit reality show 19 Kids and Counting, fell apart as over a series of months their oldest child Joshua Duggar’s history of sexual misconduct came to light. This began when the American tabloid In Touch uncovered evidence, later confirmed by the family, that during his teen years the Joshua had molested five underage girls, four of whom were his sisters. As if this was not troublesome enough, in August 2015 Joshua Duggar’s name … Continue reading The Hypocrite & The Believer: Passing on Patriarchy Culture Through Pop Culture

Why Rhetoric Matters: The Power of Words to Liberate or Manipulate

It’s hard to explain to people who don’t study rhetoric why it’s important or for that matter what rhetoric is.  A basic definition is that rhetoric is the art of discourse. It is the study of speech. Words are powerful tools. They support ideology, stir passion and anger, and most importantly fuel action. We study the words of the present and the past to learn from our triumphs and our failures. A society that does not learn from its mistakes is a society that is guaranteed to continue repeating the same missteps. Perhaps this why I’ve turned much of my … Continue reading Why Rhetoric Matters: The Power of Words to Liberate or Manipulate

Debating Biblical Gender Roles Then and Now

It’s easy to believe that the debates about gender roles in evangelical culture are a recent development. Yet, looking through Free Methodist Magazine archives from over a hundred years ago, it’s clear that the debate on Biblical gender roles goes back centuries. Perhaps, I can justify the tension regarding women’s roles the nineteenth and early twentieth century Free Methodist Church somewhat, but I cannot justify nor understand why this debate still continues. As is always the case we too often forget history and do not learn from the past. In the early twentieth century America was in the midst of … Continue reading Debating Biblical Gender Roles Then and Now

What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist?

I’m re-posting this entry since I now have more readers than I did when I originally posted it. It’s my manifesto for what I believe and what I research. Occasionally I’m asked why I call myself a feminist. Now that my blog is getting a few readers I’m getting this question more often. The concept of a “Free Methodist Feminist” seems like an oxymoron. Yet, I stand by this term. I am a feminist.  While there are definitely some feminists who distance themselves from organized religion and view organized religion as just another way to enforce patriarchy, I don’t see … Continue reading What Makes a Free Methodist Feminist?

Fighting for Gender Equality in the 1880s “Free Methodist”

B.T. Roberts, the founder of the Free Methodist Church, served as editor of the denominational magazine The Free Methodist from 1887-1890. During that time period he featured women’s original articles, ministry reports and testimonials. Even prior to the denomination officially buying the magazine at the 1886 General Conference it was not unusual to see women’s writings featured in the publication. However, with Roberts as editor I can’t help but feel he specifically featured some articles to promote his platform of Biblical gender equality and women’s ordination. His tenure as the magazine’s editor was during a crucial time. The 1890 General … Continue reading Fighting for Gender Equality in the 1880s “Free Methodist”

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

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

Vision Forum: The Giant of the Christian Patriarchy Movement

While there are numerous organizations I would consider part of the Christian patriarchy movement one of the largest and most disturbing organization is Dough Phillip’s Vision Forum. Vision Forum’s influence is vast in evangelical and fundamentalist culture.  The organization has its own homeschooling curriculum, devotional materials for men and women, homeschooling conferences and the popular San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, which is Phillip’s brainchild. Perhaps, the name of the film festival doesn’t ring a bell, but if you follow Christian media at all you have probably heard of movies such as Facing the Giants and Fireproof – both of … Continue reading Vision Forum: The Giant of the Christian Patriarchy Movement