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

TLC and the Fundamentalist Family: A Look at the Quiverfull Movement

I have been waiting a few months for my study to appear in The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture about the TLC show 19 and Counting and the Quiverfull movement. The academic journal is open access, so everyone who reads my blog should be able to pull up this link. It provides a much more comprehensive overview of what the Quiverfull beliefs are and how the movement has been portrayed in popular culture. Click here to read the article. Continue reading TLC and the Fundamentalist Family: A Look at the Quiverfull Movement

The Threat of Christian Patriarchy

The Christian patriarchy movement is a fast growing fundamentalist/evangelical movement that is not easy to define.  While mainstream media has     drawn attention to the Quiverfull movement and pop cultural representations of this lifestyle, such as the famous or infamous (however you want to phrase it) Duggar family from 19 and Counting, there are other branches of the patriarchy movement which are not well known nor well researched. Therefore, for the next few blog posts I’m going to try to break down the various organizations associated with the Christian patriarchy movement to help us better understand why mainstream Christian society should … Continue reading The Threat of Christian Patriarchy

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